NEWSFLASH: Either side could win this election. At face value this may seem unremarkable. That is what elections are for right? Thought about more deeply though, it is pretty amazing.
Things are tightening and Labor’s campaign is in trouble. If Tony Abbott pulls this off, it will go down in the annals of Australian political history rewriting the textbooks and consigning Labor, including its existing hopefuls, to a decade or more of irrelevance.
He will have taken a riven dysfunctional rabble that had chewed through a pot-pourri of positions and leaders, and led it back to power in just one term. All the more amazing because Abbott himself has only been in charge for half a year or so.
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For all the humiliation and ridicule Kevin Rudd faced over his brief stint as Prime Minister, for all the personal criticisms Julia Gillard has had to endure, for all the background sledging suffered by Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull before the elevation of Tony Abbott, who himself has faced plenty of flak, there is another politician who can rightly claim the unpleasant mantle of the most vilified MP of this parliamentary term.
She wasn’t even a minister, not even close, and wielded no influence over the lives of Australian voters beyond her little patch of paradise on the NSW Central Coast.
But despite her lack of clout, Neal ended up being clouted more gleefully and more frequently by the public, the media, and her many detractors across politics over her headline-making habits as the member for Robertson.
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Friday Fight Club II is over the jump.
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The Australian health establishment has denounced a proposal for doctors to stop calling chronically overweight people obese and start calling them fat instead.
The idea is that calling people fat will have more emotional impact, effectively shaming them into doing something about their weight. Sorry to have to point this out but chronically obese people already get called fat, just usually not to their faces. Besides, many overweight people openly talk about themselves being a fat person.
Now the Royal Australian College of GPs says it is a rude and insulting term, preferring “obese” instead because patients should always be treated with respect.
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Just a month ago Julia Gillard declared that the Labor Government had “lost its way”. This past week proves that Labor remains well and truly lost.
Far from “moving forward” (sorry) under Ms Gillard, Labor is mired in poorly planned policy, deep division, frantic media spin, ongoing economic mismanagement and sleight of hand. Nothing has changed.
Let’s look at the past week.
Just a week ago, Ms Gillard announced the laughable “Citizens Assembly” – a year-long talkfest that further delays any Labor decision on climate change. After declaring climate change one of the 3 vital issues she must tackle, this policy is the ultimate backflip and the worst abrogation of responsibility.
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This week has greatly illuminated Tony Abbot’s unique relationship with public policy.
As the first hint of a proposed massive cut to Australia’s immigration intake surfaced in last weekend’s media we were told that Tony Abbotts’s impending announcement would be a game changer – the ultimate trump card to the population debate.
Barely had he mentioned the figure of 170,000 than his policy was fatally wounded having been hit by shrapnel. Turns out that all Mr Abbott had done was add up the current projected cuts in net overseas migration arising from existing Government policy, and call it his policy.
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Just when you thought that funnelling your hard earned cash into a soulless machine in the darkest reaches of a hotel couldn’t get anymore depressing, it turns out now your kids can watch.
Disturbingly, The Pink Hill Hotel in Beaconsfield has been given permission to build a children’s playroom enclosed with soundproof glass so that parents can keep an eye on their children from the gaming room. Fabulous!
Now the whole family can revel in the joys of daddy getting 3 pyramids in a row on the Queen of the Nile.
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All aboard the conspiracy bus.
The media pack following Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, in the absence of external stimulus in the form of policies, has turned inward.
We now theorise wildly about everything to do with this campaign. The trip is tightly controlled (although apparently not as rigid and paranoid as the Gillard campaign, where the media pack is rumoured to
be on the edge of revolt).
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I was spending some quality time with channel 10 the other night. It was blathering on about how good it’s life is now, and I was only half listening. But I did hear it accidently say Masterchef’s name when it was talking about its new friend, Jamie Oliver’s Road Trip.
You see, Channel 10 needs us, guys. In recent times it was on top of the world: Masterchef was the most watched non-sporting event in Australian television history, with the finale reaching a peak of over four million viewers.
It was raking in sponsorship and commercial money, there’s book royalties to look forward to, it seemed like things could never go wrong.
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I reluctantly faced one of the simpler but more infuriating challenges that life throws at you. It can be summed up in three words: telco customer service. (Eds - this is a distressing column. Let’s start with some cheery hold music.)
I’ve had a mobile phone account with a leading telco provider for a number of years. Since moving to my new house over a year ago the coverage in the area has been terrible and as such I queried the problem on numerous occasions. It recently came to a head and I did the unthinkable – spent two and half hours of my life either on hold or chatting with one of a multitude of provider staff.
I spoke to iPhone, billing, the provider service centre, customer support and mobile customer support – I was flung like I rag doll around from representative to representative and each time I had to relay the same information; name, address, date of birth and nature of the problem. On two separate occasions, just when I thought I was making progress, the connection failed while I was on hold and just like Groundhog Day I was forced to start all over again.
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