The contrast between past and present arrived quickly and starkly in Parliament yesterday.

Getting touchy feely. If only for a second.

Just before Question Time there were moving speeches of condolence following the death on Saturday of Margaret Whitlam.

From the Labor side of the House Julia Gillard, Tanya Plibersek and Kevin Rudd were listened to by all in silence.

On the Coalition side, Tony Abbot gave an elegant tribute and Malcolm Turnbull was obviously emotional as he expressed his affection for the “Bondi girl” who had been the mother of one of his former business partners. Julie Bishop also saluted Margaret Whitlam.

When the speeches finished, so did the decorum, and the rock fight resumed.

At the centre was Labor’s problem MP Craig Thomson, currently on sick leave on doctor’s advice. Like all other MPs, Mr Thomson is waiting for the findings of two investigations into his actions while national secretary of the Health Services Union.

Opposition questions eventually revealed that the Government had referred a Fair Work Australia report into finances of an HSU branch, released last week, to the Tax Office. Mr Thomson did not feature in that report, but it was used to attack him and the Government.

Get used to the no-holds-barred style of engagement now blighting federal politics. We might have to endure it for another four and a half years.

That means up until the scheduled election late next year and then for the three-year term of whomever wins.

And that means government instability and a reduction in the attention given to the range of decisions the country will need made.

The rules have changed. The consequence is that Parliament, seen through the keyhole of Question Time, is dominated by skirmishes rather than considered policy debates.

The Government demand from the Opposition a full fiscal accounting of its policies – 18 months out from a scheduled election.

And the Opposition is demanding the Government punish one of its MPs – before an official investigation even reports on him, let alone condemns him.

It doesn’t even trust the doctor who has given the MP a medical certificate.

Part of the present instability comes from the fact of a minority Government, and from the Government giving an aggressive Opposition so many opportunities to go on the attack.

Standard practices are being dumped or distorted, and those alterations are likely to persist no matter who wins the scheduled election late next year, and whether or not they have power in their own right or must rely on a demanding cross-bench.

Whoever is in Opposition will replicate the current political law that every promise must be broken down to all its constituent parts and all those parts implemented—no matter whether it is the right policy for the times or not.

The present Opposition is showing no mercy now, and nor will the next one.

Most commented


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    • nossy says:

      06:03am | 20/03/12

      And through goes the MRRT last night - some 320 pieces of legislation have been passed Tony “the repealer” Abbott, aka Dr No , will have to repeal!  hahahha And this great dunce of the Liberal Party is up to 46 straight losses with his Censure Motions! Anfd he trails Gillard as Preferred PM STILL! Honestly if Abbott was a racehorse he would be running in a Maiden at Timbukto and still losing! Abbott Labors greatest asset. Ohhhh how sweet it is!

    • acotrel says:

      06:23am | 20/03/12

      ‘The present Opposition is showing no mercy now, and nor will the next one.’

      If Gillard was to end up in opposition, at least she would act responsibly, not like some snotty nosed little schoolyard bully , and his gang of sycophants.
      I’d love to see Abbott in a street fight, I bet he would be just like Mark Latham - talk fight loudly, then start crying the first t ime he gets a dab on the nose !

    • Donald says:

      06:35am | 20/03/12

      Actually nossy the fact that Gillard couldn’t beat Tony in the last election to form a majority government speaks volumes especially when that was when she was the height of her popularity. And in the 2PP the ALP is looking at a trashing at the next Federal election and this is even beform the carbon tax is implimented and the results of the Craig Thompson investigation. Gillard should have crushed the Libs and had Tony replaced months ago. The fact he is still in place says more about him and his success and her failure as a PM who still hasn’t the credibility thanks to the ‘real’ PM aka Rudd having more popularity and still a potential thorn in her side. Julia is the worst PM this country has ever seen and 2012 is going from bad to worse for her. You’re right nossy it really is sweet…...if you’re not a supporter of the soon to be extinct ALP.

    • SteveKAG says:

      06:36am | 20/03/12

      Acotrel she has not acted responsibly in government, why would you think she would do that in opposition?  Use your head sunshine!

    • Flexo says:

      06:52am | 20/03/12

      acotrel, seems like big talk from a flabby old man. Overcompensating for somethere mate?

    • TimB says:

      07:10am | 20/03/12

      You do know he was a boxer at uni don’t you Acotrel?

      Nossy, please tell me you’re joining Australia’s gymnastics team in London. With the amount of backflips you do, you’re a shoo-in for the gold.

    • acotrel says:

      07:30am | 20/03/12

      Abbott brings out the worst in a lot of people !

    • acotrel says:

      07:36am | 20/03/12

      From time to time I road race a motorcycle.  A young friend of mine has one of my old bikes.  He had ridden other bikes on the road for about ten years then decided t o take the racer and give it a go.  He lined up on the grid with all the old farts, and thought he’d do alright .  He found out he couldn’t ride a motorcycle- the ‘flabby old men’ blew him to the weeds !

    • dovif says:

      07:38am | 20/03/12

      Acetroll lol

      Gillard responsibly

      Isn’t this the person who
      1 lied about the Carbon tax,
      2. who lied about giving us a vote on the carbon tax.
      3. who lied about setting up a citizen’s assembly to see if Australians want a carbon tax
      4. Who lied to Wilkie about the pokies legislation, to buy his vote,
      5 whose staff was writing her victory speech, 10 days before, she confessed she was “Loyal” to Kevin Rudd, just 1 day before she
      6. whose staff created the Australian Day riot, to try to set a mob on Abbott

      You are one ace troll, Gillard has no integrity

    • I hate pies says:

      07:42am | 20/03/12

      Nossy: “some 320 pieces of legislation have been passed Tony “the repealer” Abbott, aka Dr No”

      Can you see the contradiction here?

      This is the perfect example of why the Liberals should be in government - Labor just aren’t very bright.

