The difference between Howard and Abbott: Which is the dinosaur?

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I just spotted this on social media.

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Is the Current ALP government really wasteful?

I’ve downloaded a copy of Tony Abbott’s “Real Solutions” to critique, as I did with his Direct Action Plan and the proposed dam plan.

My initial cursory look over the booklet found a blatant attempt to hide the decline, through an inappropriate comparison of the current government’s record with work days lost against the previous Liberal government. Placed into context, the ALP haven’t done too bad without stripping worker rights, as my info-graph showed.

With that in mind, I have since become increasingly weary of the validity of the graphs throughout the booklet – Abbott’s team seem to think we’re idiots and will not look at the actual sources.

One source that I was led to was the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2012-13 (MYEFO), which is referred to time and time again.

Every Aussie who has been anywhere apart from under a rock must now be familiar with the negative commentary provided ad nauseum by the Coalition on the ALP, especially on economic matters such as spending.

Looking at the MYEFO, I was surprised to learn that when reviewing this source for the “Real Solutions” booklet, Abbott’s team missed the opposite message throughout. For instance, on page four, Australia’s GDP has remained persistently above other advanced economies, such as the US, Europe, the UK and Japan post Global Financial Crisis.

gdp

Australian debt, as a percentage of GDP is a fraction of the size of any of these other economies (page 12).

debt1

It’s like the Global Financial Crisis and other economic factors in the northern hemisphere (think of the combined troubles of the EU, for instance) hit like a tsunami that, by the time it found us, was barely a ripple.

Being an advance economy intrinsically means we were not immune to these, however we have avoided the worst of it, even with all the hung political nonsense and drama over recent years. And this is supposed to be economic mismanagement?

In my book, that’s a success story, not what the negative spin doctors of the Coalition harp on about wherever they find a microphone.

Abbott’s Invisible Best Plan for Emission Reduction

On Monday, Tony Abbott told the crowd, “‘Just ask yourself what an emissions trading scheme is all about. It’s a so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one.”

However, a few years ago, and still visible on his own website, he wrote, “Then there’s the question of the best mechanism for reducing emissions on which an international agreement might be reached. There is much to be said for an emissions trading scheme. It was, after all, the mechanism for emission reduction ultimately chosen by the Howard government. It enables an increasing market price to be set for carbon through capping volumes of emissions.”

Consistency…?

Abbott’s “Real Solutions” really lacking fact checking

I’ve downloaded a copy of the LPA’s “Real Solutions” booklet as I expect it to hold up about as well as Abbott’s Direct Action Plan. To be honest, I didn’t expect to find such an obviously misleading point so quickly.

Firstly, I find it funny that the booklet is littered with quotes from Abbott now nearly 20yrs old. Has he not said much of inspiration since? Furthermore, he has made it clear that dredging up old quotes of his that are not in his favour is a mugs game – how is it different here?

Anyway, that’s a side note. What interested me straight away was this graph on page 14.

working days LPA

Okay, initially you might find it reasonable. He’s showing the difference between the last year of the Howard era (blue) against the ALP period (red), showing a steep increase in working days lost. Shame on you ALP!

But, wait a minute. If the climate deniers have taught me anything, it’s to be weary of graphs.

So, I went to the effort of going to the ABS website and downloading the actual working days lost data back until 2001. Here’s what I found;

Working days lost

Incredible! 2006 and 2007 are amazingly among the lowest years. The pretty picture fails as soon as we head back further in time – the Howard era actually has the highest values in the graph!

It must be noted my values are slightly different because I went with calendar years, not financial years.

So there you go, Abbott’s “Real Solutions” on a cursory glance holds real misleading information.

More to come as I wade through it.

UPDATE:

The above is now in an info-graph:

work-days-lost-web

Click to download web-sized and HQ versions. Please share!

Rudd: Is it clever to call back an angry mob?

Rudd quickly made the call out to Australians, most notably, young Australians, urging them to again be politically engaged.

From my discussions with others in recent weeks, I must conclude that this will largely fall on deaf ears. People that generally share similar views to myself are, put basically, over it. Without doubt the media circus of the past year has stirred up the pot to boiling point and, just like any mob, reason is left somewhere overshadowed by the desire for blood.

Not only are many people resigned to an Abbott government post-2013 federal election, but increasingly, I’m finding people defending it. Why? From the best I can understand, simply because it’s all they feel they have.

