Archive for July, 2013

July 9, 2013

Why I see joining the Liberal party as a feminist act – GUEST POST

This guest post by Diane Murphy is posted to show what alternative views there are out there. Thank You Diane
Australian democracy is the chickens voting which fox will guard the hen-house.

The Left wing are arguing over who will be the boss chicken, while the Liberal party are deploying foxes to the hen houses. I’d rather be a fox than chicken.

That sounds rather cynical and mercenary. It probably is. However, if we are going to have an austerity government under Abbott, I won’t go quietly. I will do whatever it takes to protect my family. If the Left would rather fight about the colour of the ties, they aren’t fighting for our future or our communities. The best protection won’t come from a Labor party at war with itself, and it won’t come from a Greens party who refuse do anything unless it is perfect for everyone, meaning nothing ever gets done.

People may read that and accuse me of collaboration, or disunity, or abandoning the Left or being a traitor. The reality is I’m Scared! I’m scared of an austerity that bites hard, long cold hungry winters, austerity suicides that are happening in parts of Europe, and the echos of fascism creeping into policy, shutting down access to information, limiting free speech, restrictions on free travel, privatising profits and socialising losses of taxpayer assets. If it comes down to a choice between feeding my family and upholding some mythical left-wing ideals where everyone looks after each other – I choose my family.

I watched the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who I campaigned for, cross the floor with a look of what might have been smug pride as she voted NO on the issue of marriage equality.

I knew at that moment, this Prime Minister did not represent me, and would rather capitulate to unions to maintain power than fight for the rights of all Australians. It is the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employee’s Union (SDA), who stage witch-hunt to ferret out any possible gay or marriage equality supporting shop stewards, Joe Bullock who got the top spot on the WA senate ticket for the ALP ahead of Louise Pratt. Bullock, a man who is anti-choice and anti-marriage equality, got the Number 1 position over a sitting senator, where was the “Captains pick” or intervention for Pratt that Penny Wong received when she was relegated to Number 2.

Someone who votes to deny a huge section of our society access to rights that ex-Prime Minister takes for granted as having access to, is not what feminism means to me.

At least Kevin Rudd is man enough to know that his marriage is not threatened by ending the exclusion of certain adults from marriage.

I watched a party I campaigned for condemn single parents, the vast majority women, to a life of poverty, and when you are that far down as single parents raising a family on New Start most of them are probably never going to rise to upper middle class. Also, taking time out to raise a family will affect their superannuation when they reach retirement age, all those productive years where the fathers of those children are adding to their super, and the primary care parent sees their economic situation go backwards.

Makes all the rhetoric coming from Labor MPs about looking after “working families” a sick joke. Working families – except for retired older Australians, single parent families, unemployed trying hard to retrain, or even a happily involved gay couple who are prevented from making official their family with a marriage certificate.

I have watched a government I’ve voted for passed hundreds of bills in three years of minority government condemn boat refugees to hell on earth behind the razor wire, as a compassionate refugee policy was one that the ALP just couldn’t find the numbers (or willingness) to pass. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

Tony Abbott’s mantra of “turn back the boats” is no more compassionate than anything enacted under this current Labor government, but if he takes the keys to the Lodge in September, he knows he won’t be turning any boats around. Tony Abbott knows that is just a slogan, and it works, because the Labor government has failed to give voters any reason to not be afraid of boat people. People are worried about their jobs, and get condemned as racist, rather than exploring the reason why people are worried.

The last week in Federal Parliament saw valedictory speeches from Judi Moylan and Mal Washer, the conscience of the Liberal party not recontesting their seats, leaving the attack dogs and misogynists and Tea Party to fill the void.

The last week of Federal Parliament also saw the first female Prime Minister dumped and replaced by the man who had been white-anting her for three long years. This has already been covered by many fine political commentators, Give PM Julia Gillard credit where credit is due, is just one well-worth clicking example, this issue doesn’t need rehashing here.

This would be the least likely time that an educated, left-leaning feminist would be filling in forms to join the Liberal Party.