    • Lem says:

      07:43am | 20/03/12

      Tim B - I get the feeling he was a very ordinary boxer - saw him tryng to juggle two balls - thats right two balls - not three or four but two - my four year old can do it and he was really struggling - it reminded me of the Howard off break incident - no eye hand eye coordination = no boxing ability

    • acotrel says:

      07:46am | 20/03/12

      ‘You do know he was a boxer at uni don’t you Acotrel?’

      That’s like telling me he was a Rhodes Scholar and pretending he is an intellectual ! I know a fake when I see one !

    • Super D says:

      07:52am | 20/03/12

      @aco - Gillard won’t end up in opposition for long.  She’ll be dumped from the leadership as the ALP’s worst ever leader immediately and then resign her seat about 3 months after the election.

    • ZSRenn says:

      08:35am | 20/03/12

      Nossy, diverts the discussion away again to TA.

      Why because he doesn’t want people to ask “Why has the report on Craig Thompson been once again delayed.”

      He doesn’t want us to talk about the plethora of problems the Labor Party faces. The mistakes made. Aided by his assistant in crime Actoral

      Actoral has no defence for this the worst government in Australian history. All they have left is to attack TA and to tell truth guys it is starting to get a little 2010 to me.

    • nossy says:

      08:36am | 20/03/12

      @TimB if its not bad enough Timmy you being a paid up Member of the Liberal Party Timmy we read yesterday you are double dipping with your blogs - you have been outed as “AdamC”  - ohhh Timmy!

    • Blind Freddy says:

      08:36am | 20/03/12


      “Actually nossy the fact that Gillard couldn’t beat Tony in the last election to form a majority government speaks volumes especially when that was when she was the height of her popularity”

      Critically, Abbott couldn’t even beat Gillard to form a minority government.

    • nossy says:

      08:39am | 20/03/12

      @Donald   by gingo by geez Donny I shall have a look at QT today to see which party is in Government - according to you its the Coalition! Look fella tell mummy not to put so much sugar on your wheeties in the morning!  hahahaha Love ya Donny!

    • Leonidis says:

      08:52am | 20/03/12

      @ Acotrell - Gillard is already acting like a snotty nosed schoolyard bully. She berates, screeches across parliament, refuses to answer any questions, turns a blind eye to corruption and criminality amongst her party members, openly, blatently and often lies to Parliament and to the people. The sooner Australia is rid of this ridiculous PM the better.

    • nossy says:

      08:54am | 20/03/12

      @ZSRenn are you calling me a Labor stooge ZSR?  hahahh fair go fella the Labor Party couldnt pay me enough to work for them - its Abbott I cant stand - along with the majority of Australian voters!

    • acotrel says:

      09:04am | 20/03/12

      @Blind Freddie
      ‘Critically, Abbott couldn’t even beat Gillard to form a minority government. ‘

      Oh, that is so harsh!  We were not supposed to notice his total lack of negotiating skills !  He’d make a great PM though ! YEAH SURE !!
      How would it be if we let him loose to negotiate with the Indonesians - we might get invaded ?

    • TimB says:

      09:10am | 20/03/12

      @ Nossy, if you’re stupid enough to believe Badger’s lies, then there is no hope for you.

      @ Acotrel

      “He found out he couldn’t ride a motorcycle- the ‘flabby old men’ blew him to the weeds ! “

      That says more about the machine than the ‘flabby old man’ IMO.

      ” I know a fake when I see one ! “

      No you don’t. You loved Rudd until he was dumped and you still love Gillard. You’re incapable of detecting fakes.

      @ Lem- Juggling =/= boxing. Even under the catch-all banner of hand-eye co-ordination. Lots of things require that skill. Being good at one doesn’t make you instantly good at another.

    • Samantha says:

      09:28am | 20/03/12

      Blind Freddy - Selling out your country to form a minority government isn’t an achievement. If you think so, your moral compass does not exist.

    • ZSRenn says:

      09:28am | 20/03/12

      @ nossy. If the cap fits, wear it!

    • GigaStar says:

      10:03am | 20/03/12

      Blind Freddy and Nossy - After the coup the ALP had 55% of the two-party vote in early July and Gillard had a strong lead as preferred prime minister. It took only one month (when the election was held) for them to slide - pretty disastrous. They were a bees-dick away from being voted out of office in their first term. Now we have a government whose precarious standing in parliament tilts their policy agenda in favour of issues that the Greens prioritise. And you both think this is a recipe for greatness? I pity the fool.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      10:23am | 20/03/12


      Given how much of the Labor-Green agenda is being implemented- in very difficult time and circumstances- its a big YES from me.

    • GigaStar says:

      11:03am | 20/03/12

      Blind Freddy - (the name describes you perfectly) - by far the majority of people didn’t vote for the watermelon’s environmental-communist agenda.

      Bob Brown, the same man who drives a car, uses planes, uses a computer and mobile phone wants raw materials companies to be shut down. Bob Brown, the poster boy for environmental fanatism and one world government.

      You can keep him Blind Freddy -

    • AdamC says:

      01:22pm | 20/03/12

      Nossy, TimB and I are not the same person. That is just a silly fancy of the many-pseudonymed Badger. A fancy, I might add, which I find rather amusing. (I think he likes to think he isn’t abnormal by commenting under such a menagerie of noms de plume. But , of course, he is.)

      It is a little sad if you actually believed him, though. Or was it a deadpan joke?

    • userIDtaken says:

      06:34pm | 20/03/12

      320 odd bits of legislation… most of them new taxes!

      Wow, raving success of a government! Even with all their new taxes, they still deliver deficit after deficit. If we had a Labor government of the Hawke-Keating ilk, things would be kind of OK… this lot of campus politic ratbags, though - they really are causing damage. When they’re booted out of office, they’ll have left the country in a worse position than how they found it - utterly disastrous!

