Leaf-blowers are often thought of as the bane of the suburbs but harried voters can take some comfort from the fact that even the mighty can be shouted down by these infernal devices.

What was that Joe? We can't hear you… Picture: Gary Ramage

In what some might unkindly dub, ``the battle of the blow-hards,’’ Opposition economic spokesman, Joe Hockey has used the Parliament to complain that he can’t be heard when on the ``blower,’’ because of well, another blower nearby.

Perhaps it’s best if he be allowed to speak for himself:

Mr Speaker, I am reluctant to raise this, but I have raised this matter previously with Parliament House departmental officials. Early in the morning on sitting days there is a tendency for lawnmowers and air blowers to be used outside offices during radio interviews. On one occasion I actually had to stop the interview, I know it is hard to believe, Mr Speaker until the noise had passed.

Given that there is a considerable amount of time when parliament is not sitting and that we do not sit on Fridays I, again, request that we do not have the extraordinary noise from lawnmowers and various other machinery being used outside our office windows between 7 am and 9 am.

So there it is and what a blow.

Even with all the sound and fury generated by politicians, it seems those inside the Canberra bubble still think there’s too much outside to compete with.

Mind you, the affable Mr Hockey, whose opponents occasionally decry as a windbag, is just lucky he was not in Canberra on Friday last when five Blackhawk helicopters repeatedly performed a security training drill.

The mind-numbingly loud procedure saw the massively noisy machines hovering just metres above the Senate and House of Representative chambers several times.

Get under one of them Joe and you know about it - that’s a wind that really blows hard.

Still, you have to have security these days just as you probably have to sweep up leaves. It’s the other blow-hards we’re more inclined to have mixed feelings about.

Just kidding Joe.

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    • Jane Wallace says:

      06:43pm | 15/11/10

      I thought canberra was full of Bast - hards rather than Blow Hards

    • Pete says:

      10:16am | 16/11/10

      No, only two chambers on Capital Hill

    • iansand says:

      06:43pm | 15/11/10

      Dear Joe

      You represent the people.  Get over yourself.

      Best regards

      iansand (Constituent)(that means I am in your electorate)

    • TimB says:

      07:13pm | 15/11/10

      iansand, by your own admission, you don’t vote.

      Do you really think you’re entitled to tell Joe what to do?

    • iansand says:

      06:04am | 16/11/10

      Oh dear Timmy.  I don’t vote for the majors.  Do try to keep up.

    • iansand says:

      09:57am | 16/11/10

      TimB - When did you get your sensayoomarectomy?  That saying is an ancient political joke.  It’s no wonder you are such a rabid supporter of Abbott.

      But thanks for the laugh.

      And in North Sydney I’m pretty sure we don’t go to preferences.

    • TimB says:

      12:37pm | 16/11/10

      Sorry Iansand, perhaps it’s due to the relatively short number of years I’ve graced the world with my presence (26). Or the even shorter number of years I’ve actually been paying close attention to politics (4). But your joke wasn’t something I was familiar with.

      Also your preferences should still indicate which side you lean towards regardless if they’re used or not. But we’re long past the point where I feel the need for you to confirm that little bit of info.

    • Robert Smissen, rural SA, God's own country says:

      10:52pm | 16/11/10

      Yeah but I think it’s a safe bet that you didn’t vote for him. Or for anyone else for that matter

    • nosthow says:

      06:51pm | 15/11/10

      Great photo Mark with your article - 3 of the biggest blow hards in politics today - Abbott, Truss and Hockey - the magnificent 3 of hot air ! Combined this amazing threesome have delivered to their partys absolutely zero. Abbott took his party from Opposition to - oh yeah Opposition, Hockey was $12 billion out in his election spending budget and poor old Trussey is about 10 years late for retirement. Top class blow hards !

    • Karen Kelly says:

      07:30pm | 15/11/10

      What a Croc’o’——and then some! As the Prime Minister and her fromt benchers made clear in question time today - Joe never bothered “blowing up” on the banks and the “role of the government’s financial services minister when he was in office. Only once he came to occupy the benches of opposition for a second term, he is blowing up all over the parliament on matters.”
      This is yet another ‘look at me’ indulgence from this blow-hard minister. Pathetic!