The last week also saw something inspirational in the Senate. During a debate on a “back door” plan to get marriage equality into Australia, the Queensland senator Sue Boyce crossed the floor. Part of her speech in the led up to that moment, she said:

I am pleased that I have the option within the Liberal Party to exercise a free vote, an option that, I would point out, is not available to those in the Labor Party or the Greens unless a conscience vote is agreed to by the party. Within the Liberal Party, one always has the option of exercising a free vote. If we are to vote on this legislation, I will be voting for this bill, because I think it advances the cause of same-sex marriage in Australia.
Thursday, 20 June 2013

This past couple of weeks not only saw the dumping of the Prime Minister, but the events that led up to that, the accusations of starting a gender war for daring to mention abortion, the Convoy Of Cleavage and Menugate. In a discussion with my sister Jo, I said that other countries are having mass demonstrations for food, jobs, public transport, public parks and hospitals, Brazil, Greece, Turkey, Bangladesh, and we are a nation that talks about ties and cleavage (meaning we are so prosperous, our people aren’t taking to the streets to protest for food, health, jobs). Jo said she would write about it. I warned her, if she wrote even slightly negatively about Convoy Of Cleavage she would accused of fascism by feminists claiming she is victimising them (by being mobbed and trolled and abused by people calling themselves feminist), she will be accused of lacking humour (by people who over react whenever Tony Abbott says his gaffes are just jokes that got lost in translation), she will be accused of disunity (achieved by rounding up their clique and trolling her blog). Guess what? Exactly that happened. Dissenting voices and differences of opinion are drowned out by sheer numbers of trolls one can round-up.

While feminists were attacking anyone who stepped out of line regarding the Convoy of Cleavage, the men of the Labor party were drawing up their plans to knife the first female Prime Minister. Tell me who was distracted by pointless stunts, it wasn’t Tony Abbott, a common criticism directed to the Leader of the Coalition. And yet to disagree with these left-wing feminist was met with hysterical wailing that they were being victimised.

There is nothing empowering about the constant cries of “I’m a victim”. To spend your life claiming to be a victim of everyone who disagrees with you is infantising. It removes your power to act on your own, you are a victim of someone else’s actions. Right-wing women don’t do that, they know they have power, independent of how others behave, and they use it.

There is nothing empowering about the herd mentality of the Left that crushes or crusades against someone who disagrees with you, but good on you for taking the time out of fighting the Right-wing neo-conservatives pushing for austerity to troll little blogs, Liberation Achieved!

The group think of the Left, where you are as entitled to your opinion as the next person, as long as it is the same as the next person. Just do not goosestep out of line or the leader of the herd will claim you are victimising her, you are attacking her rights to her opinion.

What makes a bigger statement about freedom and empowerment – Sue Boyce crossing the floor or trolling the blog of someone who you disagree with and then bragging about it to your clique as “Just commented, and that really WAS a criminal waste of my precious time. Off to bake for the kids.”

One is childish, one is empowering.

I think Boyce wins.

The Left is currently in the grip of a mania for unity, the destabilising by Rudd, encouraged / caused by the media has demonstrated the old saying “disunity is death”, especially in the face of a united Right, who know that they can put aside their differences and unite behind a leader, at least until the election is over.

The group-think, herd mentality of the Left, which needs consensus to prove it is united, results in the Left seeking and destroying any dissenting opinion which deviates from either the most charismatic, or who ever has the numbers, or the lowest common denominator, not the fairest or the best, as Mike Carlton (hero or villain of the Left, depending on the content of his latest column) says: Amazed at the number of people who think I should not have an opinion unless it agrees with theirs.

The path a left-wing feminist walks is even more precarious than a left-wing non-feminist. She must conform to feminism and conform to the Left wing, and if the ongoing saga of Rudd V Gillard has shown us, sometimes those two things are not compatible, especially with the gay-hating, abortion-opposing blokey culture of the union movement.