    • BillyB says:

      07:26pm | 20/03/12

      don’t believe TimB and his imaginary friend AdamC.

      I have been studying their posting styles and they are identical.
      I suspect TimB invented his little friend so they could share a bucket of KFC and not feel guilty about it.

      I find rather amusing. TimB likes to think he isn’t abnormal by commenting under such a menagerie of noms de plumes such as AdamC, RyaN, JoeyR, etc.  But , of course, he is.

    • Ian1 says:

      07:39pm | 20/03/12

      nossy, what you’ve failed to understand here “of the Liberal Party is up to 46 straight losses with his Censure Motions!” is that by having the record of having initiated those 46, he will be able to rely on his having opposed what they were called for.  Something which, in time, will be revealed to have been the right side of the policy to stand.  Forethought is evidently a problem for this present minority government.

    • iansand says:

      08:51pm | 20/03/12

      Ian1 - That was good.  I have no idea what it means, but it was good.  Are you Abbott’s speechwriter?

    • Nick says:

      06:31am | 20/03/12

      Yes nossy this tax and spend government has just got a new TAX through the senate with the other TAX that will hit all Australians to come.How else is it going to pay for the billions in waste? We should all be so happy.

    • acotrel says:

      06:59am | 20/03/12

      There is still a court decision to be made about whether a ‘price on carbon’ is really a ‘tax’ !  It affects the constitutional aspects of the legislation.  But let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story, the Libs have called it a tax from day one ! ! !

    • Joan says:

      07:04am | 20/03/12

      Nick: You`re right on track.  $2 billion wasted by Labor on consultants since 2008. now reported added to the rest of billions of course. Labor needs to raise taxes to patch up the multibillion dollar big hole they have created in National account.

    • Joan says:

      07:04am | 20/03/12

      Nick: You`re right on track.  $2 billion wasted by Labor on consultants since 2008. now reported added to the rest of billions of course. Labor needs to raise taxes to patch up the multibillion dollar big hole they have created in National account.

    • Joan says:

      07:24am | 20/03/12

      acotrel : call it what you like the Carbon Tax will cost jobs you bet and Australia will be on road to deadbroke., UK- ireland style Uk unemployment at 8.4% and Ireland at 14.2% . Watch Australian house prices crash as unemployent soars.

    • acotrel says:

      07:42am | 20/03/12

      @Joan the biggest threat to our econonmy is the LNP.  During the GFC they whinged about Rudd’s stimulus, and cried out for belt tightening.  In recent times they’ve been ta lking down the economy in a vain a ttempt t o heap shit on the Labor party.  If they manage to destroy business confidence, massive job loss will follow, and the mortgage belt will collapse. Then we’ll all be stuffed !  All for Tony Abbott’s self-aggrandisement !
      What would you personally take responsibility for if that happens ?

    • I hate pies says:

      07:48am | 20/03/12

      Actorel, I can help to clarify. It’s a compulsory charge imposed by the government; therefore it’s a tax.
      You can call it whatever you like, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
      Glad to be of assistance.

    • TimB says:

      07:57am | 20/03/12

      Explained this to Perse yeterday Acotrel. If it walks like a tax and quacks like a tax….

    • james says:

      08:10am | 20/03/12

      But the paid parental levy that Tony wants to introduce is not a great big new tax right?

    • year of the dragon says:

      08:37am | 20/03/12

      james says:09:10am | 20/03/12

      “But the paid parental levy that Tony wants to introduce is not a great big new tax right?”

      Yes it is. I’ve not heard anyone claim otherwise.

      Now, back to the completely unnecessary, tax that Gillard lied about ...

    • Blind Freddy says:

      08:50am | 20/03/12

      @ TimB

      “If it walks like a tax and quacks like a tax…. “

      From where I am it looks more like a levy, and quacks like a levy- I’m calling it a levy.

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      09:07am | 20/03/12

      @ Blind Freddy - you mean like our Goods and Sevices “levy”. Nope it’s a tax no matter how you try do deny it.

      You must be Tax Denialist.

    • Ben C says:

      09:20am | 20/03/12

      @ Blind Freddy

      Call it what you like, it’s still a tax. The Medicare Levy is a tax.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      09:38am | 20/03/12

      At least Labor’s new tax will fund a tax cut for small business, which is good for the economy. There can be no good rationale whatsoever for Tony Abbott’s proposed tax upon 3000 businesses to pay breeders up to $75,000 to sit on their asses for six months. More middle class welfare from Tony Abbott.

    • TimB says:

      10:39am | 20/03/12

      “There can be no good rationale whatsoever for Tony Abbott’s proposed tax upon 3000 businesses to pay breeders up to $75,000 to sit on their asses for six months. More middle class welfare from Tony Abbott. “


      Unfortunately this paticular policy was in response to the ALP’s own ill-advised PPL scheme. Both policies need to be dropped, and the constant 1-upping of each other in the bribe stakes needs to stop too.

    • year of the dragon says:

      10:39am | 20/03/12

      Shane From Melbourne says:10:38am | 20/03/12

      “At least Labor’s new tax will fund a tax cut for small business”

      I don’t recall any tax cut for small businesses. There has been a proposed reduction in the company tax rate, big and small. However, no tax cut has been proposed for any business let alone small business that is not incorporated.

      “There can be no good rationale whatsoever for Tony Abbott’s proposed tax upon 3000 businesses to pay breeders up to $75,000 to sit on their asses for six months. More middle class welfare from Tony Abbott.”

      Presumably you are equally critical of the ALP’s parental leave scheme?

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      10:55am | 20/03/12

      @year of the dragon- paid parental leave is a matter of employment conditions between the employer and the employee. The government should have no part in it. Rudd’s and Abbott’s attempts to impose it upon the workplace should be seen for what it is- blatant attempts to buy women’s votes with more middle class family welfare.

