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Utegate & the Polls

Well, for those who think that Turnbull had a good week last week (say, Tony Abbott & friends) – it would appear that the public disagree. There were several polls released this morning and all of them agree on it being bad news for the Opposition, for Turnbull in particular.

What interested me the most was the fact that there seemed to be no upside for the Opposition at all. I got the impression from Turnbull & the Coalition in interviews & door-stops that, while knew they were going to get hammered by the issue, Labor would be similarly affected as the public responded to their “grubby politics”. From what I’m reading in the polls, this is not the case. On the contrary, Labor appear to have moved up in the polls as a result of this, with Rudd coming out squeakier than he was going into last week.

I’m curious to see what long term effects this will have on people’s perception of Labor & Rudd. I too thought that some of the mud would stick but, then again, I was following the story. In terms of the soundbites on the evening news – there simply wasn’t any good news for Turnbull. The interviews on the ABC by various politic ans would have to be award to Labor as well. And on that subject, can someone please tell Rudd that appearing on Rove makes him look like a wally! Admittedly he was better than the last time he appeared on the show; but he simply shouldn’t be on it in the first place… Can anyone imagine Howard, Keating, or really any other Prime Minister (aside from perhaps Bob Hawke) appearing on a “variety show” where the host comes out dressed in a knitted jumpsuit complete with crochet man-junk? For gods’ sake Rudd – not all publicity is good publicity in politics, I don’t care how cool you think it is!

Aside from that travesty last night, I think Labor have worked this week very well. Which is  a bad sign for the Opposition, because I still think if they hadn’t screwed up – they would have nailed Swan on the circumstantial stuff they had up their sleeves. Watching the House this week showed they had done their research. None of it was really a smoking gun, but tied together it would have been major embarrassment for Labor. No-one got to hear it though because Labor met accusation for accusation with the repetition of Turnbull’s calling on the PM to resign based on a “faked, false, fraudulent” email – a much simpler & cut-through message for the public who are not politragics like us…

Anyhow, my flu medication is starting to kick in & I should be getting on with work. Debate, discuss, & otherwise enjoy the day 🙂


95 Responses

  1. It’s hilarious isn’t it Ben?

    This morning I heard Tony “I live in a parallel universe” Abbott declaring that the polls were the result of a relentless smear campaign against Malcolm Turnbull by the Labor party!!

    I guess he must’ve suffered a serious mental blank about the part that involves Turnbull actually starting the entire sorry affair in the first place.

    It is nice to see the Liberals back at what they do best – tearing themselves to shreds in full blown self-destruct mode while blaming everybody else for their demise. It’s pure comedy…!!

  2. Apparently there will be a frontbench reshuffle, shame the joker will still be in the pack.


  3. On the PM and Rove thing…get used to it as this is politicking Qld style.

    Just remember that the PM, Treasurer and the GG are all Queenslanders.

    That must warm your hearts.

  4. “Anyhow, my flu medication is starting to kick in “BT

    Yum, Codrals. Mmmmmm.

    “It is nice to see the Liberals back at what they do best – tearing themselves to shreds in full blown self-destruct mode while blaming everybody else for their demise. It’s pure comedy…!!”

    Comedy indeed!
    The most hilarious part is that nearly 2 years after the fact they’re still to work out that most people are “onto” their condescending antics.
    I like watching them writhe because I have an intense dislike for them, moreso than my gradually building contempt for Rudd Labor.
    On the whole, the ongoing self mutilation of the Libs is unhealthy for democracy & will only make it easier for the government to foist internet filters & other thought crimes upon us all.

  5. “Just remember that the PM, Treasurer and the GG are all Queenslanders.
    That must warm your hearts”

    It doesn’t. It is more like a reverberation in my bowels than incandescence in my blood-pump.

  6. The only light on the hill is with Costello gone and T’bull relegated to ‘somewhere’ is that the Libs will have no option but to rally behind Hockey.

    The Libs since the last election have reminded me of teenage ‘princesses’ waiting for their Prince Charming to arrive to sweep them back into the palace.

  7. *laugh* The funniest thing about that analogy, Min, is trying to fit Costello into the image as “Prince Charming”!

  8. Here’s a vision…the PM and Treasurer sitting on the dispatch box resplendent in their straw hats, guitar and banjo in hands belting out ‘Dueling Banjos!

    Next time Turnbull gets cornered by these two in parliament he could save much time by dropping his pants, bending over and squealing like a pig!


  9. I’m sure that you can manage Ben 😉 And yes the flight from Cairns with daughter in law and grandie has been delayed…

  10. And what role will the Julie/Julia’s have in this squealing?

    I have just got back from a weekend in the valley – and I am quite amazed at the polls. I would have thought that the ALP would have taken a pounding in the polls. Seems that the electorate is still forgiving of the ALP.