However, the Left does not own feminism. A women at any place in the political spectrum can identify as feminist. Although I suspect when women of the Right call themselves “feminist” is it usually to define themselves against something the Left has done. If the Left calls out some behaviour, for example sexist menus, women of the Right will challenge that with “I’m a feminist, and I don’t feel like a victim of menus”. If a female supported Kevin Rudd in the caucus ballot that toppled PM Gillard, female Liberal senators will get hysterical that they “betrayed the sisterhood”, women aren’t supposed to do anything on their own, apparently, unless all women are brought down to the same level or they are betraying (this idea infects feminist critics on the Left and the Right).

Women of the Right are less likely to identify with feminism for several reasons:

a) they see any success of theirs is not due to collective consciousness, whether feminism or unionist, but down to their own hard work, talent and making their own luck (taking advantage of / exploiting a situation),

b) they don’t see themselves the same as other women, they are exceptional, the Right doesn’t need quotas, all the Right-wing women in Parliament are there because they are not like other women, they are exceptionally talented, they are special, they are elite,

c) they don’t seen any special bonds of sisterhood with other women (why should they, they are better than mere other women), they don’t see the glass ceiling as needing to be cracked, they have found a trap door and locking it behind them once they have climbed the ladder, (it is why women of the Right will use other terms instead of feminist while preaching the same principles eg, Sarah Palin’s “Mama Grizzly’s”),

d) they talk about feminism as a way of silencing the opposition, if they claim to speak from a feminist position, it muddies the water and weakens the Left’s position of working to raise the standard of living and ensure the Rights of all women, not just a select few,
it is also a way of making the interests of the select few seem like it benefits the interests of the many (Nannys for CEOs, allows women of calibre to breed, how can that not be feminist? all you minimum wage, working class women complaining about your tax dollars going to women on incomes over $75,000 – you mean, you hate feminism?),

e), the Right sees the way to achieve success is to keep everyone else down, only one person can stand on the top of the mountain, it will be them, and standing on the bones of their rivals, they can climb even higher, it is about success of the individual, and there can only be one winner,
the Left tend to see success as a plateau, and while someone else is downtrodden and enduring poverty we are not a successful society, and you achieve success by raising the plateau, not by pushing someone else down.

A rising tide lifts all boats, a phrase popularised by Bill Clinton to increase the standard of living for all, has been adopted recently by parts of the Right to mean the success of the few will eventually rise the tide for those living in poverty. It is a deliberate misinterpreting of ‘tickle down’ economics. We are all the boats, but in Tony Abbott world, Gina Rinehart is the tide who will lift us all out of poverty with $2 a day wages.

As the feminist Naomi Wolf has pointed out, the Right are just as feminist, if not more, than the Left:

Because feminism in the 1960’s and 1970’s was articulated via the institutions of the left – in Britain, it was often allied with the labor movement, and in America, it was reborn in conjunction with the emergence of the New Left – there is an assumption that feminism itself must be leftist. In fact, feminism is philosophically as much in harmony with conservative, and especially libertarian, values – and in some ways even more so.

The core of feminism is individual choice and freedom, and it is these strains that are being sounded now more by the Tea Party movement than by the left. But, apart from these sound bites, there is a powerful constituency of right-wing women in Britain and Western Europe, as well as in America, who do not see their values reflected in collectivist social-policy prescriptions or gender quotas. They prefer what they see as the rugged individualism of free-market forces, a level capitalist playing field, and a weak state that does not impinge on their personal choices.

Many of these women are socially conservative, strongly supportive of the armed forces, and religious – and yet they crave equality as strongly as any leftist vegetarian in Birkenstocks. It is blindness to this perfectly legitimate approach to feminism that keeps tripping up commentators who wish to dismiss women like Margaret Thatcher, or Muslim women, or now right-wing US women leaders, as somehow not being the “real thing.”

Read more here

Maybe the Right don’t clamour for labels such as feminist or sisterhood, but they don’t feel the need to try to squash everyone in the same box and label it feminist either, they just get on with exercising their own personal power over their lives. While the Right is dominating the media, business, industry, the narrative and the context, building a war chest to fight the election, the Left is corralling people who don’t share the sense of humour in a little box, labelled traitor.