    • Reality Calling the Mindless says:

      11:10am | 20/03/12

      Shane you must have a real chip on your shoulders against middle class welfare recipients. Refugees and health cost the taxpayer more under Labor and yet you don’t have a problem with that. The carbon tax is already promoting unemployment and increase cost of living, you seem fine with that too. I know you love Labor but join the 80% of us that actually live and work in the real world and have real problems!

    • TimB says:

      11:19am | 20/03/12

      @ James, yep.

      If this was truly a free-market style mechanism, they’d let the price set where it will and there would be no floor price. And certainly not one deliberately set far in excess of the world price.

      Such behaviour exposes this policy for the con that it is. Nothing to do with the environment. It’s all about revenue raising.

    • year of the dragon says:

      11:19am | 20/03/12

      Shane From Melbourne says:11:55am | 20/03/12

      “paid parental leave is a matter of employment conditions between the employer and the employee. The government should have no part in it.”

      I agree.

      “Rudd’s and Abbott’s attempts to impose it upon the workplace should be seen for what it is- blatant attempts to buy women’s votes with more middle class family welfare.”

      Agree. So why were you only critical of the opposition rather than the government. It’s a curious approach to criticise only the party with rubbish policy proposals rather than the party in a position to implement rubbish proposals.

      You must also be disappointed in this government’s failure to implement a reduction in tax for small businesses given your own support of such a move.

      I think that you’ll agree that this government is a failure from start to finish.

    • TimB says:

      11:21am | 20/03/12

      “Rudd’s and Abbott’s attempts to impose it upon the workplace should be seen for what it is- blatant attempts to buy women’s votes with more middle class family welfare. “

      Whilst I agree with you, this is not the question that YotD asked you Shane.

      Out of the two parties, only one has *actually* legislated a paid parental leave policy. But strangely you seem to focus the bulk of your attention on the other party.

    • year of the dragon says:

      12:29pm | 20/03/12

      TimB says:12:21pm | 20/03/12

      Now that the contradictions between his logic and beliefs and the party he supports have been revealed, I predict that Shane From Melbourne, like acotrel et al, will go missing.

      From now on his mantra will be “I’m not really sure why but I just don’t like Tony Abbott so I’ll vote for this dreadful government again anyway. Even though they have zero redeeming features, Tony Abbott wears lycra so I just can’t vote for him”.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      01:07pm | 20/03/12

      @year of the dragon, TimB et al. I’m consistently against ALL middle class family welfare which has been the main feature of government policy since John Howard. My view is that welfare should be limited to the pensioners, short term unemployed (kicked off the dole after 1-2 years) and the disabled (which should face annual medical examinations). My other views are the Australia should withdraw from the UNHCR, CER and informal migration arrangement with NZ and limit legal migration to 25,000 per year. The simple fact is that both Labor and Liberal parties are socialist scum who believe in wealth redistribution, just to their respective core constituents.

    • Craig of North Brisbane says:

      01:42pm | 20/03/12

      The LNP astro-turfing squad is out in force today, I see.

    • year of the dragon says:

      03:12pm | 20/03/12

      Craig of North Brisbane says:02:42pm | 20/03/12

      “The LNP astro-turfing squad is out in force today, I see.”

      No Craig, just an increasing tide of people increasingly frustrated and annoyed by a dishonest and incompetent government. Get used to it mate because it’s only going to grow.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      04:41pm | 20/03/12

      @year of dragon- “No Craig, just an increasing tide of people increasingly frustrated and annoyed by a dishonest and incompetent government. Get used to it mate because it’s only going to grow. “

      You got that right- Labor or Liberal Party, not much difference.

    • Daniel says:

      07:22am | 20/03/12

      This garbage will go on. They are more interested in personality them policy these people. The only people getting on with the job are the Australian Greens.

    • Super D says:

      07:54am | 20/03/12

      So true Daniel, the greens are relenteless in their push to destoy our modern society.

    • dovif says:

      08:05am | 20/03/12

      The only people destroying jobs are the Australian Greens and the ALP

      Unemployment will also rise in an ALP government, it has happen to everyone of them for 100 years

    • TimB says:

      08:06am | 20/03/12

      Yeah sure. When they’re not blaming natural disasters on coal miners or calling media inquries because someone called Bob Brown a name.

      The Greens are children.

    • Brenda says:

      08:07am | 20/03/12

      Please.  On 2 November 2001, The Real PM Brown was pleading for freedom of speech. The same man is now pleading the exact opposite.

      Brown 2001:  “We have to be careful in this country not to give up the freedoms we aresupposed to be fighting for”.

      “Foremost amongst those freedoms is freedom of belief and self-expression.

      “If there is disagreement it should be followed by debate, not censorship. This is not the McCarthy era.

      “The right to hold an opinion different to the Prime Minister and Opposition leader, no matter who you are, is a fundamental one.

      “There is a dangerous whiff of censorship in the air,” said Senator Brown.

      This silly man from Tasmania and his extremist friends perform no other function than propping up what is widely accepted as the dysfunctional, incompetent Gillard’s laughing stock government.

    • mikespol says:

      08:13am | 20/03/12

      You’re kidding right? Please tell me that was a joke. The Greens getting on with the job? DId you hear Brown’s rant when corrected on the Constittionality of an amendment he proposed in the Senate. Do you forget SHY’s feeding of questions to the head of an agency? Though maybe this wasn’t a joke. If you think the Greens are a serious party, maybe you have trouble recognising jokes.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      09:00am | 20/03/12

      The immature responses that you got from all of the usual suspects proves your point. The Greens have always been ridiculed and stereo-typed but look at where the influence is now. While you are all congratulating each other on one-up-(wo)manship The Greens are implementing their policies. That’s what politics is. In a very short period of time The Greens have come from nowhere and now have lots of power. Now that is political success. Winning.

      Now don’t get me started on the vote thieves in The National Party . . . .