Apparently, the ALP, in the public eye, has done nothing but carry on in a like fashion to Neighbours since 2007 and the public seem only too happy to parrot off Abbott’s point about Gillard bringing in a carbon price after saying she wouldn’t (what’s the bet Mr Abbott will now go on and on about Rudd saying that he wouldn’t run against Gillard, only to be repeated by such faithful parrots). Equally, people seem to forget the 2010 election when repeating Tony again in complaining that Australian’s have been denied the chance to vote for their PM twice (obviously incorrect – we voted in 2010 and will so in the coming months).

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

The truth of the matter has been that in recent years, the current political arena has been largely successful. Even with a wilfully ignorant, if not intentionally hostile media base, more concerned about personalities than policies and in a hung parliament, Gillard’s era saw in 485 new bills, which included the controversial carbon pricing. In such a hostile environment, Gillard did more than most people could.

The type of criticism I’m hearing reminds of that cliché image of the overweight spectator screaming advice at athletes out on the field, spitting out chewed fragments of hotdog along the way.

The inconvenient truth here is that such commentators hold an unreasonable and uncritical distaste for the ALP in general which has done little but inspired a loathsome character to be seen as the lesser evil – about the best he could hope for.

Which brings me back to the point of this piece; the mob is out for blood – ALP blood. I’ve found that people shy away from critically reviewing Abbott’s position or rapidly foam at the mouth when forced to face it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, with so many abandoning the ALP, they choose to stubbornly support the Coalition… No matter what. To face up to the truth – that Abbott is no Messiah – leaves them in a political void. Where does one turn if they have rejected the apparent wreckage of the ALP and the decidedly unAustralian policies of an Abbott led Coalition?

A sense of unity may help Rudd in his appeal… but then again, it may not. The townsfolk have their torches lit and are sharpening their pitchforks for whatever date this election ends up being held. The print nailed to every door whispers a more tantalising story to reality and could lead us to being the first country in the world to genuinely try to run the economic model of the liberatrians, failing on each step to improve the lives of the majority in favour of the wealthy minority. Only then may the public realised that they were duped by self-serving interests and be forced to own up to the type of parliament that their blind rage voted in.

Australian Spills in the Hope We Won’t Slip

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It was said that mining interest brought down the previous Prime Minister and it is probably equally true that the media helped to bring down the following one. More concerned with her fashion, personal life and internal party rivalries than her policies, it’s difficult to see how anyone could stand against such sledging and remain popular.

It’s troubling to think that the media can have such a biased sway over democracy, but it also provides a niche for independent media, with sections of the audience in search of transparent news sources.

Courageous?

While some within the ALP were calling themselves courageous for their continuous support of Julia Gillard, many observes were shaking their heads.

Firstly, this is not an attempt to kick Gillard while she is down – I’m finding myself defending her more often than I ever thought I would in personal conversations (on NewAnthro, I’ve provided my fair share of criticism of many ministers, Julia included). She did her job as best she could and was no better or worse than her predecessor. Both were better in many ways from Howard before them and are leaps and bounds above the current challenger; Tony Abbott.

Yet, for Gillard, there simply was no future. Gremlins within the media had chewed through the break line and if they stayed on that ride… annihilation. It is not courageous to give the country on a platter to an Abbott government.

Abbott Policies are not in our favour

Abbott’s Direct Action Plan is doomed to fail (perhaps intentionally designed to fail). Even if he relied upon the more robust method of carbon sequestration – tree plantation – the scale of the project would see annual wood production grow by more than 300% in the most optimistic measurements. Most concerning, the Direct Action Plan takes our tax dollars and hands it over to private industry for their benefit, not the actual tax payer (more here).

Should our tax dollars go to replacing the light globes in Gina Rinehart’s office? And we’re not talking about something as small as light globes, but millions of dollars.

The Great Northern Development again is a pipedream. Sure, it will not fail as the Direct Action Plan will, but like the plan, this development is entirely about funding profits for private industry.

Beyond the resource boom available in the north, the climate, soil and water security all ensure that whatever infrastructure is built up north – especially in northern WA and NT – will become too costly to maintain by a large community without further avenues of revenue accruement.

Put basically, farming will not be the cash cow for a large northern population, so with mining cash gone post-boom, how will this population afford to fix roads and dams (and there will be a lot of them to ensure enough water supplies in the harsh north) and maintain hospitals and schools? Most resources will need to be shipped in at greater expense (more here).

Soon, the climate and expense of life out there will become too much for most, who will then return to the south. So the infrastructure investment in the north will only be to support mining communities so that these resources can be extracted as quickly as possible. Not for the Australian community mind you – especially if Gina gets the mining tax removed – but entirely for private wealth creation.