The same tactics misogynists used to bring down PM Gillard are now being used by Left-wing feminists to criticise anyone who supports Prime Minister Rudd. It is apparently disunited to not support the Prime Minister. If that is what left-wing feminism is, I want no part of it, do I have to unquestioningly support everything women do in order to protect myself from being trolled, bullied, abused, accused by those calling themselves feminist? It would seem so. Do I have to promote your cause, while you ignore mine or the Prime Minister I support, in order to not be accused of being divisive? Apparently. This is not feminism. This is fascism.

I don’t want to spend my life like these women crying “I’m a victim of your fascism” if someone disagrees with me, I don’t want to roll over and play dead to keep up the pretense that we are a united community, we are not, I’m a left leaning feminist who would rather advance in her career and look after her family and serve her community (geographic not ideological) than to submit to people who abuse others in the name of feminism. I don’t want to spend my time trolling and abusing in the name of freedom. I just want to get on with living my life in the way I want, as long as it harms no one else – and isn’t that what feminism is about?

The Liberal party is the party of the individual, they don’t force others to conform or attack them because they think differently, they are a celebration of entrepreneurs and success, they don’t play the victim, they just get on with getting things done.

“The West Wing: The Portland Trip
Congressman Skinner: You know I never understood why you gun control people don’t all join the NRA. They’ve got two million members. You bring three million to the next meeting, call a vote. All those in favor of tossing guns… bam! Move on.
Josh Lyman: It’s a heck of a strategy, Matt. I’ll bring that up at a meeting.

I don’t believe I would be holding the Liberal party accountable, nor do I think I would be making myself any less of a target come the Austerity Revolution.

if we are on the Titanic, I chose to be selfish in first class, and look after my family, than fight it out in steerage once all the lifeboats are gone, and the call goes up “every man for himself”. Currently the Left are arguing about the colour of ties, the gender of the Prime Minister, who held the knife, and what colour the exit signs are, and were the life-jackets ethically made by non-sweatshop labour, meanwhile, the country is drowning.

That is how I see the next three years under an Abbott austerity-government. Brutal and harsh. My best chance is to join the Liberal party.

Maybe our democracy is the chickens voting for which fox guards the hen-house, however, the song Cows With Guns by Dana Lyons, ending with the cows being rescued by Chickens In Choppers.

Diane Murphy, independent blogger

July 7, 2013

Tony Abbott, I want money, I want lots of money, Just give me money

I want money, I want lots of money, In fact I want so much money
Give me your money, Just give me money

Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford

What does the biggest story in the country today look like in the Mainstream Media (MSM)?

It is non existent.

What does the biggest story in the country today look like on social media?

It looks like a thoroughly investigated exploration of Tony Abbott being forced to pay back taxpayers after using our money for his private money making adventures, promoting his book Battlelines.


Journalist Margo Kingston has done the investigation for No Fibs, and the Australian media has ignored this story completely.

This is just one more example of the disconnect between what the MSM is ramming down our throats, and what the people are clamouring to read. The biggest story on the No Fibs website, is barely a ripple in the MSM pond.

The silence in the MSM over anything to do with Tony Abbott and his Liberal Party, including the lack of examination of Coalition policies, this close to an election, is bizarre. Especially considering the frenzied media obsession with the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and every aspect of her life (shoes, jackets, earlobes, private life, 20 year old work history, friends, parents, hobbies, dog; anything and everything to avoid talking about her governments policies, legislation, and AAA economy).

The book is Battlelines, the “author” Tony Abbott, and he flew around the country promoting the book, raking in the profits, and changing the Australian taxpayers to fund his promotional tour.

The amount in question is just under $10,000. Compare this to former Speaker, Peter Slipper, who has been hounded by the Federal Police for under $1000 for visiting a winery on a Cabcharge voucher.