    • Bruce says:

      04:00pm | 16/11/10

      KK. That was the only come back the PM had was to compare the past with the problems of today, which are obviously very different. For that fact what did the labor party do or say about the banks when they were in opposition, NOT TO MUCH. I would suggest many in the labor party are shareholders in the banks.

    • Biteme says:

      07:31pm | 15/11/10

      This bank issue is pretty big around the people I talk to. This weekend we had a family reunion with 130 relatives, and there was much talk about banks. Even my customers always talking about the banks too. Many people think only the Greens will take them on. Most people reckon the banks will just give lip service to the government. And what really needs to happen is a multi-pillar banking system with many banks and building societies given the same Tax payer guarantees. Banks need competition and lots of it. And the ACCC needs a boss that is from small business and not a mega wealthy ex banker with huge amounts invested with big business. Cutting exit fees is just a smoke screen. The best way to get a fair deal is when there are many many people who want/need your business.

    • Gladys says:

      07:42pm | 15/11/10

      Joe is onto something. I first despised leaf blowers in the high allergy season of Sydney. They are a useless creation merely moving tree trash from one place to another.

      My neighbor uses a leaf blower and the leaves end up in my yard. So I get his noise and his trash.

      Anyone who calls themselves an environmentalist would agree. Leaf blowers a a waste of time effort and petrol.

    • eddie says:

      04:22am | 16/11/10

      Gee , that’s tragic for you, Gladys. We should start an appeal or something.

      How about this: ‘Brooms are a useless creation, merely moving rubbish from one point to another. And leaf blowers are available to do it faster. I mean, using a broom when there are blowers available is like walking everwhere instead of driving - good exercise, but who has the time?’

    • eddie says:

      04:23am | 16/11/10

      Gee , that’s tragic for you, Gladys. We should start an appeal or something.

      How about this: ‘Brooms are a useless creation, merely moving rubbish from one point to another. And leaf blowers are available to do it faster. I mean, using a broom when there are blowers available is like walking everwhere instead of driving - good exercise, but who has the time?’

    • Biteme says:

      07:42pm | 15/11/10

      I was watching Millionaire with Eddy Maguire the other night, and he had this woman on who said her job was a “media analysist” for the Government.  When she elaborated we discovered her job is to spend all day listening to radio programs to see what’s being said about her Government Minister. I mean can this be true? And what kind of salary are we paying for this to go on?

    • iansand says:

      06:07am | 16/11/10

      I have been in the PMs office during the Howard years.  The most striking thing about it was the number of TVs tuned to every news broadcast.  I doubt it has changed.

    • acotrel says:

      07:58am | 16/11/10

      I hope that’s the truth.  I often get on talk-back radio and comment on various issues.  Nice to think my opinions are taken on board! It’s what’s known as participation.

    • Robert Smissen, rural SA, God's own country says:

      10:56pm | 16/11/10

      MEdia Monitors does it. Watch the nameplates on the mikes when pollies are being interviewed

    • MarK says:

      10:32pm | 15/11/10

      Gawd…slow news day huh.

      What a /facepalm

    • Roz says:

      10:59pm | 15/11/10

      To state the obvious - those in parliament are there to represent us all, regardless of whether we vote for them, vote for someone else, or don’t vote at all.  For example, children don’t vote, yet we expect their interests to be represented. Also, those in jail… Those who are living in Australia but whom are not citenz.  Many people don’t vote yet they have a right to expect to be represented. iansand is entitled to make his comment. Wonder why TimB thinks he is more entitled to tell iansand what to do? How about we all respect freedom of speech and allow others the same entitlements we expect to exercise ourselves?

    • TimB says:

      08:17am | 16/11/10

      Can’t see where I told iansand to do anything. Just asked his opinion on his own attitude.

      It has since been made apparent to me that iansand does in fact vote (despite saying otherwise on a prior occasion).

      Nevertheless I am of the opinion that someone that someone who chooses   not to engage in the political process, shouldn’t really be complaining about what happens as a result.
      The groups you list haven’t chosen not to participate, they’re simply prevented from doing so, so your comparison falls down.