  11. (min – package received by Mum and she thanks you from the bottom of her heart)

  12. they would have nailed Swan on the circumstantial stuff they had up their sleeves

    Disagree, Ben, most people would only have seen it as a parliamentary protocol issue (ie misleading Parliament – and yes I appreciate that this is a “crime” as serious as “perjury” in court – but still handled “in-house”) … I’m talking about voters

    The “big” issue for Turncoat Etc would be that Grant didn’t actually receive anything – therefore he was left to the system – not a Minister’s (Treasurer) whim …

    … so Swan spoke to only one dealer – only one dealer spoke to the Treasurer, so no other dealers bothered and the one that did was passed on to the appropriate “system” …

    As for Grech – any testimony he may have would now be questionable anyway …

    … and you nailed it in one – “…circumstantial stuff …”


    scaper, what are you on about this morning?

    Politicking Qld style?

    I agree Rove is not the place to be but then I don’t watch it – a different generation does … I don’t like the idea (I agree with Ben on this) … but why “Qld style” …

  13. It was my absolute pleasure joni. Huggy squishes.

  14. My opinion: Julie Bishop is gone in the reshuffle. T’bull if he survives this has no option but to start from scratch. He’ll hang onto Hockey, Abbott and Pyne.

  15. TB, I’m about the PM being a media tart just like the last Premier up here.

    Surely you can see the familiarities?

  16. Looking at the newspoll figures, the results that astound me are Turnbull’s satisfied/dissatisfied ratings.

    Satisfied went from 44 to 25, dissatisfied went from 37 to 58.

    I know that most (except for [h]Akerman) thought Turnbull had a bad week, but we are politragics.


    Ben: Corrected what I think was misspelling – hope I got it right & you don’t mind!

  17. scaper

    Rudd has not changed, he has always been a media tart. Like Costello on Kerri-Ann dancing and holding a python. It’s what they do.

  18. TB, the reason I say it would have hurt Labor, is this followed on from the successful campaign against Fitzgibbon. I’m not saying that Labor would have taken the thrashing that Turnbull has, but it would have added to the narrative that the Coalition have been putting together about Labor cronyism and corruption.

    I’m not sure how things are in the other states, but here in NSW – that is a message that could easily get traction given the current State government and the recent local council issue (involving Labor councillors & bribery).

    Turnbull wouldn’t have had to prove beyond doubt that Swan gave John Grant special treatment (though getting a “misleading parliament” judgement of some form would have gone down well); all he needed to do was to continue spinning the same narrative making the public mind more receptive to a cronyism/corruption focus in the election lead-up.

    The issue now is that they’ve blown their chance on that spin, and this more than the current polls is what is going to be Turnbull’s downfall (in my opinion). It’s one thing to get a few weeks of bad polls; it’s quite another to completely destroy the effectiveness of a long-term election strategy.

  19. Do not mind at all ben…

  20. I’ve maintained all along, that the Libs were never going to be able to pin anything on Swan because, at the end of the day, the motor dealer didn’t receive any special benefit.

    Trying to maintain that he somehow received “special treatment” just because of a phone call or a fax was always going to be a non-issue if the outcome was that he didn’t get any benefit.

    I’m surprised that Talculm, being a lawyer, didn’t realise this..

  21. Mr Turnbull is so desperate to salvage his doomed career, he is backing down on his opposition to the flawed ETS policy. An effective Liberal opposition should be supporting conservative principles like a free market, smaller government, private enterprise, and lower taxes. Voters who want left-green policies like an ETS will vote for Labor or The Greens.

    It would be better for the Liberals to lose an election defending what they are meant to stand for, than to lose anyway while mee-tooing Labor policies. The sooner Turnbull goes, the better.

  22. Tony – very astute find. I think Turnbull is very scared of an early election, and so he has done another backflip.

  23. Joni, if you are referring to a DD election the earliest that it could be called is 24-11-09 by my reckoning.

    It would take a very brave government to go to the polls around Xmas but they could call a lower house election tomorrow if they wanted to.

  24. On the ETS – I don’t think Turnbull is backing down on this just yet. He might well do so, but what he is stating is that they (the Coalition) will submit some amendments and see what happens if (or let’s face it, when) they are not accepted.

    On the other hand, he is also responding to events abroad. One of the Coalition’s arguments has been “Why should Australia be first to do this when the biggest emmitters such as the USA & China are doing nothing?” (an argument with some, though in my mind – not much, merit). The USA has narrowly passed a similar scheme through their House of Representatives. The bill is now moving to the Senate (where I think it likely to be rejected).