In a No Fibs exclusive: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book. Here is a very small extract:

EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book

By Margo Kingston
6 July, 2013

The Opposition leader, Mr Abbott, was forced to repay taxpayers nearly $9,400 after receiving travel expenses to promote his book Battlelines in 2009.

The repayment occurred after Mr Abbott publicly denied the allegation through a spokesman, who stated:

“All travel undertaken by Mr Abbott has been within the entitlement. This is a blatant attempt by Labor to smear and mislead.”

To read the full article: No Fibs: EXCLUSIVE: Abbott forced to repay $9,400 he charged taxpayers to promote his book

Forced. Does this suggest Tony Abbott would not have repay taxpayers otherwise?

What Tony Abbott really needs to understand is: the taxpayers of this country aren’t his personal ATM.

The Flying Lizards: Money (That’s What I Want)

July 4, 2013

6 Reasons Tony Abbott must debate PM Rudd, and soon

1 Tony Abbott needs to take the chance and go all in

Tony Abbott must see his opportunity of being PM rests in this election, if the Federal Coalition lose, the chance is he will be replace, possibly by Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull or a fresh face, such as Alex Hawke. Abbott needs to take the risk, it’s now or never. Abbott needs to see off, not just PM Rudd, but any possible challengers from his side. If Kevin Rudd’s return to the top job sees ALP resurgent in the polls, Abbott might feel he won’t get to the Lodge this Christmas, and has to take risk.

Abbott has embarked on a five-year campaign to get into the Lodge “by Christmas”. Abbott spent the past three years waging war against the hung parliament – the AWU non scandal, Peter Slipper nearly hounded from Parliament by the man who was guest of honour at Slipper’s wedding, Craig Thomson was targetted (a move which Bronwyn Bishop admitted was only because of the hung parliament), the two NSW Independents and their families were put through a barrage of hate from the Right wing, media, voters and politicians, the Ashby failed coup d’état. The daily sexism and misogyny against the sitting prime minister, Julia Gillard. It’s was a nasty, vicious, unhealthy, level of hate and attack that must be hard to sustain for anyone who isn’t a soulless sociopath.

Not only is Abbott putting his challengers and the Government under pressure, he is also under pressure, too much more and Australia might witness the Great Unhinging.

2 If the debate is a disaster, there is still time to recover

If Tony Abbott fails dismally, his team have time to spin it before the election. Move on, claim there was only ever going to be one debate.

If the debate is close, however, Abbott might take a lesson from Barack Obama’s book, and use a bad first debate to his advantage.
During the 2012 election, Obama and his republican opponent, Mitt Romney, had three debates. Obama was flat the first time out. Romney was belligerent, overstepped time limits, talked over the moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS (all things that would appeal to Republican voters). The second debate could be seen as even. The third debate, Obama wiped the floor with Romney, he got in his jokes, knew his facts and figures, was at ease with the “town hall” audience, even the moderator, Candy Crowley was fact-checking Romney, during the debate.

Obama’s bad start to the debates actually worked to his advantage, by improving, he gained the momentum, where as his opponent was seen as losing momentum, and people love a winner who can come from behind. Some people questioned whether Obama tanked the first debate to be seen as the improving candidate and Romney failing.

A close debate gives Abbott room to improve. Maybe he doesn’t have the skills to think on his feet that Rudd does, or the ability to retain facts and figures in his head, or anything much more than three-word slogans, with the media on your side, even a close debate can read “Abbott winner” on the front page of the Australian the following day.

3 No matter how bad the debate is for Abbott, the MS Media will cover for Abbott

Voters might want a debate, but most people demanding debates probably wouldn’t watch them. Abbott can agree to a debate in the middle of the day, on a weekday, and with the media, particularly News Limited2, on Abbott’s side, the only thing that will make the 6PM news bulletins and next day papers will be the highlights for Abbott and lowlights for PM Rudd. This means another opportunity to get Liberal party slogans on air and focusing on the smallest Rudd mis-step.

