Some Random Jottings To Start The Year

Happy New Year everyone.

I’m still neck-deep in work at the moment, and might not have time for anything lengthy till the end of the month. But here are some conversation starters, the main issues of the last two months which you are at liberty to pick up on or not.

Storm Clouds Over Europe

The Charlie Hebdo massacres in France are merely the latest chapter in the sorry story of the failure of a significant portion of migrants to Europe (and the rest of the West) from one particular religious affiliation to assimilate. It really matters not that the vast majority of Presbyterians (let’s be clear about this and call them by their name) are peaceful, law-abiding, tax paying, et cetera. So what? Someone reminded me today that only 7% of Germans in the 1930s were members of the Nazi Party. Most of the other 93% were peaceful, law-abiding citizens with no particular animus towards the Jews, or anyone else. And how did that work out?

Now once again, European Jews are afraid to venture outside their doors for fear of assault, rape or even murder, this time at the hands of gun-toting Presbyterian zealots screaming ardens sed virens! and behead all those who insult John Knox! France’s Education Ministry years ago gave up on even pretending to offer Jewish children an equal public education, forcing them into religious schools, and ensuring their parents pay twice for their education. As Mark Steyn writes:

Well, you say, why are those Jewish kids going to a Jewish school? Why don’t they go to the regular French school like normal French kids? Because, as the education ministry’s admirably straightforward 2004 Obin Report explained, “En France les enfants juifs — et ils sont les seuls dans ce cas — ne peuvent plus de nos jours être scolarisés dans n’importe quel établissement”: “In France, Jewish children, uniquely, cannot nowadays be provided with an education at any institution.” At some schools, they’re separated from the rest of the class. At others, only the principal is informed of their Jewishness, and he assures parents he will be discreet and vigilant. But, as the report’s authors note, “le patronyme des élèves ne le permet pas toujours”: “The pupil’s surname does not always allow” for such “discretion.”

No wonder they are fleeing Europe in droves for Israel. The story of European Jewry—and the untold thousands of prominent scientists, artists, composers, philosophers, writers and leaders, millions of ordinary people over the past millennium who helped create the enlightened West—looks set to come to an end.

But of course, to criticize Presbyterians—with their barbaric attitudes towards women, homosexuals and anyone else who refuses to submit to their totalitarian ideology (the very word Presbyterian apparently means “submission”), not to mention sending their young girls away to Scotland to be mutilated and/or married off as child brides (often to close relatives), and demanding that all food, whether they eat it or not, must now be certified as haggith—to criticize them at all draws howls of protest from the liberal Left, who will accuse you of racism! As if Presbyterianism was a race and not a religion. But then again, this is the same liberal Left who chortled and cheered from the sidelines twenty years ago when an American photographer submitted an entry in an art contest which consisted of a crucifix immersed in a vat of human urine, a work entitled Piss Christ. Apparently the Left employ their horror of blasphemy highly selectively. As well as their outrage against sexism, homophobia, and so on. Consistency is for losers, right?

There are plenty of Presbyterians who genuinely hate any association with the nut cases within their own faith. Many of those are too afraid to speak out. But not all. Some have even risen to positions of power and influence. Let’s hope this courageous minority can gain traction, and make sure we give them whatever support they need in this war. Because I believe nothing short of a reformation of Presbyterianism is required if we are to avoid this undeclared World War erupting sooner or later into a full-blown, guns-and-bombs one, this time on our own shores.

The Lure of Free Stuff

In March 2012 Queensland’s economy was in a parlous state. Labor, in power since 1998, had run up a credit card bill which threatened to cripple the Sunshine State and leave it on the verge of insolvency. In desperation, they turned to a man not even in state parliament, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Campbell “Can-do” Newman. In that position some years earlier, with Labor in power in all six state and both territory governments, Newman held for a time the dubious distinction of being the highest-ranked conservative political leader in the nation. A no-nonsense former army major, he realized that drastic cuts to spending needed to be made, and fast, to rescue the economy. This he did, not caring about how popular it made him.