    • Ben C says:

      11:04am | 20/03/12

      @ Blind Freddy

      “The Greens are implementing their policies.”

      Courtesy of no scrutiny by Labor. What’s the point of Labor putting forward the Prime Minister then if they’re just peddling the policy of a minor party? Why not just hand the Prime Ministership to Bob Brown?

      Or is it because Bob Brown would crack at the first hint of pressure?

    • Matt says:

      07:26am | 20/03/12

      If someone can come up with a way to take the politics out of Government, they will indeed be owed a debt of gratitude by each and every one of us.

      The pettiness from both sides is appalling behaviour.

    • jimbo says:

      07:30am | 20/03/12

      Reading the comments of the usual trolls reminds me of Groundhog Day.  Regardless of the topic it finishes up being the same stuff regurgitated ad infinitum.
      You would think the phychiatric ward would have a tighter control on its computer use.

    • TimB says:

      09:17am | 20/03/12

      Shhh. No-one tell Persephone.

    • Flexo says:

      09:43am | 20/03/12

      Persephone has as much crdibility as any of the other ALP wonder kids. Notice TChong is in hiding mode but acotrel is as much of a DingaLing as ever wink

    • james says:

      09:48am | 20/03/12

      After 3 years is it still a tax when it transitions to an ETS?

    • TimB says:

      10:17am | 20/03/12

      Some ETS. Isn’t that supposed to be a market mechanism?

      You find a cheaper price over in Europe? Too bad. Floor price of $15. With penalties if you dare to sell low.

      Way to embrace the free market Julia.

      So James, to answer your question- As long as the government insists on fixing a floor price, then yes it will still be a tax.

    • james says:

      11:07am | 20/03/12

      So TimB, having a floor price is a bad idea?

    • TimB says:

      12:00pm | 20/03/12

      Oops posted on the wrong post.


      @ James, yep.

      If this was truly a free-market style mechanism, they’d let the price set where it will and there would be no floor price. And certainly not one deliberately set far in excess of the world price.

      Such behaviour exposes this policy for the con that it is. Nothing to do with the environment. It’s all about revenue raising.

    • Eric the Blue says:

      01:29pm | 20/03/12

      Persephone can’t come to terms that the ALP is crap, for her to truly accept that fact would cause some kind of mind/heart breakdown. The ALP have let done the true believers in so many ways. Now they are just clutching at straws for any Labor ‘success’. Pityful indeed.

    • GigaStar says:

      01:37pm | 20/03/12

      james - the price floor is not a good idea. It will only bring economic inefficiency. The losers will be consumers who need to pay more for the products and services because inputs will cost more. Couple that with businesses having to compete with cheaper products on world markets.

      The price should be set by the market but typical socialists want to centrally control prices.

    • james says:

      02:41pm | 20/03/12

      If the government wants to drive innovation and a move to cleaner tech and energy generation then it needs a floor price, whether you agree with it or not.

    • TimB says:

      03:00pm | 20/03/12

      James, no they don’t. Innovation drives itself.

      In the history of humanity, none of our technical advances have come about because governments taxed the competition.

      If the government has to resort to such things it’s because the new technology in question cannot cut it and thus should be abandoned in favour of more efficient technologies.

    • james says:

      03:39pm | 20/03/12

      But Tim, you miss the reason for the need to drive change, 5% reduction in emissions target that both parties have.

    • TimB says:

      05:41pm | 20/03/12

      And there’s ways to do that without a tax.

      Nuclear power for starters.

      Taxing everyoone to death is not a solution. It’s revenue raising.

    • Dr Joe White says:

      07:40am | 20/03/12

      Please stop pretending. We’re actually talking about Thomson here, not the polls or the Opposition per se. As far as most of us can see (on both sides of politics) he has probably been dishonest, working for a dishonest organisation, being investigated by a dishonest authority, protected by a dishonest PM and now he is also being protected by a possibly dishonest doctor. It is sheer nonsense for the boss of the AMA to pretend that doctor’s certificates are sacrosanct, honest and need to be absolutely private (=secret). Here, a dangerous, dishonest government is being protected by a phoney or doubtful diagnosis on a certificate. Thousands of them are churned out recklessly by doctors every week just so they keep their patients happy when they’ve had a” too big” night out or want to take a longer sporting weekend or get compo for a trivial “injury” or avoid some other issue. If their contents are suspect or the diagnosis tricky, surely another doctor can confirm or deny the situation immediately. After 60 years of doctoring, I fear that the Opposition AND the nation are being crapped on by the sneering yelps of Labor-favouring cheats. That’s why parliament has become a brawl. Gillard could fix it today if she were honest.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      08:00am | 20/03/12

      A man is accused of mis-using credit cards paid for by his employers. In this case the those paying for it are all the Members of the Health Services Union. Why is it taking so long to get to the truth of what actually went on? We are told reports have been prepared but deliberately not released.
      If someone in Private, non-politically aligned, Enterprise had been accused of using one of that company’s Credit Cards to hire prostitutes, escorts etc. he/she would have been immediately suspended, the information handed to the Police so they could do the investigations & as a result determine whether or not charges should be laid.
      Why should an MP & his alleged misuse of his employer’s Credit Card be treated any differently?
      The truth is he should not be.
      This man was employed by a politically aligned organisation.
      His employer gives huge amounts of money to the ALP
      He is an ALP MP
      This entire issue has been subjected, possibly illegally, to political interference.
      This nonsense has been going on far too long.
      Credit Card companies keep very detailed, accurate records.
      All the people involved are still alive
      The whole thing should be handed over to the Police. If neccessary the NSW, Victorian & Federal Police Forces.

    • Chris says:

      08:28am | 20/03/12

      I agree in principle - it’s a long winded process and it’s hard to understand why.

      That said - this isn’t an outlier.  Fraud investigations (which is really what this is) take place all the time, and they take AGES.

