Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Of hanging chads and PMs "not there"...

The desperation is everywhere. Like the humidity thick in the air prior to a summer thunderstorm, it pervades the the government's final week of the campaign. Days out and with the polls hugely unmoved, nothing the government has done has altered the view of an electorate looking for something different.

On the 7:30 Report the PM, looking all of his years and stridently trying to keep to his one message, presented himself and his campaign as the ultimate contradiction. He wants to look to the future - that's what matters. All the while he examined Labor's past - the Keating past. Any examination of the government's past was, well, just that - the past. It was of no consequence: only Labor has past; the government is the future.

Just to make it clear, the Labor party's past is a malleable thing too. Howard, terribly serious and full of gravitas, demonstrated this by rewriting that history in front of the ABC audience and a clearly stunned O'Brien when he bald faced claimed that Labor under Keating had not legislated to introduce Enterprise Bargaining at all; no, not in 1993 and certainly not before Howard changed the IR world in 1996. Never mind the statistics (4,500 registered agreements, federally, by 1995), Labor did not introduce enterprise bargaining. No. Full stop.

I'd suggest that's news to the rest of the country; certainly to those who struck those non-existant agreements.

Why would the PM mangle the truth? Why would he lie and rewrite history? To suit the claim that Labor would return to its past (that only it has in this campaign) and to centralised wage fixing. The fiddling with history and the truth is blatant.

Howard, the scare campaign - "union fanatics", "they'll stuff the economy", "we're commin' back", "wharf strikes, rail strikes..." - having achieved little and with little left to say has resorted to the ploy of his hated predecessor, Keating. "If you change the government you change the country". The former member for Blaxland must love the irony.

Elsewhere Howard promises that if you elect him he won't be there and even gives an example of how it is he won't be there. He'll call a party meeting and resign. Annabel Crabb of the Herald says it better:

Oh voters; if you really care

Elect a man who won't be there!

Vote for him on Saturday

It's guaranteed he'll go

Alexander Downer, in a huff over the fact he may lose his job on Saturday, declares that nothing but cliche's fall from the Opposition Leader's lips. Worse, those lips often adopt a smirk. He would know, I suppose, sharing the front bench with the smirk of Australian politics and being well familiar with the meaningless platitude and cliche over the his time in office. Given his performance at the AWB enquiry, its nice to know he can recall who the opposition leader is and what a smirk looks like.

The prize in the desperation stakes though goes to Andrew Robb and his cohort of dirt diggers. This crew have waited until the final week to discover the Florida hanging chads of the 2007 election. You can't vote for this crew or we'll challenge the results. Truly desperate stuff. As if this "fact" was not known earlier. Eleven of the twelve have dismissed it for what it is: a desperate smear. You can bet that the only challenge might be to - an as yet unelected - Newhouse. If there are any challenges at all.

Penny Wong (ALP SA) said it best yesterday: "They have nothing left to say to the Australian people".

Absolutely spot on: nothing whatsoever. It defines the government campaign nicely.



Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

Yeah, the nadir has been plumbed. With lead boots.

Happily, I didn't see the 730 Report diving expedition, because if I had I might have done serious violence to the tv set.

The arrogance and, worse, condescension of the old humbug -- presuming that people don't "take their vote seriously" because they're considering giving the Great Man the flick.

"Puppies aren't just for Christmas, kiddies."

Jesus wept!

21/11/07 8:29 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Humbuggery defined the interview I must say.

JWH was, in fact, in full-on lecture mode: he must have repeated eight or so times the Polonius style paltitude of don't change for change sake - you'll change the country and there'll be a risk.

Neither a lender or a borrower be. Don't vote for change sake for your vote is neither a Christmas present nor can it be returned Boxing Day

The last twenty-cent piece drops into the belly of the poker machine and JWH reaches for the handle...

21/11/07 11:59 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Oh dear. David Bradbury, ALP candidate for Lindsay (Jackie Kelly's seat) seems to be suffering a Rove attack similar to Karl's celebrated destruction of John McCain in 1999:

THE Liberal Party was flailing last night after a senior NSW party official and the husband of outgoing MP Jackie Kelly were implicated in a dirty tricks campaign involving race hate in Ms Kelly's former western suburbs seat of Lindsay.

The ALP has written to the Australian Electoral Commission demanding action be taken after Ms Kelly's husband, Gary Clark, and NSW Liberal Party state executive member Jeff Egan were caught distributing bogus pamphlets in Lindsay portraying Labor as sympathisers of Islamic terrorists.

Bradbury now only needs to have fathered an Islamic "Love-child". Perhaps that will be found in Rudd's past?

22/11/07 7:29 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Jackie Kelly gave what amounted to an utterly embarrassing interview on AM this morning. It was all a "prank".

Was he husband involved? Only allegedly. Apparently the poor boy was put upon by a "union goon squad" who wanted to fight.

Was he involved in handing out these leaflets? He was handing out anti union letters.

Yet he had one in his hand in the photograph? Union goons were out provoking this.

Are you suggesting they printed this, placed it in his hand and photographed him? Where is this going?

You get the drift.

The Liberal Party, of course, has absolutely no knowledge of this whatsoever.