What he wasn’t prepared for was the ferocity of the backlash. Queensland has one of the highest rates of public-sector employment in the country, and those employees and their spouses are voters. That, plus a number of broken promises, and futile measures such as ham-fisted, totalitarian legislation outlawing free association, all to put a curb on the illegal activities of a few motorcycle gangs, were an affront to all freedom-loving Queenslanders, irrespective of political persuasion. A landslide majority in the unicameral Brisbane state house parliament has been reduced to a probable hung parliament, with outback Federal politician Bob Katter likely to hold the balance of power in a minority Labor government, and holding them to ransom for massive infrastructure spending in his home patch, together with wide-scale rural debt restructuring. Kicking the problem into the future, yet again.

The MSM Succumbs to its Taste for Regicide

With Newman gone, the MSM have turned their guns gleefully on the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Abbott has himself to thank for much of this: having re-introduced the rank of knighthood to the civil Order of Australia, he decided in a fit of Menzian monarchist fealty to bestow one upon Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and consort of Queen Elizabeth II. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because Philip’s eldest son was similarly gonged back in 1981. Or maybe because he opened the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games (the Queen back then being young and unable to afford a nanny to mind the kids for a few weeks). Or something. Had he consulted his cabinet beforehand on this idea, he would have been howled down (nearly all of them are republicans), and I think he knew it. So no more Abbott knighthoods.

That hasn’t stopped the MSM from talking up a leadership challenge, even though none of the likely candidates have much of a taste for it right now. Changing leaders while in government—in its first term at that—because of a few unfavourable polls, smells of panic and makes the Liberals look like a stodgier version of Rudd-Gillard Labor. So I doubt it will happen. But if the polls continue to worsen over the year, who knows?


Back to Europe, I was bemused to see an Australian socialist has now become Greece’s new Finance Minister. Yanis Varoufakis, who describes himself as a “Libertarian Marxist” (he should get on fabulously with all those Christian satanists and Jewish Nazis) holds dual Australian-Greek citizenship, was for a few years a lecturer in economics at Sydney University and specializes in game theory. He joined the Syriza Party and is now in negotiations with the European Central Bank to refinance the €245 billion loan extended to save Greece from bankruptcy. Many of his party favour an outright default: take the money and run. I can see it all ending in smiles.

That will do for the moment. I’ll check in at least once a day or so – cheers.

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25 Responses to Some Random Jottings To Start The Year

  1. meltemian says:
    I fear the ultimate outcome of all socialist government plans but I have to admit I’m impressed by the man. He’s the best and only hope we have at the moment. Greece badly needs something different, Nea Dimokratia and Pasok between them have driven the country to the wall with their use of buying votes by giving state jobs as payment, covering up fraud and corruption and squeezing more and more taxes out of the little people while ignoring the outstanding amounts due from the wealthy.
    Many people I know have been working for months with little or no pay as the only access they have to health care is dependent upon their being employed and there is little likelihood of them finding alternative work. If they do become unemployed they can only get benefit for a maximum of one year, after that they are on their own.
    Greece is broke and has unsupportable debts, it has been using a credit card to live beyond its means and has had to face the consequences. The sad thing is that the reckoning has fallen on those parts of the population who can least afford it!

    I don’t doubt you for a second, Mel. From what I understand the ones who made out like bandits during the years of largesse are largely untouchable now, mostly corrupt government officials, bank executives and the like as FB notes below. Grexit may well be the only long-term solution, but even in that case things are likely to get much worse before they get better. A new drachma would start out being worth not much more than a Zimbabwe dollar, but by the same token it would give Greece an enormous competitive advantage and enable it to trade its way out of the hole – Oz

    Update: I had a look at the video you linked to. I agree Varoufakis himself is charming and personally impressive. In fact, I’ll embed the video here. Well worth a look, everyone.

    I love how the uptight British presenter on two occasions could barely bring himself to pronounce Varoufakis’ name for fear, I suspect, of accidentally uttering a rude word 😆

    I’m sure there is much to his point about the stereotyping of the Greek people. However, it’s hard to avoid the impression that he’s only telling half the story; the half that demonstrates his point.

    Nevertheless, Greece invented democracy, and his government has been democratically elected. We have to hope he will find a way through this crisis. But not a fictional way, which can only last so long in any case: the Greeks gave us simple arithmetic, too.