    Rudd was quick to capitalise on this development and I think Turnbull is trying to negate it as an issue while he is already looking bad.

    All he needs to do is submit amendments he knows won’t be passed and then play the “Labor won’t cooperate” game.

  25. Best bet for a DD is March next year … (what was that old advert – ” it may not be soon but it will happen.. “) …

    … still things can change quickly in Parliament (as us older folk know 😉 )

  26. When Rove joked that Turdball could be telling the world that Rudd was choking an old lady, and it could be a few yards from the press gallery, noone will believe him and they would turn their cameras on Turrdball self destructing. It actually is no joke now, this may be a reality. B Toulpitt, the difference between Fitzgibbon and Turdball is that Rudd cut Fitzgibbon quickly and he wasn’t a leader. The opposition should cut Turdball and give itself some clear air, the only problem is they have noone who could replace him, and they can’t afford to overthrow one of the few ministers with half a brain.

  27. You are wrong about Rudd on Rove.

    My late teenage grandkids both liked it which was a bit of a surprise because neither really knows much about politics.

    Both will be able to vote at the next election and they now think Rudd looks pretty good.

    Remember he is PM for all ages – many of Rove’s audience wouldn’t be bothered watching him on anything else so they need to know him too. Rudd is also a lot younger than Howard and has kids in the right age groups for Rove.

  28. I have to disagree about Rudd and Rove last night. It depends how it is done.

    I must admit that when I saw that Rudd would appear on Rove and with Brüno to boot I thought ‘what they were thinking’. But Rudd appeared fairly relaxed and ready for the type of show (obviously he learned from last time).

    The other good thing for Rudd is that he arranged to have the interview recorded before the show so he didn’t have to ‘mix it’ with the comedians on the couch which would have been a bit strange.

    I think that for the 18-25 appearing on Rove is good. I reckon that Turnbull would be great as he is much more at ease with this type of media.

  29. Tony, on June 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    If that’s conservatism, they should change their name to the minarchist party or the libertarian party; and stop pretending to be the (neo-)’liberal’ party, perhaps. But, yes, that’s exactly why some in the Liberal Party think that a so-called moderate like Malcolm should go: ideology shapes reality and politics (what is ‘stood for’) as counterpoint in an ideal world, even when it comes to characterisations of what counts as ‘real’ and what a party should present as standard and for which it normatively should stand. Mind you, clinging to a mythic, halcyon past-as-future of ‘free markets’ which don’t exist in the wild; a small(er) government, which denies what occurs under conservative governments; private enterprise ditto; and lower taxes, which is where conservatives tend to get in a muddle in the have-cake-and-eat-it-too world they tend to create.

    Arguably, they still need to drive forward and take a good long look at what they do ‘stand for’, not some fantasyland which denies what is done in their name and in subversion of their own principles, and work that through until they do develop some form of tenable neo-neoliberalism which isn’t fraught with magic thinking and internal contradiction.

    If it were me, I’d probably have a look at the gamut of classical liberal thought and steal a march by stealing back and taking ownership of the social liberal components from Labor, as a developed synthetic liberal framework allying social and economic liberal platforms. Doing so would allow a liberal party to overlap and to compete for the middle, and parts of the left and the right, but for very different – and perhaps superior, ideological and pragmatic, and egads even popular – reasons to Labor and Rudd’s hazy The Monthly vision of a social capitalism. It really is possible to out-do him because he’s merely taking as his what could have been the Liberal Party’s if they didn’t go on their faux-economic-conservative, tending towards capital-corporatist bender under Howard and Co. Imho.

  30. Legion, on June 29th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Just a roundabout way of saying that the Liberal Party do have a legitimate claim to the ‘social’ if they think they do, as much as they have previously and recently staked their ‘claim’ through an ‘economic’ domain; as a matter of pragmatics, it might behove them to consider the ‘social’ in terms of means and ends of ‘economics’ as part of any renewal of their policies and their approach to politics; instead of fleeing from it, and vacating that domain as one in which they don’t have a say except through a minarchist or libertarian economic lens re-badged as ‘conservative’, to their own detriment.

  31. I love the souffle analogy in this article by Geoffrey Barker:

    Only people without shame and without memory could have concocted and participated in Canberra’s utegate debacle. In the fevered and frantic atmosphere of Parliament House they combined to cook up a crisis that proved to be a soufflé. The whole thing collapsed when police disclosed that an email allegedly revealing improper conduct by prime minister Kevin Rudd and treasurer Wayne Swan was a forgery.

  32. Legion,

    If that’s conservatism, they should change their name to the minarchist party or the libertarian party.