      Last one I was aware of started in 2007 and is still going to this day - that was a matter involving some allegedly forged signatures.

      The fact that it is taking so long is, to me, an indication that there is some likelihood of a finding against Thomson, and the investigators want to ensure they have their ducks lined up before announcing such a serious issue.

      Wouldn’t want to come out with “he’s guilty as sin” followed 6 months later after destroying his career with “oh sorry - we missed this email which establishes his innocence ‘cause it was in a big bundle that we didn’t read properly”.


    • Tony of Poorakistan says:

      08:01am | 20/03/12

      The present Opposition is showing no mercy now, and nor will the next one 
      The difference being that we will have a fiscally responsible Government after the election.

    • mr g says:

      11:26am | 20/03/12

      Tony says that we will have a fiscally responsible government after the election. Yes, I agree we will, but what if Abbott should win?

    • Eric the Blue says:

      12:43pm | 20/03/12

      What if Abbott should win? Very funny mr g. Only an inbred, drug fueled monkey would believe that Gillard/ALP have a chance in hell of winning the next Federal election. The Annihilation of the ALP might send you into therapy quick smart eh?

    • Chris says:

      08:06am | 20/03/12

      I’m all for “no-holds-barred” in politics.  I think that people should passionately and properly debate their cause, based on information and facts.  They should represent their argument properly.

      What I HATE is that parliament is presently a bunch of school children playing a game of tag.  With our money.

      I HATE political point scoring based on stupid and irrelevant considerations. 

      I HATE watching our so-called leaders (and I don’t call them that) bicker and squabble and make hearty guffaws at pathetic jokes and jibes levelled at each other, with rings of “hear hear” and “boo” passing through the parliament.

      It’s pitiful.  It’s not representative of the calibre of politician we deserve, and I find the fact that I contribute to the wages of people behaving like this to be an abomination.

      Give me robust debate.  Give me facts and figures, positions and genuine passion for what is best for the country and its people.  Don’t give me parlour games played out using the public purse.  Don’t give me politicians who want to buy my vote by promising me stuff. 

      Give me someone who has the guts to take a position, the brains to understand the benefits and weaknesses of that position, and the voice to articulate the position to the people.

      A plague on both their houses.


    • iansand says:

      08:34am | 20/03/12


    • Mouse says:

      10:30am | 20/03/12

      Couldn’t have said it better myself Chris!

    • Chris says:

      08:06am | 20/03/12

      It’s highly likely (almost “bet your dog on it” likely) that a change of government will produce a Parliament in which pairings are irrelevant, independents are impotent and a miscreant like Thomson can be kicked out without the fear of a by-election loss.

    • Chris says:

      08:15am | 20/03/12

      Sorry mate - I must have beat you by somewhere between 1 and 59 seconds.  You need to be “Chris2” or “Another Chris” now…



    • AdamC says:

      08:40am | 20/03/12

      If this government had any integrity, they would stand Craig Thomson down pending the outcome of the investigations currently in train. As I pointed out yesterday, Labor at least used to pretend to care about corruption; I cited the case of Brian Burke as an example of this. In Thomson’s case, the stench is even worse, as the initial explanation he gave for the misuse of union funds was demonsrated to be false. (That is, he lied.) Since then, he hasn’t even denied misusing unions funds (to the best of my knowledge).

      How can the government, in these circumstances, simply stand there and claim any action on their part must wait for the outcome of seismically slow investigations?

      It seems even AFL and NR clubs have higher standards of conduct and integrity than the Australian Parliament under Labor. What an appalling state of affairs.

    • james says:

      10:09am | 20/03/12

      Liberal party hard at work here. Any chance of policy debate you say? NO.

    • Rob Banks says:

      10:42am | 20/03/12

      Are you also suggesting the shoplifting Liberal Party Senator should have been stood down too?

    • Ben C says:

      11:12am | 20/03/12

      The average worker is generally stood down if they are subject to a criminal investigation. Why should it not apply to politicians?

    • AdamC says:

      01:16pm | 20/03/12

      James, I often comment on Labor Party policy. That is not the issue here. All you seem to be able to do is try to dodge the issue.

      Rob Banks, Fisher was not subject to allegations concerning a dishonesty or corruption offence. Also, she was charged and tried. As it stands, Thomson is able to sit in Parliament under the cloud of corruption allegations. Are you suggesting that is acceptable?

    • james says:

      02:07pm | 20/03/12

      Innocent until proven guilty?

    • AdamC says:

      02:57pm | 20/03/12

      James, that is a legal principle applied by Courts. It does not mean you let alleged foxes remain in the henhouse until their foxness is irrefutably established. There is no magic about any of this. Were Labor not relian on Thomson to cling to power, he would have been suspended ages ago.

    • iansand says:

      08:43am | 20/03/12

      Parliamentary behaviour, and the level of debate, declined after the events of 1975.  The decline was permanent.

      I know that this period of minority government has ushered in another decline, and I suspect that this too will be permanent.  I think that the infantile level of political “debate” here and elsewhere are a symptom of the decline.  Mindless repetition of slogans. Irrelevancies inspired by the latest talking points email. Puerile name calling.  That is all “debate” is now.

    • Rob Banks says:

      08:45am | 20/03/12

      I would like to know what the Opposition tactics have actually achieved? For the life of me I can’t see that anything positive has resulted, the government keeps getting bills through both houses. There does seem to a lot of people betting the house on the Coal-ition actually being able to present policies, costed policies, at the next election but in the mean time and I do mean time, they revel in contributing to taking politics into the gutter in a myriad of ways.
      Whatever the result in the case of Craig Thompson it does very little for the quality of parliamentary debate if the Opposition is more focused on being bitchy while other far more important issues are being ignored. It has been rather extraordinary that while the MRRT was about to be passed much of QT was wasted by the Opposition still asking questions about a Carbon Tax bill that had already been passed. It’s very much like having to put up with people who always interject in a conversation with a subject that had been finished 10 minutes ago or yesterday.
      I just hope the Opposition can lift their game, and no more props from the flower pot man.