  2. farmerbraun says:

    ” the €245 billion loan extended to save some corrupt banks from total destruction.”
    Fixed it for you. That is not to deny anything that Mel says above. The wrong people are being punished.

    No doubt FB, ’tis always thus.

    I forgot to mention that at that same election, a neo-Nazi party called Golden Dawn (Χρυσή Αυγή) gained nearly 7% of the popular vote. Even with their swastika-like emblem and heil-Hitler salutes. Scary – Oz

  3. Ozboy says:

    More political high jinks: Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles, Australia’s first indigenous political leader at state or territory level, was toppled late last night in a party-room spill by cabinet rival Willem Westra van Holthe. Van Holthe announced the decision at a news conference at 1am this morning.

    It’s the monsoon heat that does it.

    Update: it appears our own right-wingery is on a comeback as well. Pauline “Please Explain” Hanson is currently leading the count in the Queensland electorate of Lockyer (just to the west of her old haunts in Ipswich) by 300 votes. That’ll scare Abbott a lot more than any leadership rumblings in Canberra – it was Abbott whose efforts a dozen years ago were mainly responsible for sending her to prison the last time round.

    This should be fun to watch.

    Update: Andrew Bolt’s take on the MSM’s bias toward Abbott. The embedded video says it all.

  4. Ozboy says:

    Pauline’s fallen behind again in Lockyer. If the LNP’s Ian Rickuss hangs on, the conservatives may conceivably form a minority government with Katter’s imprimateur. But not a government I’d want to lead. More likely is a Labor minority government or 1-seat majority government. In either case, watch out for anyone dying or being sent to prison, because the circus will then start all over again.

  5. izen says:

    ” the €245 billion loan extended to save some corrupt banks from total destruction.”
    Fixed it for you.”

    I checked back to see if I was as cynical in the past when the whole Greece issue started.

    Its the dogma of austerity and deficits meeting the reality of social logistics. The Greek debt is peanuts in the bigger picture. All these billions are virtual money. Most of it was invented, or created by financial trade before the crash. The amounts of money involved have only a very loose relationship, and appear to be unconstrained, by the actual material assets, manufacturing and production and service industry value that exist. The real value of Greek resources, workforce, tourism and a (barely) functioning modern society with water, welfare education and health systems is ignored in favour of financial assessments based on a system that has shifted wealth within societies over the last few decades.

    It is hard to avoid the suspicion that the enthusiasm for austerity measures, and avoiding changing the system back to one which distributes the actual wealth, not the financially invented/created excess, back to the middle classes is not driven by the self-interest and regulatory capture achieved by the 1%.

    Open shirt and Jeans meets suit and tie, the libertarian marxist meets the neoliberal conservative banker.

    Although there are also the National Socialist Golden Dawn hanging around in the background, and the history of military coup as well as democracy in the recent Greek past.


    As for the fundamentalist ‘Presbyterians’, sigh, yes it is the medievil mindset of absolutist theology clashing with the requirement of mutual cooperation of city based civilisation. Beheading and burning at the stake… no better not give them ideas… were common presbyterian, and catholic fashions in the past.

    But there is always a danger of claiming the moral high ground. Robert Fisk made the interesting observation that any intelligence service wishing to monitor extremist groups and recruitment should have as a keyword flagged up as HIGHLY significant in detecting such activities the term in all languages, – INJUSTICE.

    Ozboy, your local/state politics sounds unbelievable, are you sure you haven’t fallen asleep in front of a boxset of House of Cards or Scandal?

    No -palpable lack of grin- Oz

  6. Ozboy says:

    Ha ha, Adam Giles appears to have hung on as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory (for overseas viewers, the two territory governments have Chief Ministers as head of government, while the six states have Premiers, equivalent to a state Governor in the U.S.). Read the account here – hilarious.

    For logistical reasons, that sort of farce could not occur with the office of Prime Minister. The very wise framers of our Constitution made sure the head of state (the Governor-General who, being appointed not elected, is above politics), and not the head of Government (the Prime Minister), is also the Commander-in-Chief of the military, at least partially in order to avoid this sort of situation. In the United States both rôles reside in the one office and the one person. What if the President, like Adam Giles, refused to take his impeachment lying down?