A close debate, the media will spin it for Abbott, a bad debate and the media will tear apart PM Rudd. Abbott can’t lose.

It has never been a factor for voters how mendacious, obfuscating, ignorant, or sloganeering Abbott is, or the deliberate his misinterpretation of important policies (all positives in the eyes of conservative voters), the people still love Tony Abbott. A debate won’t change that, and his has yet another platform to appear Presidential, or Prime Ministerial if he mentions other strong performers in his Shadowy Cabinet.

4 Abbott needs to go head to head with Rudd to differentiate himself from PM Rudd

Abbott’s biggest weapon in the past three years has been the gender card (a gender card is not like a credit card, women don’t get to pull it out when they want something, it’s more like a red card or yellow card in football, something used against you). Without gender being a factor, Abbott needs a new strategy to distinguish himself from the other blue-tie wearing, white, christian, married with children, male.

Kevin Rudd is seen by some as too friendly with the Opposition, and some see PM Rudd as converging his policies with the Right, Abbott needs to do something to show he is different, otherwise, come election day, voters may think, why change government, we have already gone through one change, we don’t need another so soon.

5 Abbott needs to go soon, before PM Rudd really warm up to being back

PM Gillard was fighting on three fronts – the Opposition, the media, and Kevin Rudd. Without a Rudd destabilising the sitting PM, and a media attempting to bring down a Prime Minister and/or government3, Abbott won’t find it so easy as he has previously, Abbott needs to go to a debate soon, before Rudd settles in and warms up.

This will provide Abbott the opportunity for a second debate, after the honeymoon is over and Rudd starts to cool down, after voters remember all the reasons they cool down on Rudd the first time. A second debate with a cooling PM will give Abbott the momentum, bring it home strong as they election nears.

And 6 The people want it

Abbott will be seen as a coward if he doesn’t, although the ALP may be too polite to use any failure to debate against him in an election campaign.

1 During Electoral Matters (Inquiry into the AEC Analysis of the FWA report on the HSU) Fri, 06 Jul 2012, Bishop said the Liberals were going after Craig Thomson because of the hung parliament “we didn’t have a Thomson before and we didn’t have a government relying on his vote”

2 As ABC’s Tony Jones asked one Liberal MP “Does it help when Rupert Murdoch is on your side?”
Q & A, ABC, Mon 01 Jul 2013

3 Justice Rares in Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia found:
“Mr Ashby’s references to “empowering others”, and “national decisions”, were concerned solely with the political consequences of what Mr Ashby was contemplating. Those consequences could affect the balance of power in the House of Representatives, depending on whether Mr Slipper could remain as Speaker if Mr Ashby used his “power” and what effect that use would have. That was because the Government did not have a majority in the House and was reliant on cross bench support, assisted by Mr Slipper”
Source: here:

July 1, 2013

PM Gillard is gone, PM Rudd is here, what now? let’s stop President Abbott

Hurt, angry about ex-PM Gillard? Feel betrayed by PM Rudd? How does “President Abbott” sound? Both Rudd and Abbott are moving us to a US-American style of political campaigning and it was an obsession with presidential-style popularity polls which justified the knifing of our first female Prime Minister, and not the policies or legislation the Gillard Government passed. It’s happened, can’t change it, so where to now?

First is the Grieving or Celebrating

I’ll never vote ALP again. I feel betrayed. I am furious. I’m grieving.
These are just some of the comments I’ve seen and heard since PM Gillard was knifed.

Move on. We have to unite. Rudd is our best hope, our only hope.
I’ve seen people spend more time talking about how their football team lost and have been allowed to vent and rage for longer following a mid-season defeat than what Left wing supporters have been allowed to talk about what happened without someone telling them to “move on, unite behind Rudd”.

You’re hurt, you think Kevin Rudd is a traitor? What can we do? analyse it, cancel our political party memberships if we are in the ALP, start recruiting if we are in the Greens, maybe tear down, undermine, white-ant Rudd, send the ALP to the wilderness, perhaps. Or we could fight Tony Abbott and his conservatives regardless of who is the Prime Minister.