    • Terry2 says:

      08:45am | 20/03/12

      The liberals now have a real problem: they either go to the election with Abbott and his pledge to repeal the carbon pricing legislation, the means tested Private Healthcare rebate, the MRRT and so on or they renege on these commitments or, more likely, they replace Abbott pre-election.

    • Derek Consadine says:

      09:18am | 20/03/12

      I won’t vote Liberal again. The Liberal party today is a party for the non thinker who thrives on 3 word slogans from their leadership. You don’t have to be smart to be a Liberal today.  It is a party of failed ideas and failed leadership with no hope for the future for anyone. I urge you to vote sensibly and vote Labor. Dont waste a vote on the toxic Liberals. The Liberal Party of today is an absolute disgrace compared to previous times. I and my family have voted Liberal all our lives but never never again. This time I will be voting Labor the only party with progressive ideas and decent leadership.

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      09:31am | 20/03/12

      Why do you constantly cut & paste the same thing all the time?

      I think you may have the same affliction as juliar, completely bereft of any ideas.

      As for stupid 3 word slogans - “we are us”  tops the list.

    • year of the dragon says:

      09:40am | 20/03/12

      A familiar message but yet another different name. Ironic that you should commence this one with a commentary on what it takes to be ‘smart’.

    • Davy Jones says:

      04:57pm | 20/03/12

      When DID you last vote Liberal, Derek? You well know that Labor is protecting its bottom by large pads of gross deception. Is that what you admire? Be gone with you, you pretending turncoat

    • Rosie says:

      09:44am | 20/03/12

      Wow, always a first time! - I actually agree with Mr Farr in writing that Tony Abbott gave an elegant speech during the speeches of condolence for whom I have only come to know and admire as a national treasure since her passing last Saturday. There was a glow in my heart that went with emotional sadness and guilt as I listened and heard for the first time what was said about this great Australian as an individual and not as I had known her to be - the wife of a famous person who happened to be once our PM. I enjoyed immensely the lovely stories told about this great lady and was extremely happy I had tuned in to Question Time! The guilt was not knowing anything about Margaret Whitlam as an individual until after her passing.

      Mr Farr was correct in saying that; “when the speeches finished, so did the decorum, and the rock fight resumed.” Sadly it is the norm these days when discussing politics, there is no civility and in many cases it is better not to say anything. To change the topic of conversation I have heard people that are not interested in politics say there is no point in discussing politics because there is not a bloody thing we can do about it until Elections are held. It is not just Canberra that is looking to score political points, it is everybody that is interested in politics and whether a minority govt is working or not!

      An example of the pettiness and tackiness that we have to endure occurred on Q&A last night. At the end of the show, the host wanted his guests to respond to Tony Abbott’s first comments to the media on the passing of Margaret Whitlam. I heard Abbott’s comments and it was exactly what I had expected a LNP politician to say about the person I got to know because she was the wife of Gough Whitlam, a Labor PM and his departure from being our PM. Like myself I felt Abbott didn’t know Margaret Whitlam that well like those that were honoured to know her personally as an individual and not just married to Gough Whitlam, the Australian PM.

      Perhaps if Tony Jones had watched Question Time and heard the leader of the Opposition’s elegant speech he may have realized that when Abbott used the word ‘consort’ he used it in the spirit it was meant.

    • Rob Banks says:

      11:12am | 20/03/12

      When Abbott speaks he does so to his monarchist mates, to the climate change sceptics, to the xenophobes, to the extreme capitalists, to fellow Christian fundamentalists, he never speaks to moderate Libs or to the rest of the nation. Tony Abbott is no more than a one-eyed limited thinking ape that lacks all grace and eloquence. For him to on the one hand praise Margaret Whitlam then in the same breathe attack her husbands government was tactless and just as tactless as his refusing Malcolm Turnbull attending the funeral of Margaret Olley. Abbott’s use of ‘consort’ merely reflected his outdated mentality, his bent knee before a mythical authority whether it be a Queen or a Pope.  I have never heard a speech from Abbott that even comes close to him having a pleasing manner in the use of the English language, he is more suited to boozey bar room banter designed to appeal the lowest in our society.

    • Rosie says:

      11:59am | 20/03/12

      Thank you Rob Banks - I get your impression of an Australian who just so happens to be the Opposition leader doing a fine job making an incompetent govt accountable for all their misdeeds.

      I loathe having to bring in Mrs Whitlam’s name into your characterization of a fellow Australian but I think Mrs Whitlam would have nicely said to you; “don’t be too harsh on my account.”

    • Flexo says:

      09:47am | 20/03/12

      2012 - ALP ‘achievements’ so far….

      1) Rudd vs Gillard - Immature and stupid in ever way!
      2) Stephen Smith - What a shame to this country!
      3) Refugee situation - Boats are keep on coming, tax mony keep on rolling down the drain!
      4) Queensland ALP on track for record defeat

      Gillard was a crap lawyer and now she is a crap politician screwing this country over.

    • speak 2 us Canberra says:

      10:26am | 20/03/12

      Consort is a word usually used in the context of Royalty - i.e. The King’s Consort.  It’s a bit of an anachronism these days - due to the fact that women - royal or not, demand to be recognised in their own right - and not as someone’s attachment. 
      Maybe we should remind Tony Abbott of that.  Then again, he probably knows and true to form used it deliberately.  Crass knows no boundaries.

    • Rosie says:

      11:46am | 20/03/12

      You obviously had not heard all the stories that have been told about the Whitlams as husband and wife. Their stature and Mr Whitlam’s status when he was our PM was mentioned which told me how much Mr Whitlam adored and had great respect for this woman whom he was lucky to appoint as his wife. I also understood that his wife knew exactly when to remind him of a reality check when she felt the need to so.

