Running for Governor of Arkansas in 1982, Bill Clinton had some folksy words to reassure voters he had learned from the mistakes of his disastrous first term which had seen him booted out after only two years.
“When I was a boy growing up,’’ Clinton said, ”my daddy never had to whip me twice for the same thing.’‘
If only one could be sure the same were true of some of the current crop federal Liberal MPs. But alas when it comes to industrial relations - their party’s Achilles’ heel - some of them want to make Captain & Tennille’s “Do That To Me One More Time’’ this year’s campaign song.
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President Barack Obama’s speech to the Australian Parliament, like those of his predecessors, was indeed an historic occasion.
Amidst the hype and ceremony, I can’t help but wonder if a couple of Labor Ministers didn’t squirm a little in their seats as the President reminded us: “We seek trade that is free and fair. And we seek an open international economic system, where rules are clear and every nation plays by them.”
In a reference to the G20 and the World Trade Organisation, which just days earlier had welcomed Russia to its ranks, the President stressed: “We need growth that is fair, where every nation plays by the rules – where workers’ rights are respected and our businesses can compete on a level playing field… so no nation has an unfair advantage.”
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Tony Abbott’s left-wing instincts are destroying the economic credibility of the Liberal Party.
Although he’s an effective opposition leader, it’s important to ask what sort of economic agenda Abbott will pursue as Prime Minister, apart from repealing the carbon and mining taxes. It’s becoming increasingly clear that it won’t be liberal.
To the extent it’s possible to decipher Abbott’s economic philosophy - his book Battlelines and the Budget Reply speech certainly provide little assistance - it would be democratic socialism. It’s a political ideology that sees the government playing a major role in the economy and is a far cry from the free-market liberalism normally associated with the Liberal Party.
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Yet another study has found evidence linking conservative thinking to fear, and small ‘l’ liberalism to openness.
University College London researchers considered previous research that found “conservatives are more sensitive to threat or anxiety in the face of uncertainty, while liberals tend to be more open to new experiences”.
They decided to look at the brain’s structure to see whether this was reflected physically, and found it was - people who identify as liberal have larger anterior cingulate cortexes while conservatives have larger amygdalas, which is exactly what I always say.
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Arriving at the Randwick Labor Club for Saturday night’s ALP election function, the staff at the desk were joking about having voted Liberal. This was obviously going to be a bad night for the Labor Party.
Like residents waiting for a massive cyclone, the Labor faithful knew when it was coming and where from; the only thing for it now was to buckle down together and wait. Needless to say, it was weird.
One benefit of this particular bunker was the open bar, which was probably the most useful bit of campaign spending the NSW ALP had made in the last six weeks.
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The season’s latest campaign ads follow the same old tired plot of black and white attack hysteria, gloomy (or comical) music and an authoritative male voiceover reviling the failings of a tired old Government.
The latest from the NSW Liberals opens with a black and white scene of our lead character (the embattled NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally) admitting her failing only to be ear ambushed with a chorus of our ad’s tag line “same old Labor, same old tricks”. But we’re not left wondering for long what the plot is.
Our storyline of the sorry tale of NSW Labor’s leadership’s mistakes and failures becomes glaring apparent with the TV interview vox pops of our supporting characters Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees. And in case we didn’t get the ad’s message, we’re treated to a catchy jingle of “same old Labor, same old failure” on nauseous rhyming repeat.
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UPDATE 4.40pm: Barnaby Joyce has just put out his first press release as Shadow Finance Minister. You can read the full text after the jump - believe me, it’s worth it.
Tony Abbott has just announced quite an extensive reshuffle of his front bench, which, incidentally, rewarded a raft of Punch contributors including Scott Morrison, Bronwyn Bishop and Kevin Andrews with promotions.
You can read Sam Maiden’s news report of his press conference here. (The best line related to The Punch’s own Bronwyn Bishop, who’s been appointed Shadow Minister for Seniors - as Mr Abbott said: “She will be one of them” as well as representing them.)
But the biggest move was the appointment of Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce as Shadow Finance Minister. “Barnaby is an accountant from St George. He knows what it’s like to ensure the books are in order,” Mr Abbott said.
We’d thought we’d re-introduce you to some of the world according to Barnaby, as posted on The Punch, starting with this line from his debut:
What is it that differentiates the political parties? Or is philosophy now no more than a bib handed out to be worn before the political chamber game, a contrived or acquired vocal tribalism?
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Tony Abbott may have emerged victorious from the Liberal party room today. And in doing so taken a large majority of the nation by surprise.
But it’s definitely going to be hard to forget his foray onto a Sydney beach last weekend. And you know, those Speedos.
So as his first act as leader The Punch would like to suggest the new Opposition Leader try these boardshorts as an alternative to his swimming attire this summer.
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Can anyone help me out? I’m looking for the fat bloke in braces who was meant to be running the country after Labor got elected.
Surely you’ve seen him, the Union Boss who was meant to be terrorising the nation’s taffeta dress shops. Maybe he is hiding in an ante-room off the PM’s office.
There’s nothing like a healthy dose of reality to blunt most political scare campaigns, but even by the Punch’s Scary Creatures Benchmark (PSCB*), the Liberals effort at the least election was up the with the best of them.
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