  7. izen says:

    Sorry Ozboy, it is unkind to laugh at other nations politics, and it usually backfires…

    I have encountered little bits of Australian and even Queensland politics seeping into the global news picture. There are other Australian bloggers who have taken a very dim view of the higher educational system changes and the whole economic argument behind the asset stripping/privatisation that has been advanced as the ‘cure’ for the economic woes.

    The parallels with Greece and the ultimate impossibility of pushing the full ideological dogma of balanced budgets and smaller government on a reluctant populous seem obvious. The people tend to want the banks to go bust rather than the schools and hospitals.

    If the new Greek government fails in its efforts to roll back the austerity dogma, perhaps that sharp new finance minister will look for a job in his other country. How well would his brand of politics go down in Oz or Queensland.?
    Of course if the new Greek approach was to prove wildly successful perhaps Australians would demand he returns to do the same for them! – grin-

    I gather there is a coal mine at stake.
    I was interested to see that something that requires big government intervention, spending millions of the taxpayers hard-earned to dredge the GBR, enlarge a port, build a railway and subsidise a new mine to enable a private company to make a profit is now described as ‘stranded assets’ if the government FAILS to subsidies all the infrastructure that would make extraction profitable. Since when did economically unviable resources get redefined as – ‘just lacking sufficient government subsidy’?

    Some good questions here I don’t have time to respond to fully.

    Re the issue with universities, there is a double rationale for the deregulation of fees that has many on the left up in arms. The first is that universities themselves have made the case that to increase their standing (in the rather dubious league table lists that seem largely tied to volume of research output), they need to raise capital by setting their own fees, as do most of their overseas competitor institutions. The second is part of a drive to repair the long-term structural deficit in our government’s budget. Selling iron ore and cattle is all very well, but makes us hostage to fluctuations in the commodities markets. We need to diversify. Governments on both sides emphasize the need for Australia to become a major regional services provider: education is part of that mix, and already universities can charge overseas students whatever level of fees the market will accept. A rise in league table standings will enable them to raise fees even higher – Oz

    Update: re the Galilee Basin coal development, I’m actually with you here. As you know, I strongly opposed government subsidies (as opposed to tax breaks, which are fine) for private wind and solar energy ventures. You are absolutely right that the same principle should apply to new fossil fuel ventures: if they aren’t viable without injections of government money, then they shouldn’t get off the ground in the first place.

    Government spending on public infrastructure has its place, to be sure – roads, rail, port facilities and so on. You can rightly expect a long-term return on judicious infrastructure investment. But a railway that effectively serves only one company should be paid for by that company.

    Update: Alan Moran in Catallaxy yesterday summed up the Australian state electoral cycle nicely:

    People prefer to vote for Labor because they offer more free goods and regulations. Eventually the Labor governments collapse under the accumulated weight from the costs of their taxes and regulatory innovations. But the electorate, having seen a conservative government clean the house, then returns to its natural preference, a government that will take from people other than themselves and distribute to themselves. And the numbers of people on the government payroll is barely checked by the conservative victory, still less are regulations wound back, making it easier to rebound politically as time goes by.

  8. izen says:

    I appreciate you have limited time to get into this matter, perhaps others will provide their views; the UK is already part way down the road of deregulated student fees and ‘exploiting’ the overseas market in leveraging their British university degree status for exorbitant student fees.

    I dont think there is much agreement it has had a positive outcome. Two problems arise.
    One, with universities able to set fees to cover their costs a government with a greater commitment to deficit reduction, or bailing out the financial market, than to widely available higher education for the general population can justify cutting university funding on the basis that they can make up the difference required to cover their running costs by charging more for the popular courses and dropping the low ‘value’, meaning fee earning, courses.
    Two, the universities do respond to central government cuts by enrolling many more overseas students, and charge them much higher fees than indigenous students to subsidies the UK students who now attract a smaller government contribution. This has resulted in some university courses being almost entierly filled by overseas students. The irony is that while some of these are from families wealthy enough to fund the fees from their private assets, many are subsidies with government grants from their own nations who seem to see more value in educating their young adults in UK universities than the government of the nation.
    One side effect of this is that many of the professionals that the UK now employs in field such as healthcare, engineering and research are now foreign national, trained here but recruited out of necessity because of the shortage of UK graduates.