On the other hand, maybe you’re celebrating, and the people who are grieving see that as gloating, or rewarding a white-anter who betrayed his party. Now is not the time for “I told you so”, save that for after the election.

Is it true that Bill Shorten encouraged PM Gillard to spill then afterwards withdrew support? Is it true that the two Labor MP packing up their office, as breathlessly reported by Latika Bourke, was part of a Team Rudd stunt to undermine PM Gillard? Is it true the plot was hatched, days or even weeks before the Wednesday spill?, as Stephen Smith said the day after the spill “I am great mates with Albo. I said to him the other day, ‘Albo, if you become Deputy Prime Minister, I’ll be able to call you both leader and deputy at the same time”1 (surely he meant to say, last night, not the other day).

In the end, does it matter? While PM Gillard supporters were taking selfies of their cleavage, the men and women of the Labor party were plotting the downfall of the Prime Minister. The analysis of the hows and the whys, what we think and how we feel won’t change what happened.

Politicians will always play politics, it’s what they do, it’s how they got where they are. Getting angry at politicians for acting like politicians seems a waste of energy.

Believing what a politician says is like playing poker with a backbencher. When you finally get a royal flush, he jabs you with a sharp stick.

Abbott tries to Americanise (Americanize) our politics

Tony Abbott promised back in october “The next election campaign will be the filthiest and the most personal in living memory.”2

He has made it a contest between leaders, based on popularity, he has had numerous campaign rallies, called for the direct election of the Prime Minister, dragged his wife and smiley children into the picture, as if he was Mitt Romney, he has fought on Tea Party style issues, and put religion of candidates centre stage.

This past weekend we witnessed a most US-American style election campaign rally from the Liberal party (pictured). Complete with bored people in the background who tick all the demographic boxes, Hillsong style theme songs and speeches that wouldn’t be out of place in any Hauptstraße.

Abbott’s repeated claims about the people choose the Prime Minister3 – not in this country we don’t, it’s a little thing known as the Westminster System, maybe he is confused about the differences between a president and a prime minister. Perhaps someone can tell Tony Abbott what it is or read the Wikipedia page to him. (link Wikipedia: Westminster System)

This is deliberate misinformation, people don’t choose, the people never choose, and for Abbott to campaign for three years that the voters should be angry because Prime Minister Gillard wasn’t chosen by the people conveniently skips the 2010 election, where Ms Gillard was the prime minister. Notice how many times the media talks about a Rudd-government or Gillard-government, instead of ALP-government.

This is part of the dumbing down of our political understanding. It is easier to talk about personalities and popularity of leaders, because to say you “don’t like” someone takes a lot less brain cells than understanding and evaluating their policies. It is easier to reduce politics to 3-word slogans and tell people they are supposed to feel fear of refugees, betrayed because they were ‘lied’ to and scared of a great big new tax, than talk about legislation and policy detail.

Fixed election dates, so we can spend three years campaigning, rather than governing for two and half then campaigning in the last few weeks. Makes it a bit difficult to be screaming hysterically for “Election Now!” at the same time stamping your feet and demanding fixed terms, hey, Mr Abbott?

What’s Next?

If we have learned anything from The West Wing, besides Martin Sheen was a better fictional president than real life George W ever was, it is: no matter how bad or how good things get in politics, you move on, you deal with what you have to, then say ‘what’s next?’

Pres Jed Bartlett (The West Wing) “When I ask ‘What’s Next?’ it means I’m ready to move on to other things. So, what’s next?

We can’t turn back the clock – though Abbott would like to, and maybe some of the grief people are feeling is not just because it happened, but because in the end, it did a make a difference, in the polls. So, until we invent a DeLorean time machine, what’s next?

If Abbott wants nasty personal US-style campaigning, maybe the Left should also look to the US and see what we like and borrow from them. As Leon C. Megginson says:

“According to Darwin’s Origin of Species, it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species… that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”

You wanted it Abbott, you wanted it Rudd, maybe its time for those of us whose politics goes beyond parroting Alan Jones and doing the Sausage Sizzle Shuffle once ever three years to get our names marked off to take political campaigning to a different level.