    At the risk of flogging to death the Friedman horse, he once said, ” I am a libertarian with a small l and a Republican with a capital R. And I am a Republican with a capital R on grounds of expediency, not on principle.” I would probably say a similar thing, replacing the word Republican with Liberal.

    My description of what the Liberal Party is “meant to represent” was probably coloured more by my own version of an ideal government than any description of classical- or neo-liberalism per se (not that I think the Libs have aligned with a strict definition of either of those particular philosophies for a while, either).

    I’d also agree that the term ‘conservatism’ is far from an ideal brand-name today, for a number of reasons, not the least being the numerous instances of bad press generated lately by the actions of more than a few adherents in England and America.

    And, finally, I’d also agree that, before they can go forward, the Liberal Party needs to take a step back and examine their philosophical roots, reconfirming what it is they stand for. Only then, perhaps, will it be possible to answer difficult policy and ethical questions by referring to their founding principles.

  33. Nice post Ben. I find myself agreeing with your entire post. Turnbull now looks like a dead cat. He looked so awkward and tricky last week. No opposition could win government with leader approval/disapproval ratings so poor. Turnbull will need to turn those approval ratings around very quickly and sharply, otherwise he will be replaced as leader.

  34. Ben good point on the ETS. I think that probably is Turnbull’s strategy. Tony, the Coalition went to the last election promising an ETS. Why should they renege on that promise? ETS is not a left-right poltical issue, although it’s a free-market orientated way of dealing with it, it’s about believing the science of AGW. I personally find the science of AGW to be quite compelling.

  35. Al,

    ETS is not a left-right poltical issue, although it’s a free-market orientated way of dealing with it

    There are others who might see it as an anti-business anti-development environmentalist policy. It all depends on your point-of-view, I suppose.

  36. Sure Tony, but there are some that might see it as pro-unicorn, anti-yeti issue too. 🙂

    I have to agree with Al, that the ETS is less a left/right issue and more a pro/anti “Climate Change is accelerated by man & should be rectified” issue.

    If you don’t believe that climate change is man-made or should be rectified – then the ETS is folly regardless of left/right persuasion. If you do believe that climate change (& it’s anthopological cause) should be addressed – than an ETS might be a left/right issue if there were a viable alternative being proposed.

    To date, I’ve only seen the ETS being debated on the arguments it is not needed (i.e. climate change is not man-made) and other countries are not doing it, so we shouldn’t (hardly a point from left/right ideology).

  37. No leadership challenge, apparently.


    Oh, the ETS sucks!

  38. scaper…, on June 29th, 2009 at 10:40 am Said:

    “TB, I’m about the PM being a media tart just like the last Premier up here.

    Surely you can see the familiarities?”

    Or the last PM perhaps, scaper? It’s the name of the game these days, I’m afraid. I don’t think any political leader can avoid having a microphone and camera shoved in their face, these days.

    And let’s not forget the crapola that’s been the political process these last few days, who instigated it and wouldn’t let go. If it wasn’t for Trunchbull and his antics, parliament would have closed for the winter recess with barely an acknowledgement from any one.

    I had to shake my head at Trunchbull’s rider that the government had to cooperate with the opposition on the matter of ETS legislation. Who said the Libtards have realised they’re not on the government benches?

    And who woulda thunk that there would be two people called Godwin Grech in the world, let alone Australia? But there is indeed another Godwin Grech, who looks remarkably like the liberal leaker of the same name.

  39. Tony, on June 29th, 2009 at 1:52 pm Said:

    agree that, before they can go forward, the Liberal Party needs to take a step back and examine their philosophical roots, reconfirming what it is they stand for

    While I can see where you are coming from and (in an ideal world) I would tend to agree. But this is not the ideal world and I suspect that any deep thinking and discussion about their ‘philosophical roots’ would simply expose even more fault lines.

    Are they (or should they?) be about building on the assumptions and political traditions as advanced by Burke and Hayek? Mill perhaps? Friedman? (But after what happened to Iceland that might be a bridge to far).

    As you would know, underlying these assumptions are fundamental concepts such as the ‘Nature of Man’, the ‘Nature of Society’ and the correct or right relationship between same. Then we have the concept of the State and its correct roles and responsibilities.

    While the Liberals might reach a theoretical agreement one wonders how binding that would be on the Nats or even leaders like Howard who oversaw an everexpanding role for the State and (presumably) did so for base political motives

    Seems to me Abbott would have an entirely different view re the Nature of Man (tied to a religious concept of original sin etc) that Wilson Tuckey, to name but one example. As for the role of the State, I suspect would have a very different view than almost everyone in the Liberal Party. LOL.