    The issue of research and its importance in establishing the status, and therefore the market ‘value’ of enrolment as a student can all come down to money. Encouraging good research costs more. An interesting insight to subtle differences in how other Nations do things was revealed by a discussion of science research funding on another blog. Most research, or at least the stuff that gets universities a high status rating, is either directly funded by the government from government funds or is funded from various philanthropic foundations set up by major business in the past. Very little is funded directly from business. Most of that funding is distributed by NGO charged with supporting the ‘best’ research.

    Now of course this is subject to regulatory capture, runaway positive feedback ass sucess breeds succes, favoritism and outright corruption.
    But apart from a few notorious cases and a few disgruntled fringe cranks, most of the time it seems to work well. Perhaps because it is a very competative field, demand for research grants FAR outstrips supply so there are very strong constraints on price inflkation of anti-competative pracxtises, there are just too many interested parties to let anyone get away with much.

    But there is a big difference in the way research funding is calculated between the US and the UK/Europe.

    In the UK and much of Europe (I think?) the general running costs of a university, the saleries, building upkeep. utilities and materials, are paid out of student fees and government funding. A grant for research is proposed and calculated on the direct costs only of doing that research. The materials equipment and expenses the researchers incur as a direct cost of the research. It specifically excludes the general indirect overheads of current wages, water, power maintenance etc that are inevitable in an ongoing enterprise rather than a one-off event.

    In the US it seems research grants are considered to INCLUDE the ongoing indirect costs. Grants are larger, the government and NGOs that distribute funds for research accept that as much as 60% of any research grant will be diverted by the university away from the direct payment of doing the research in the grant proposal and will be devoted to the general running of the university.

    Quite what the implications are, and how significant the differences in how student, general and research monies/expenses are calculated, funded and granted in each nation is something I am still puzzling over.

  9. Ozboy says:

    This is one book I’d buy. Harper Lee’s first novel, Go Set a Watchman, whose manuscript was long believed to be lost, will be released in July to an initial print run of two million copies. I’d say that will be snapped up by pre-orders the day they become available. She has given me so much reading pleasure, I’d be happy to contribute to her retirement before she passes away.

    I first reviewed To Kill a Mockingbird in 1977 while in high school. It still resonates just as powerfully for me today as a morality play, combined with a pastiche of gentle reminiscence of rural childhood. And the movie was flawless; I hope it is never re-made. Unfortunately though, as the years pass it has also become a parable of the moral decay of the Left. The character of Atticus has been hijacked as the embodiment of the feel-good, do-little progressive liberal. Rather than the blacks of Maycomb taking their destiny in their own hands, they play the part of passive supplicants, putting their trust in the white moralist. He makes fine speeches, espouses noble ideals and shames the white redneck villain, but by the end of the story, having basked in their adulation, he leaves them as poor, downtrodden and oppressed as they were at the start. Even more so: Tom Robinson starts the story in jail, wrongly accused of rape. He ends it dead.

    But at least the white moralists can feel good about themselves, and that’s what really counts. I doubt Harper Lee had any of that in mind when she wrote it, but that’s the lens the modern Left places in front of it today, wittingly or not. I wonder how this new novel will stand beside it.

  10. Dr,Dr.Dave says:

    Delightful to be back again. Even izen makes me smile. Mostly its delightful to hear from mel as I have had a bunch of things to ask of her. I love my Australian politics primer…you don’t get this in the US media.

    Dave!!! Welcome back old mate, and let me pour you one on the house. You’ve been a stranger too long – Oz

  11. Ozboy says:

    Tell your friends: there is to be a leadership spill moved during next week’s Coalition party room meeting. I don’t think the two back-benchers who called it would have done so unless they had a) the contender’s approval, and b) the numbers to win. So I’m guessing there will be a new Prime Minister of Australia by Tuesday afternoon.

    To use a bit of rhyming slang: it’s the merchant banker.

  12. myrightpenguin says:

    Thanks for the info. Oz, so it seems Malcolm Turnbull is very much on the left of Abbott and would usher in a return to mushy centrism. I guess that’s a problem with a party called the “Liberal Party” in the first place.