And it doesn’t even stop there. Rinehart complains about sharing her profits with labours – implying that Australians don’t want to work because they cannot afford to for less than $10 per five-day week.

Why Mention Rinehart so much?

Why does this matter? An Abbott led government wishes to secure Rinehart’s profits, by removing taxes and making it easier for her to hire such workers.

So, not only are the Direct Action Plan and the Great Northern Development funded entirely by you and I to pay for the needs of wealthy private industry, these same industries, under an Abbott led government, will get tax-breaks and free rein to outsource labour; moves that would remove income to the commonwealth and Australian jobs.

This is why it is not courageous to grip onto your favoured PM as the ride hurtles towards destruction, but insane that someone would place favouritism ahead of a very troubling future where Abbott has no counter-weight to temper his, quite frankly, unAustralian policies.

The election ahead

While I don’t align well with any Australian party, I have to say that I share the sentiment coming from supporters of this Rudd-exchange that an Abbott led government is very concerning. It is a threat to our way of life and the general prosperity of this country. Apart from everything else, what remains is a serious challenge to maintain some resistance against the worst of his policies. If he cannot be defeated entirely, we will need to grit our teeth until the general public wake up to the reality of an Abbott government and vote him out again, but at least, with Rudd, there is a chance for a counter-weight unlike there ever could be with Gillard.

Call Now To Vote For Your Favourite Pollie: Spills and Games of Political Media

Is anyone really convinced that the situation with the ALP is purely internal?

Sure, Australian’s felt a bit off over how Rudd was pushed out, but few seem to remember that public support for him was pretty low before the move. He championed himself on an Obama styled float that left the audience with stars in their eyes…

Something that was largely fantasy, to be quickly eroded when he stopped being a show boat to outdo Howard and got down to work. Work he did too, although mundane as it was to the voter.

Yet Gillard too was popular enough – enough being the key word here… enough and also lucky in gaining the support of independents. Work she has also done as well.

Nothing we are witnessing within the media reflects much in the way of governance, but rather trumpet boys and girls doing little more than the annoying host of a reality show screaming at the audience to pick up their phones to vote for the person they wish to save.

Would there be so much talk about polls and popularity if it wasn’t the same noise over and over again each morning in the papers and morning news? Obviously no, you cannot have talk without the talkers.

Corinne Grant wrote the most refreshing article on the subject yesterday. In short, it’s a nightmare zombie of reality TV pushed on the political arena. The Coalition is enjoying the show, because they are largely on the sidelines, effectively fuelling the fire. But they should be equally concerned if the limelight is swung onto them this coming September.

Perhaps they should be even more concerned if they plan to run with the Direct Action Plan, the proposed 100 new dams, oh and also the Great Northern Development. Such ventures are riddled with nonsense, bad arithmetic and wishful boasting.

And what of climate change; the sudden elephant in the room after Obama’s recent speak? Hard to call climate “crap” now, I would imagine.

The Coalition will be grilled by this substitute for media, harder than the ALP ever was over the Gillard-Rudd tiff.

Which leads me to why I’m currently writing… another spill is in the air tonightoh lord (sorry Phil).

I cannot help but feel that there is a level of sexism involved. Corinne Grant points to evidence of such in her piece, but even more than that, Gillard speaking at the “Women for Gillard” get-together hurt her standing with male voters, if these endless polls are to be believed. Looking through the media, the imagery they choose to use of Gillard also seems more emotional… perhaps weaker… than is ever the case for Rudd or Abbott (both whom always seem to be glaring or talking forcefully – “men of action…”).

Moreover, is the media concerned about anything political except for the ALP tiff or smug comments from the likes of Pyne, Hockey or Abbott? From a casual observer’s point of view, I cannot help but conclude, “no”.

I have heard next to nothing in the way of critiquing the Coalition’s propositions (many of which fail simple mathematics) or some of the comments Abbott seems to stand by. If he is to be the next Prime Minister, you would think a good profile of the person would be in the public eye, but yet he seems to have realised that he is more popular when he largely isn’t seen and the media have been quick to accommodate.

Seriously?

And so we find ourselves, for the umpteenth time, on the cusp of yet another spill, largely because the reality show model that the media has portrayed is sinking in. Regardless which of the two is in leadership, either one will work. Regardless which person from either side of politics is PM, they will be unpopular.

The show, as we are spoon fed it, is far more entertaining than if it stood on the merits of values, effort, results and leadership.