    Grand theories or guiding philosophies are fine (and I think desirable) but today pragmatism rules and for the Opposition to abandon a pragmatic approach in favour of a more pure ‘philosophical’ approach would possibly see it rent asunder. Howard always said it was a ‘broad church’ and I think that’s the truth of the matter.

  40. Thanks for those interesting comments, Nature5.

  41. Make that 3 Jane. There’s one in Melbourne too.

  42. (But after what happened to Iceland that might be a bridge to far).

    ‘Too” far.

  43. Yes scaper you are correct. While I am in the business of making corrections, I should have said

    I suspect (BARNABY) would have a very different view than almost ..

    And scaper, there is a big difference between ‘bare’ and ‘bear’ and as for the difference between ‘familiarities’ and ‘similiarities’ there is chasm.

    Always ready to assist. LOL. But keep up the good work.

  44. And yes scaper, I am waiting for you to correct ’similarities’.

  45. Hit a raw nerve, retired teacher?

  46. scaper…, on June 29th, 2009 at 8:12 pm Said:

    Hit a raw nerve, retired teacher?

    Why would ‘correct usage’ hit a ‘raw nerve’? Scaper you reveal more and more of yourself with every post. As for ‘retired teacher’, you are somewhat wide of the mark. It’s not even a nice try. You give me attributes that I don’t deserve.

    Now how’s that patio building business progressing, the desire to be a beef baron and as for the Great Southern Cross, there hasn’t been much news of late.

  47. There’s a few “Beef Baron’s” in these parts.

    Not an easy trade to break into to say the least; my brother works for a fairly big one (Former Lib MP).
    Even if you come by the “property” you still need to know how to operate the beasts & manage the genepool.

  48. Human Dividend, on June 29th, 2009 at 8:42 pm Said

    There’s a few “Beef Baron’s” in these parts

    I have only heard from one aspirant. And as usual, the aspiration is somewhat fleeting. LOL. But perhaps there is some confusion over ‘barren’, of which there is abundant evidence, and ‘baron’.

    Typically, ‘confusion’ reigns supreme.

  49. I’m definitely not an aspirant!

    Getting shit upon by bovine economic units day in day out isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

    Been there done that.

  50. Miglo, on June 29th, 2009 at 7:22 pm Said:

    “Make that 3 Jane. There’s one in Melbourne too.”

    Bloody hell! That’s it. I will have to research more. There must be a recent common ancestor. Maybe Godwin’s mother had a multiple birth and decided to call them all the same name to avoid confusion. What are the odds, I ask!! Is there one in every capital city???? Do they all leak?

  51. I have mentioned a possible scandal here a few times so I will now reveal certain details.

    This concerns evidence discovered of corruption/maladministration/cover-up and possibly fraud in the Honours Secretariat in relation to the Order of Australia awards.

    This culture was initiated by the last government and this government is aware but to date there has been no action, I suspect the people concerned are under surveillance and they will be quietly dealt with because the PM and the Opposition leader would prefer that the matter does not come under the attention of the MSM as both sides of politics will be implicated!

    It is a sad day when our national honours can be bought at the cost of Australians that deserve to be awarded not only missing out but their nominations conveniently going missing!

    I have notified a well respected journalist and supplied him with a starting point for his investigation, he is going to look into it and over the next few days I will be providing him with more information as I believe the Australian public should be made aware of this behavior.

  52. So that’s where my Order of Australia went.

  53. This is most interesting.


    “PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has ducked questions on the $5,000 ute at the centre of the OzCar affair, refusing to say if he will return the vehicle and instead launching an attack on the media.”

    It seems we are seeing the real PM emerge…good luck on attacking the media instead of answering simple questions.

  54. scaper ….

    From that same story:

    “I think these matters have been canvassed in recent times,” he said.

    When pressed further by host Madonna King, the Prime Minister attacked the media.

    “I think what the Australian people would like Madonna is for us all to get on with the job of dealing with how we handle the recession, how we handle the problem of jobs, how we handle the small business challenges today.”

    I agree with Rudd – the attack on the media is warranted. Besides, why should Rudd give the Ute back? The question, by it’s very nature, implies that using it as it was intended to be used is somehow wrong. What is the difference between a Ute and a $5000 cash donation?

  55. Dave, why did the PM accept the ute in the first place instead of a donation?

    If I was in politics I would be wary of accepting such donations, especially from friends as it might blow up in my face in the future…wait a minute, that last bit sounds familiar!

    Now that the Teflon has fallen off we are seeing a different personality and my money is on something not far removed from the last PM as time goes by.

    He handled the interview badly in my opinion and attack being the best form of defence is becoming more prevalent!

  56. scaper …

    Are you serious – you really think there is a difference between cash and in kind? What is the difference between Rudd receiving a donation and then paying for the car and simply receiving the car/ute as a donation. SFA that’s what.