    Malcolm has the kind of urbane panache that Tony Abbott doesn’t. His Sydney electorate of Wentworth is the wealthiest in the country and includes exclusive enclaves of artists, gays and bankers like himself. To be fair, he’s also significantly more experienced in the world of big business, having once headed up the Australian branch of Goldman Sachs. He’s far more fluent and at ease with the media than Abbott. He’s also far more egotistical, far less principled and far less tough IMHO. If the Australian public want a talking head with a glass jaw, then Malcolm’s their man. He’s the Liberals’ Kevin Rudd. But Abbott is no Gillard – Oz

  13. myrightpenguin says:

    When you get a chance Oz (I know you are busy), maybe you could provide some info. on Tunrbull’s environmental stance. His metropolitan elite / Goldman Sachs connections concern me a little, makes me wonder whether Agenda 21 / Common Purpose is underlying some of what is going on, esp. with the Paris COP later this year.

    I wouldn’t attach too many conspiracies to him. He’s no ideologue – he’s out for himself, is all. He thinks the sun shines out of his fundamental orifice, and he is convinced the world thinks so too.

    He’s a convinced and committed warmist. He doesn’t have any science background, and becomes enraged when anyone raises any scientific questions about AGW. Being a politician, he really believes science is decided by vote. If he does challenge though, he would have had it made plain to him by the conservative hierarchy of the party that the party platform – and that includes environmental policy – won’t change under his leadership. He’s the type of man who won’t be bothered too much by that – as long as it gets him to where he wants to go – Oz

  14. myrightpenguin says:

    Thanks Oz, that does raise concerns for me in terms of the Paris COP which will be working towards a supra-national agreement as opposed to reversing anything domestically enacted in parliament previously, but anyway we’ll have to see, first of all as to whether Abbott’s Premiership can survive the leadership spill or not.

    My phone and e-mail are running hot right now. Everyone’s asking me what I think will go down on Tuesday. But the truth is, I don’t know any more than the average Joe. From what I’m hearing, even the majority of Liberal party MPs are in the dark. I’ve met both Abbott and Turnbull and spoken to them. Once each, and many years ago. So my opinion hardly counts. But for what it’s worth, Turnbull has to announce a challenge publicly. As in, tonight. If he does so, in my opinion it’s all over, red rover. He’ll get the numbers and win. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory, as he will be bound by a policy platform a lot further to the right (at least in social and environmental matters) than himself. But a non-challenge on Tuesday will cripple Abbott’s authority (unless a miracle occurs on the weekend and the spill motion is roundly defeated, which won’t happen).

    I don’t like the prospect of a Turnbull Prime Ministership, for any number of reasons. But a government without effective leadership would be even worse. I’ll post updates over the weekend.

    As far as political soap operas go, it’s Rudd-Gillard all over again – Oz 🙄

  15. Ozboy says:

    Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy (a lot better connected that me) has Abbott as $3.00, Turnbull at $1.40. In a two-horse race, I’d call that conclusive.

    Mind you, the last time I saw odds like that in a two-horse race was in November 2001 when Centrebet were offering $3.00 for Russian-Australian light welterweight Kostya Tszyu against trash-talking yank Zab Judah for the world reunification title in Las Vegas. It was also the last time I made a four-figure investment of this type 🙂

  16. myrightpenguin says:

    The back and forth exchange in this article typifies what I have read in general. People do think Abbott is someone who cares about the people (“gets in the coalface”) and generally do not dislike him but it is that knighthood for Prince Philip which brought things to a head, on the back of all sorts of niggly things that I believe he would have eventually weathered anyway (austerity, etc.).

    It’s in the balance, but not all bad. Abbott does seem to have decent backing for now, including from Julie Bishop.