      It’s your choice to use the word ‘consort’ in that context but from what I now know Abbott was not familiar with the Mrs Whitlam and used the word in a subtle expression of endearment.

    • ben says:

      11:09am | 20/03/12

      tony abbott is a vile individual who bullies people whose wifes have died, just look at his comments in response to the passing of Wargaret Whitlam or who are sick and dying. I guess he is just upset that no one will miss him or his wife when they die.

    • Rosie says:

      12:30pm | 20/03/12


      What has Tony Abbott, a fellow Australian, who just so happens to be the leader of a political party and in opposition’s wife who is innocent to all this done to you, to deserve your crude remarks?

    • ben says:

      01:03pm | 20/03/12

      what did bernie banton or gough whitlam or margaret whitlam do to tony abbott to desrve his vile abuse. And his wife as a public figure could have and should have repudiated his vile remarks.

    • PittTheYounger says:

      12:06pm | 20/03/12

      Did Acotrel just seriously suggest the man who played rugby for Riverview and Sydney University and won a Blue at Oxford for Rugby and Boxing would ‘start crying the first t ime he gets a dab on the nose’?

    • mr g says:

      01:50pm | 20/03/12

      Pitt, do you think that Abbott would have had the balls to make that remark to Gough or Meg’s face?  And do you think that he would have faced the dead soldier’s family with his cowardly, “Shit happens” comment. And I would check the facts before declaring that he is something of a sportsman. He is not. He is a coward.
      He is too cowardly to admit to Australia that he was the first of the current crop to use the phrase, “Carbon Tax” when he suggested it as the best solution. Now he calls Gillard a liar for bringing something in that is patently not a tax, regardless of what anyone might say.
      While you obviously admire him for some obscure reason, do you find it interesting that there is no record of his lifesaving feats, his fire fighting derring-do, nor his truckdriving expertise. He seems to spend a lot of time trying to prove that he is a man’s man. Why?
      I find him to be an embarrassment each time I hear him speak. Even Hockey, forever nodding in the background shows unease. We nearly got Abbott and Costello. Now we have Big Ears and Noddy.

    • Ben C says:

      02:18pm | 20/03/12

      @ mr g

      Wow, a keyboard warrior calling a public figure a coward, and daring to question his sporting achievements (for the record, Mr Abbott has completed a number of triatholons - don’t know if you could match that).

      How about you say what you have to his face.

    • PittTheYounger says:

      03:15pm | 20/03/12

      @ mr g

      I wouldn’t know where to begin in replying to your ridiculously partisan slander which had nothing to do with the original post but if there were anything which couldn’t be disputed about Tony Abbott it would be his sporting achievements of which you somehow can’t seem or blatantly refuse to recognise, purely out of spite.

    • TimB says:

      05:16pm | 20/03/12

      mr g has to be holden. Has to be. No-one else is that infantile.

    • Ronald Rowlands says:

      12:14pm | 20/03/12

      Those people that blindly just want to get rid of Gillard and don’t think what will happen when Mr NEGATIVITY is handed the job with out earning it . True thinkers want to get rid of Liberal Party ,labor party   and PREFERENTIAL VOTING SYSTEM .
      and Rob banks you hit the nail on the head

    • Cat says:

      02:41pm | 20/03/12

      Labor only has itself to blame for the current problems. It has brought in legislation without a mandate - because it is really run by the Greens.
      The case against Thomson may not be proven but the longer the delay the more the perception that the government is trying to hold the results away from public view.  It should not take questioning to reveal that the HSU situation has been referred to the Tax Office.
      Thomson has been avoiding scrutiny and, while he may well be genuinely ill, the medical certificate is very convenient right now. There is no rule demanding a pair, just a convention which the Opposition will grant in almost every other circumstance - and would grant to Thomson as well if he was in hospital.
      Demanding information about Opposition plans 18mths away from a scheduled election is nonsense - especially when there will be government budgetary figures to take into consideration.
      This sort of pro-Labor column does not help. Nothing can alter the fact that the government is on the nose and would, if an election was held (as it should be), be trounced.

    • Seamus says:

      03:42pm | 20/03/12

      Germain Greer has the red head’s measure.

    • Utopia boy says:

      05:21pm | 20/03/12

      Problem with pollies these days, is there’s not a real orator among them!
      Please can we have back Malcom, Paul, Bob and even Little Johnny??
      Crikey, even listening to the lispy mutterings of Alexander would be a pleasant change.

    • James O says:

      07:12pm | 20/03/12

      There is a perceptible change in the air and it is not the chill of Autumn , Labor is breaking loose from the the negative torments of past follies and finding new grounds to renew the faith with their traditional voters. Contrary to the less than optimistic views of some commentators Gillard has quietly snubbed Abbotts onslaught and advanced accross the political chess board quite nicely. The reality is that it matters not who you have to deal with providing the end result remains in your favour while at the same time managing to highlight the deficiences of your opponent, this is a lesson that Tony Abbott has failed to learn. In fairness to Abbott he now has few weapons left to retain his credibility with the public other than maintaining his strong opposition to Labor policy, with Rudd removed public opinion will soon tire of repetitive slogans and colourless media appearances with little encouraging to say. It is just the way that fate can play it’s tricks that memory can be short indeed and if Gillard maintains her record of passing policies through the Parliament her success will deflate a somewhat flat LNP even further. Abbott cannot reverse his critical stance, to do so would expose the
      short term strategy that he is using as a short sighted mistake, Abbott had gambled on a failure of the Labor Greens alliance and a backdown by one or more of the independents to push Labor into an early election but now that Labor is looking increasingly more comfortable to safely ignore the poliical jibes Abbott himself could find that hill to the top steaper to climb and his leadership gasping for air.


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