    I susppect most politicians get donantions from their friends – just like people who do things for charity get sponsors from their friends – its what friends do. Not sure how it comes back to haunt you unless the friend is into dodgy buisness and then it probably doesn’t matter whether they gave you money or not because there is simply guilt by association.

    Political parties operate off donations – otherwise it would only be the very rich who go into parliament. Personally I think it is good that the PM uses donations rather than paying his own way – it shows he has community support rather than simply paying his own way into parliament.

  57. Dave, you are the one who wants to centre on the ute and cash rather than the PM’s performance in the interview.

    I stand by my statement that I would be wary of accepting donations from friends as it could either be misconstrued or the friend would want a favour down the track.

    I suppose you reckon that the PM could not have handled the situation better?

  58. scaper, I am pretty sure that I said that I agreed with Rudd that the focus should have been on the economy. This is where the Opposition’s focus should have been as well, not some gotcha tactics trying to catch the PM and Treasurer out over misleading parliament.

    I have repeatedly said that this issue is a nothing and Turnbull should never have run with it. Your the one calling for a judicial inquiry and making an issue out of the donation.

    As for whether Rudd could have handled this better – I honestly think not. Could Swan have handled it better – absolutely – he should have answered the questions honestly and said that he had spoken to Grant but not any other dealers but that this didn’t indicate special treatment, nor did it mean Grant got any special treatment. But I honestly don’t think that Swan or Rudd directed that Grant get any special treatment. Grech may have given him better treatment because he knew of the connections but that doesn’t mean that it was at the request of Rudd or Swan.

  59. I will reserve my judgement on who did what and when and the events that occurred after the car dealer was allegedly knocked back.

    Will these so called inquiries get to the bottom of it or not?

    I doubt it because accountability is not in the DNA of anyone out there at the moment and was just another false promise by the PM!

  60. Who says the car dealer was knocked back? The Ozcar scheme hasn’t started handing out funds yet, or has it?
    At least Grant got his name put forward at a meeting with Ford Credit, him being a Kia dealer and all. Did any other dealers get mentioned as well?

  61. johnd

    Did any other dealers get mentioned as well?

    I’m pretty sure that I heard that there were 3 or 4 other dealers also mentioned in the meeting but supposedly Grant’s mobile number was given o the Ford Credit person at the meeting and others weren’t. The MTAA person didn’t think that there was anything special about Grant’s treatment and he was at the meeting as will I think. It’s not real clear – Grech was the person at the meetings, not Swan or Rudd so it’s all speculation. As scaper says, lets wait for the outcome of the Auditor Generals inquiry.

    Grabnt got funding elsewhere though, not through Ford Credit or Capital. It wasn’t Treasury asssistance that got him the funding.

  62. I suppose it all comes back to my main point on all this…why is the government acting at all on assisting car dealers receiving finance?

    I just don’t understand at all why this government is intervening on their behalf as if they have not received any funding yet, they are surviving quite well as I haven’t seen any caryards closing.

    And another thing…they gave some company $7M yesterday that produces ball bearings for our industry and the thinking was that they had to prop it up to save jobs in the other sectors.

    Obviously this company is not viable if it needs bailing out and if the supply is a threat to the industry why don’t they bail it out?

    If my industry went belly up I would not expect a bailout so what makes other industries so special?

    Hey, this government crows about green jobs so let the nonviable industries go down and redeploy the workforce to these so called green jobs, got to start somewhere.

  63. I think the article Scaper linked to is pretty pointless. There’s clearly nothing wrong with the PM having use of that vehicle, given that he has declared it on the pecuniary interests register.

    If the media have any new information that is new, then they should report it. Otherwise, there are definitely many more news worthy stories than that.

  64. scaper …
    Read a bit more into why the Government got involved. If you knew what the problems were in the industry, you wouldn’t be questioning the Government Motives.

    Put simply, GE and another big provider of finance to car retailers indicated they were pulling out of Australia. These financiers represented a v.large % of of fiance in the industry. Retailers were going to be left wiothout finance at a time when finance was hard to come by. The Government helped by putting dealers having trouble finding finance into contact with finance providers still operating in the industry. Behind all this, The Government was setting up OzCar which was a SPV to assist ar dealers who, if they couldn’t get finance anywhere welse, could get finance from the Government but only after the Government had done their own finance checks. It is only in the last instance that Government money would be used and then only as a loan similar to the finance companies were using.

    There is nothing about the OzCar scheme or the asistance given to dealers to find financiers that remotely resembles a bailout. No Government money was provided to Grant at all. This is why the whole strategy from the Libs is absolutely mystifying.