    I’ll give you a little scoop – well, not gossip, just a personal observation. Malcolm Turnbull gained entry to Federal parliament in 2004 by ousting the sitting member for Wentworth – Peter King, a former president of the NSW Liberal Party, after one of the bitterest preselection battles the Liberals have seen in recent years. The seat is perhaps the juiciest conservative plum in the country, as Liberal preselection virtually guarantees a seat in federal parliament. King then stood as an independent in the 2004 election and won 18% of the primary vote. The Liberal Party subsequently expelled him from the party. Now, I’m not saying King will be out to undermine Turnbull in any way. But it was an odd coincidence that not long after King’s disendorsement, several postings started appearing each week on Andrew Bolt’s blog having an attribution of “Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill” (a suburb in Wentworth). Has King been feeding Bolt stories these last few years? I don’t know. But I suspect if Malcolm becomes PM, more than one old wound in conservative politics down here may be re-opened – Oz

  17. Ozboy says:

    When it comes to Malcolm’s views on climate change, he prefers to leave no doubt. In this lecture from 2010, he savages Kevin Rudd (and with some justification) on abandoning his emissions trading scheme to tackle climate change, which Rudd called “the great moral and economic challenge of our time”.

    Perhaps Malcolm should run for leadership of the Australian Greens…

  18. Ozboy says:

    News Limited reports inside rumours Turnbull will announce candidacy late Sunday or Monday. That’s cutting it fine.

  19. myrightpenguin says:

    As Izen says, House of Cards stuff.

    As with you Oz, the most disappointing thing for me is the lack of discipline in the ALP turning this into a mirror image of Gillard-Rudd, unnecessarily. It’s barely one and a half years since Abbott won a landslide for heaven’s sake. Maybe he’s made a few little missteps due to learning on the job, maybe some of these ‘missteps’ have been blown out of proportion / concocted by the media as viewed in the article linked below, but action from the backbenches is very short-sighted. Anyone can see that he has shown in the past that he has ability to acknowledge mistakes, correct, and grow moving forwards.

  20. myrightpenguin says:

    (sorry, Liberal Party of Australia, not ALP. Not sure if there is an abbreviation for the Liberal Party).

    The Liberals only abbreviate on election day, and then it’s LP (or LNP in Queensland, where they are formally amalgamated with the National Party) – Oz

  21. Ozboy says:

    One of the starkest and most telling differences between Abbott and Turnbull occurred in 2008, when acclaimed Australian photographer Bill Henson gave an exhibition at the Roslyn9 gallery, in the Wentworth electorate. The exhibition featured multiple photographic portraits of a naked 13-year-old girl. Tony Abbott joined with then-PM Kevin Rudd (who, like Abbott, is a committed Christian) in publicly denouncing the exhibition. Police were called in and seized several of the exhibits. But Malcolm Turnbull, the local federal MP, strongly supported the exhibition, even admitting he personally owned two original works by Henson (though not nudes). The situation was not helped when it was later revealed a Sydney primary school principal had allowed Henson free access to his school yard to allow Henson to scope out potential “models”. There are any number of interpretations you might like to put on this.

    Turnbull, in fact, had enunciated the official Libertarian position, although I am inclined to describe Turnbull’s stance as libertine rather than Libertarian. In fact, I personally have some real problems with much of the published Libertarian literature on children and child protection, and as a father of two I find myself on this issue far closer to the Christian Right than to Libertarianism: a topic I hope to write about some day.

  22. Ozboy says:

    Abbott has moved the spill motion forward to Monday 0900 AEDST (Sunday 2200 GMT, 1700 EST, 1400 PST).

    According to Andrew Bolt, Turnbull wanted a secret ballot on the spill motion. This is significant. Under the Westminster system, the Cabinet (Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, all chosen – at least theoretically – by the Prime Minister) are expected to support the PM in a spill motion. But a secret ballot would enable ministers to betray the PM with impunity. Abbott is calling for an open display of solidarity. So at least, matters are set to come to a head in just under 24 hours.

  23. Ozboy says:

    Rupert Murdoch weighs in:

  24. Ozboy says:

    I normally would never do this, but Malcolm makes no secret of his home address, so here it is: one of Australia’s most exclusive waterfront mansions, right on the shores of Sydney Harbour. “Altona”, the similarly-sized mansion next door, recently changed hands for a cool AUD 52 million. Here it is from space.

    Can you imagine the fun Labor Leader Bill Shorten is going to have with this?

  25. myrightpenguin says:

    Definitely not a Murdoch fan but that tweet hits the mark for me.

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