Tony Abbott’s initial explanation for dumping his parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi was revealing for how far it did not go.
“I was concerned about what Cory said in the Senate last night and then when he compounded that by going unnecessarily on to radio this morning to repeat the matter, I swiftly concluded that that was one mistake too many,’’ he said.
It suggested Bernardi’s bestiality reference was not so much wrong in principle as in quantity. Further, it revealed that the outspoken South Australian would have survived had he not gone on radio – especially as sworn enemy Christopher Pyne was already on air on that station doing his regular Wednesday morning spot.
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Fear can be a powerful motivator but it eventually wanes, unless you can find a new bogeyman.
Take Australia’s retail sector, where it is fast becoming clear that we have a case of too many shops and not enough customers.
Despite our solid growth, there’s been a structural shift in behaviour away from debt-fuelled demand towards frugalism. The change has exposed a lot of small and medium businesses and if RBA Governor Glenn Stevens is right, the old days will not be back.
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Back in 2001, on the Nine Network’s now defunct Sunday program, Tony Abbott invented a new word. Roonism. The then Industrial Relations Minister was complaining about the relentless negativity of the Labor opposition under Kim Beazley.
“One of the real problems we have at the moment is roonism,” Abbott said. “As in ‘We’ll all be rooned’ said Hanrahan.” This was a reference to an Australian bush poem in which pessimistic farmers constantly predict disaster no matter how good conditions are.
Roonism, Abbott explained, “is a kind of a mutant sibling of the tall poppy syndrome, and it’s poisoning our public life at the moment and it risks doing damage to the economy. “And of course, the chief economic ghoul literally praying for bad news is Kim Beazley. The champagne corks pop in Kim Beazley’s office every time someone gets into trouble.”
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Rudd thinks Federal politics is “childish” and has become worse over the past decade.
Sorry - not that Rudd, who frankly we’re all sick of hearing about - but his brother Greg, who is now a business consultant.
Don’t expect him to provide any behind-the-scenes revelations from Camp Rudd over the past few weeks - he hasn’t actually spoken to Kevin since May last year, saying they “agree to disagree” in many areas. But he does have a background which qualifies him to speak with some authority on political machinations at the federal level.
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The Opposition’s constant nagging of Julia Gillard about her personal integrity was hugely successful over the past 12 months but it is starting to outlive its function.
It’s crowding out Opposition responses to other issues and beginning to be a problem for the Coalition, not an asset.
At some stage Tony Abbott has to mount a credible case for superior economic policy and the more he demands a snap election the more voters will demand to see the goods.
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Call me brave, or even stupid, but after David Penberthy’s piece last week, I’ve decided to launch a defence of NSW Labor leader John Robertson on The Punch. I expect pundits are already commenting below, calling me a union hack – or worse – as often occurs when I contribute to this site.
One of the reasons I feel compelled to launch this defence is because I find it curious that we endlessly search for people with convictions in politics, but end up bagging a bloke who was willing to stand up for his convictions.
Unpopular as it appears to the Labor elite, his convictions were shared by the majority of people in the community and by the workers that he was paid to represent.
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Amid the furore of Cyclone Yasi, it largely escaped comment that Tony Abbott had begun a slow crab-walk away from his trademark “just say no’’ approach.
In fact twice this week, he went all bi-partisan on us. Well, bi-partisan for him anyway.
First he proposed sitting down with Julia Gillard to work through possible budget savings to be made in lieu of her proposed $1.8 billion flood levy. Then within days, he went further pledging to support Ms Gillard’s moves to get the long-term jobless, under-employed casuals, and people with disabilities, off welfare and into the full-time workforce.
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So having 50,000 volts of electricity shot through your body might not be as embarrassing as say, sniffing a colleague’s chair, or being outed as having carried a teddy bear around in your uni days, but it’s pretty stupid.
And it makes you wonder what we’ve done to deserve politicians who think we’re so easily bought with cheap stunts.
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