  65. The libs have a strategy?

    BTW – this dejavue stuff …

  66. scaper…, on June 30th, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    If the ‘real’ PM is prepared to attack rebuke elements of the media for their grossly unethical behaviours last week, that isn’t such a bad thing, imho; as I’ve expressed previously, and for the reasons given previously. It’s fine and lovely having a 4th Estate in a well-functionung democracy, but when that 4th Estate, or elements of it, goes rogue gonzo-tabloid, it’s up to the 5th Estate, perhaps, to acknowledge that ill-behaviour.

    Dave, you are the one who wants to centre on the ute and cash rather than the PM’s performance in the interview.

    And stop projecting! The other half of the piece concerned the terrible attack on the media, the takeaway being repeated twice in the reporting but distillable as…

    I think what all your listeners would expect, as they would expect of proper objective, balanced and honest reporting from local papers like The Courier-Mail and rather than base their reporting on forged and fake emails

  67. TB

    BTW – this dejavue stuff …

    I know, I know, I’m just trying to educate scaper on the issue a little more. He, like the meeja and the Libs have elevated this (the intial claim of undue influence) to a massive scandal when it simply wasn’t, at least not until it emerged that the whole (but pointless) Liberal case was based on a fake email.

    Scaper’s point was that the PM should have been taken to task over his comments in the interview when IMO, he should have been complimented for pointing out the obvious.

  68. Legion

    Well said.

  69. Dave, if the car dealers can not source their own finance then they don’t deserve to be in business…law of the jungle!

    I’m sure if this occurred then some new players would fill the void, if I required finance and could not source it I would deserve to go down too.

    No government made me and no government will break me…whatever happens is my responsibility!

  70. No Dave, my point is the PM should have handled himself better but couldn’t because the real PM is emerging instead of the crafted bullshit we’ve seen thus far.

  71. Dave, if the car dealers can not source their own finance then they don’t deserve to be in business…law of the jungle!

    If the Government intervention saves jobs and small businesses and means smaller towns can have car dealers rather than have to go to larger towns then I say that’s a good thing. Remember this isn’t costing a cent to the Governemnt (unless these businesses go under which is unlikely because they are subject to finance checks) and may actually make money (from interest etc). This isn’t a bailout and it’s not a subsidy – it is simply the Government intervening to address a market failure.

    This is the thing scaper – the Government was actually doing something to help small businesses and jobs and they get criticised for it for dumb political point scoring reasons.

  72. scaper

    But as was pointed out to you last week, car dealers must rely on finance to stock their showrooms with cars, that is the way it works. It is a different model to your business. And the problem was that there was no-one for the car dealers to go to for finance.

    Not so much law of the jungle, more that the jungle was cut down – and so no animals could have survived.

  73. joni, these car dealers have been in business for decades and they still can’t afford to stock their showrooms?

    I bet they all live in million dollar houses and have the best of everything but to me still have not got their business established enough not to rely on credit…great businesspeople!

  74. Different business model scaper. That’s all.

  75. scaper,

    … many businesses operate by borrowing working capital (to pay wages, raw materials, equipment) – its usually referred to as “gearing” (eg a company is “geared” 40%)…

    …BTW over 40% and I believe a business should look at its business model – some businesses gear over 60% and take the risk (specially new start ups)…

    … the manufacturing industry in particular needs to use capital loans and amortise the costs of business over a period of time … …they don’t use cement mixers and shovels they use bloody great machines or expensive dies and specialist tools … not cheap – believe me, I was a Production Manager!

    … no mines are ever funded by the “owner”, (individual or consortium), they are all “geared” …

    … not every business is the same as yours …

    … and like any other investment the more you invest the greater the returns AND the greater the risk …

    …BTW – the two industries that keep this country “ticking” are housing and motor vehicle sales …

    … important for ANY government to keep ’em “ticking” …

  76. Not so much law of the jungle, more that the jungle was cut down – and so no animals could have survived.

    Wow, in a temporary drought cattle barons feed their cattle hay AND keep their breeding stock under the premise that once the drought breaks those breeding stocks will be available to regenerate the herd? That’s novel, Joni. Mind you, as a vegetarian, it does appeal to my sensibilities to allow the cattle to starve to death, along with the cattle barons, until there are no cattle or cattle barons. Tofu-burgers from Maccas collected from the drive-thru walk-thru sounds like a good plan, except to anyone who values meat or maintenance of infrastructure like supply chains, including production and distribution networks.

  77. TB, I’m against government propping up any business unless it is involved in essential goods or services.

    If they are in dire trouble then the government can buy and operate them but governments are only in the business of selling!

  78. Scaper,

    It’s not just motor vehicle dealers that rely on finance to survive.