I notice, too, that friends in marginal electorates are coming home to messages on their phones from the PM warning of the army of union thugs coming to trash our "trillion dollar economy" or some such.

Billy Joel comes to mind:

While in this campaign of quiet desperation

As I wander through an election that I can't win

I search everywhere for anti-Labor vituperation

But it's cold reality that smacks me on the chin.

And every pollie has a dream....

22/11/07 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Dylan said...

The leaflet (in case you haven't seen it) is online here.

A very desperate move, indeed.

22/11/07 6:20 PM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

Yes, I heard the interview with Jackie Kelly on AM.

I thought the interviewer, Chris Uhlmann, demonstrated a wanton pro-Labor, anti-Coalition bias with his hectoring insistence on getting to the truth.

Lift your game, Aunty!

Yes, very desperate, Dylan, not to mention, amateurish.

To be fair I'm sceptical that anyone in the higher Coalition echelons would have been so stupid as to have anything to do with such a moronic caper.

No, it's can only be a more local fit of stupidity by a bunch of rank amateurs.

Anyway, Labor is entitled to milk it for all it's worth. Just as the Govt certainly would if the shoe were on the other foot.

22/11/07 10:08 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Indeed Jacob. Don't go looking at the Telegraph blogs though. Even though the Tele "broke" the story its rusted on white-room types are lambasting Labor and - wait for it - the "media" for giving the story a life. It needs to be ignored - for the betterment of social discourse of course.

Meanwhile, always in government lockstep, Piers Eichmann, err Aaaackerman, gratuitously uses Bernie Banton's name to traduce Labor via Hawker Britton, engaged by Hardie, who have "made over Rudd". The import, of course, being that Rudd is comparable to James Hardie by association.

Oh, as well, there's the Hienemann (or whatever the name) QLD thingy too that he bands on about. No matter six thousand judicial reviews, senate committe reports and a High Court judge (or Crown Solicitor - it's been going on for so long I've quite forgotten) saying its all beat up bullshit.

What will poor Piers do should the ghost of government future visit Saturday (Rudd)? Given the revisit this week of the ghost of government past (Keating) and the slowly rotting pervading presence of the ghost of government not so pleasant (Howard) overpowering the final week, he may have to take a decently long lunch.

I'm stepping outside for canapes; a dozen Sydney rocks; scallops on the half shell in soy, ginger and white wine; rare roast venison saddle with red wine jus, chat potatoes, baby spinach and long beans....If there's desert...I might be a while.

22/11/07 11:19 PM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

Oh, Piers is a survivor. As a dream spinner, he's not subject to any real mechanism of accountability as is his political alpha, Mr Howard, who must submit himself to the whims of the mums and dads.

If by some flatulence of the gods Mr Howard is sent off, well then Piers will naturally ascribe such a catstrophe to the ignorance and ingratitude of said mums and dads. It's written in Piers' entrails.

Anyway, I've this evening dusted off my Howard-era vintage bottle of '98 champagne and consigned it to the fridge, in readiness for a possible toast to the Saturday night lower-lip tremors of Mr Howard's concession speech.


We'll be heading down the country to spend election night with friends. We've resolved that, even if we're unable to toast Mr Howard's dispatch, that bottle of '98 shall indeed be cracked that we might toast our friends' better-half's success today in winning the job of her dreams.

Why waste an entire evening? Or a decent bottle of bubbly?

23/11/07 12:48 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

And a good idea that is Jacob. the Recory will be firing the Webber and filling the fridges.

A Kiwi mate of mine is doing similar: after the World Cup he reckons this has the makings of a contest near to a Blediloe Cup match. Collosseum blood sport.

23/11/07 1:05 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Err, colosseum.


23/11/07 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Interesting the polls, eh guys.

The Nielson says Labor landslide, whilst the Galaxy has Labor in the lead by a whisker.

Both can't be right.

If the Galaxy poll IS correct Mike, looks like the country WILL be waiting on WA for the final result after all.

Whaddya reckon?

Ps Jarcob don't pop your cork too soon lovey! Ha!

23/11/07 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...


23/11/07 9:54 AM  
Blogger Father Park said...

This time I think the Galaxy poll is slightly out. I still think somewhere near to 53-53.5% ALP and 46 -46.5% LNP.

The polls have been hugely consistent all year. Given the government's week things will only be worse for them today.

The wheels have really fallen off the Howard/Costello cart over the back end of this week. It is - in no way - a good look. The PM himself has looked "frazzled".

Much of the talk back (in Sydney) yesterday (BL, UE and GB) - outside of the rusted on to both sides - was centred on the government's campaign as being a turn-off and the impression was that it all about hanging on to power and Howard.

Newspoll tomorrow will be interesting.

The Oz, the Tele and the Herald have editorialised in favour of a vote for Rudd.

23/11/07 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

See the latest newspoll is similar to the Galaxy one Mike.

It's gonna be a tight finish.

Reckon the old geezer's coming home with a wet sail!

23/11/07 6:02 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

You might well be corretct Kathy. I don't think so though.

I give Labor four, maybe six seats as a majority. Certainly, Jackie Kelly's hopeful successor has stuffed herself.

But, then, I've been wrong before...

23/11/07 9:12 PM  

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