    • iansand says:

      10:05am | 16/11/10

      Oh dear TimB - I engage in the political process.  Anyone who comes here regularly would be reasonably sure that I have quite strong opinions.  But that engagement has led to a deep seated disgust with the way politics is played by the major parties in Australia.

      One of my major points of disillusion is the way fear has supplanted rational argument as the preferred method of voter manipulation.  Unfortunately your side are the side that plays this game most, so a lot of my comments are against the Liberals.  That does not mean I do not despair about Labor’s focus group paralysis and their choice to follow rather than lead.

      Oh - see my response to your other comment, supra.

    • TimB says:

      12:06pm | 16/11/10

      Iansand I’ve already pointed out that this was written before you explained your contradictory posts.

      My point still stands as it relates to anyone who chooses not to vote, if not you specifically.

    • iansand says:

      12:38pm | 16/11/10

      TimB - Try to make your point without taking cheap shots at individuals.  That way the individual is less likely to demonstrate that you are a joke short of an anthology.

    • TimB says:

      01:15pm | 16/11/10

      What cheap shot?

      It was aimed at you originally as I was under the impression (fostered by you) that you don’t vote. If that impression had held to be true, I’d still be standing by what I said.

      Now, I stand by what I said in a general sense in so much as it applies to anyone who doesn’t vote. Even if you no longer appear to fall into that category.

    • Robert Smissen, rural SA, God's own country says:

      10:58pm | 16/11/10

      Roz, iansand NEVER gets lost because someone is always willing to tell him where to go

    • acotrel says:

      06:43am | 16/11/10

      Is a blowhard the same thing as a wind bag? I suggest Joe is full of something totally different!

    • youdy beaudy says:

      06:50am | 16/11/10

      They’re always up to something those blokes there and I reckon Joe would look better if cooked in a Hangi with an apple in his mouth. Where are all those Kiwis when we need them.! And the other two are just a waste of fresh air.

    • acotrel says:

      08:16am | 16/11/10

      I don’t wish harm to befall any Lib politician.  Without them, what would I do for entertainment in the morning with this forum and the talk-back radio on the ABC available to me?

    • watty says:

      07:14am | 16/11/10

      Get under one of them Joe and you know about it - that’s a wind that really blows hard.

      Or have a cup of coffee with Kenny…a renowned windbag in the Canberra Prerss Gallery

    • mickey says:

      07:18am | 16/11/10

      If it gets back….you said it first Mr.Kenny

    • TrueOz says:

      08:03am | 16/11/10

      Thanks for the heads up Mark! I’d always wondered about that strong wind that almost knocks you over when you hop of the ‘plane in Canberra - now I know what’s causing it.

    • Aitch B says:

      08:13am | 16/11/10

      Why blow when you can suck and mulch? My gizmo does both!

    • Observer says:

      09:07am | 16/11/10

      Your gizmo makes noise and thats why it sucks. But he’s not worried about mulching, but about noise. Actually,it may be a better idea to have all the leaf blowers turned on between 7 am and 9 AM. Most pollies have no idea and we come out more confused after listening to their hot air.
      The results are the same. We may as well punish them for their impertinence

    • Davida says:

      09:01am | 16/11/10

      Taxpayers of Australia, shame on us.  I cannot believe we demand this poor man work in such inhumane conditions.  All offices in Parliament House should immediately be sound-proofed.  Hell, we should pick up the bill and perhaps even consider paying compensation.  Stop being greedy and demanding funding for stupidities like hospitals and roads.

    • Pete says:

      10:14am | 16/11/10

      how about we sound proof the whole building?  Then the rest of us could have a quiet peaceful life.

    • Steve says:

      02:50pm | 16/11/10

      Why stop at the sound proofing lets remove the phones, the computers and any other communication devices. Then lock all the doors and the windows from the outside so they can’t get out Then we will all be happier.

    • Feralman says:

      07:15pm | 16/11/10

      @Steve, it’s called a detention centre.

    • James Hunter says:

      03:18pm | 16/11/10

      Save money and have Joe go out and blow the leaves away. That way he would only anoy himself and be doing something useful as well ?


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