    All the major retailers do to. They’d be f**ked without it.

  79. scaper, what do you think a shareholder is?

  80. what do you think a shareholder is?

    Are you serious???

  81. I think everybody, including the government have forgotten the lesson of the State Bank of Victoria, in particular its merchant banking arm Tricontinental.
    Tricontinental basicly told potential borrowers, if everybody else knocks you back as a bad risk, come to us.
    It sounds like Ozcar has the same business model.

  82. Scaper 5:20 pm,

    There are many reasons dealers operate this way. For example, a dealer can offset wholesale charges (sometimes completely) with commissions and volume bonuses earned by writing retail finance contracts for the same company. By the way, many dealers own their used car stock, but prefer to have their new cars on floorplan. It’s a matter of allocating capital efficiently.

  83. sounds like Ozcar has the same business model

    Sounds like, but if you’d read any of the available paperwork, including submissions to Senate committees, with or without the presence of Godwin, you’d know that risk and viability are key criteria at every level of the scheme for all parties.

  84. Legion, exactly. Low risk, high viability dealers get conventional financing, all others get Ozcar.

  85. Perhaps, should have said, all others go to Ozcar.

  86. RISK assessment and due diligence (are you reading malcolm – due diligence?) are the cornerstones of good business…

    … disclaimer – I have not borrowed a cent from anyone or anything since 1985!

    … and as you know, scaper, I have more reasonS than most to distrust any Federal government – these are extraordinary times – with even more to come soon, financially, to a street near you …

  87. Not exactly, and to put it another way, and as I read the backgrounders from the stakeholders, it’s about the contraction in the supply of credit (GFC, ya know), even for ‘good risks’, because there simply isn’t any credit available, or at least not available to and within the Australian market at a volume and a price which ensures its effective availability to even those parties who are ‘good risks’, so government is stepping in to provide a line of credit to wholesale credit-providers to keep that credit-distribution channel open. The risk, on my read, lies in allowing that channel to collapse, putting ‘good risks’ out of business, and that risk is as diffuse as wherever wholesale credit-providers and their car dealers, who will still be assessed for risk and viability under prevailing market conditions, happen to be.

  88. and their car dealer clients*

  89. Or yet another way, OzCar doesn’t appear to be directly about car dealers, but about credit-providers to car dealers; it’s the availability of credit to credit-providers to supply credit to car dealers which has evaporated, and which OzCar seems to be seeking to address

  90. And unpacking that in relation to the LNP’s big claim last week about the Ford meeting; they were suggesting that Ford might not get its wanted $500 million line of credit from the government to on-sell as credit to car dealers unless Ford included Grant’s dealership among those dealerships to whom that line of credit, or other credit available to Ford, might be on-sold; it was a charge of improper influence.

    Speaking personally, it makes sense to me that the plight of Grant, a KIA dealer, and other car dealers of sundry dealership sorts also left high and dry in the great credit evaporation might be raised in tentative discussions with wholesale credit-providers in any event, if the OzCar initiative were to be attempting to broadly address the undersupply of wholesale credit being on-sold to all car dealers, merely as a matter of common-sense and a way of broadening the collapsing supply channel and utilising existing commercial distribution infrastructure for the SPV.

  91. Legion, yep … the last post nailed it – BUT Ozcar (if/when it exists) will still need to conduct risk assessments and due diligence investigations into the wholesale credit providers’ operations …

    … think we made the point between us …

  92. The GFC is often referred to as the Credit Crunch for very good reasons because even the best of the best were in danger of losing access to finance both for themselves and their clients.

    The Rudd Government signalled its intention to step in to ensure ‘finance’ if it was needed but, and more importantly, to boost confidence. Did it work? The answer appears to be clearly in the positive because it is now generally understood that, at worst, only about one-quarter of the $2 billion of the underwrite MIGHT be needed.

    As for John Grant Motors, it seems nothing has changed. He is currently financed by the same company that been financing him for years. The doom and gloom as predicted by so many hasn’t descended and whether it’s due to government action or normal market operations is now a moot point.

    BTW if every business and household was financially able there would be no need for Banks. But without finance from Banks it is highly likely that a small business would never become a big business. While some companies get finance from shareholders as TB has pointed out, they still approach banks to leverage their expansion.

    It is now clear that both Conservative and Left Governments agree that leaving the operations of society (including the economy) to the whims of the market place is dead and buried. Mugged by reality.

  93. TB

    See there was life in this thread after all 😉

  94. Dave55, on June 30th, 2009 at 6:59 pm Said:

    See there was life in this thread after all

    But there shouldn’t be. This rerun is only for the slow learners who apparently learn best through rote apparently.

  95. N5

    LOL – agree

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