If the Liberal Nationals switch to US style presidential election campaigning, they will have the upper hand – they have the media on their side, they have the financial backers, they have the lobbyists, and they have a energise base.

Fight On Issues
With Kevin Rudd and his “normal” family, as one commentator said, back in Boganville (his private nickname for the Lodge), I have seen and heard a lot of despair, particularly from women whose interest in federal politics was piqued by Julia Gillard. I say, Don’t give up.

If the party you love thinks the way it can win is by converging its policies with the Right, and you think you can no longer campaign for them, raise funds, donate time, make calls for them, do you abandon them, or do you let them know you are not happy with them trying to be Liberal-lite.

If you feel you can longer support the party, chose a cause you believe in, whether women’s rights, worker’s rights, human rights, environmental rights, and find a candidate that supports those, and fight for those individual candidates. Lobby groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby, (which could be just a handful of gay hating men in their mothers spare bedroom), have enormous sway over the political landscape, because they fight on single issues, and the never stop fighting. Groups such as Emilys List, or Get Up, bypass the party machine, and a look at their websites will let you know the candidates they support rather than an entire party, or the causes they are mobilising for.

If the party moves to the right in a chase for votes and sells our its core principles, make every issue a battle ground, the most engaged wins, the Left can do that. The Left are very good at fighting on behalf of others and the disadvantage, the Right are good at fighting for their own self-interest.

There are lobby groups, community organisations, online and real world networks, grassroots campaigns, not just one, but as many as your time, energy, finances, and interest can sustain. Volunteer or be a financial member, donate your time if you are skilled, form your own lobby groups to fight for a small local issue and learn activism and lobbying skills from the ground up. A change of prime minister shouldn’t mean a mass exodus of engaged and informed voters.

Citizen Journalism
Journalist Margo Kingston of No Fibs, and others like her, are reinvigorating political reporting with citizen journalism. The mainstream media has made itself redundant with endlessly repetitive opinion pieces and vested interests, the 5th estate bloggers and website owners is filling the gap.

Whatever your cause or candidate, the mainstream media probably won’t be reporting favourably unless it is in their financial interests to do so. If you can’t maintain your own blog, join with a bunch of friends, and report from your electorate, or on your cause, or promote your candidate.

I have seen a lot of engagement with politics, particularly federal, over the past few years, it would a shame if a change in leader ended that. If we want something, its time to show our elected leaders we are engaged, not just hope our politicians do the right thing, and complain afterwards, remind them that while voting is compulsory, voting for them is optional, and we are not going to go away.

If you live in a safe electorate, and feel you can’t make a difference, fight to make it marginal. Your vote won’t be taken for granted. Live in a very safe seat, choose a seat where you feel you can difference, and fight for those issues or that candidate.


Fundraising, which is where the Liberals have it over the Left. They have the almost unlimited resources of the major miners and big business. That have people lining up to attend intimate dinners for 20 at $1000 a plate.

Can’t afford $1000, and don’t want to reward Kevin Rudd and don’t want to join the Greens, but still don’t want Abbott to be PM. Support causes, candidates and lobby groups, instead of (or as well as) parties.

Host your own fund-raiser, get your friends together, have a meal, a chat and everyone puts in an amount for your chosen candidate. Obama showed that you $1000 a plate dinners, or millionaire casino magnates stumping up the multi-millions. The Obama campaign brought in lots of small donations rather than a few very large ones.

Maybe we no longer have a female prime minister, that doesn’t mean misogyny and sexism will go away. The same week that PM Gillard became ex PM Gillard, the world watched Wendy Davis, in pink tennis shoes and white suit stand up for over 13 hours in the fight for women’s right, supported by male and female colleagues.

Julia Gillard was accused of misandry for daring to mention abortion. Meanwhile NSW has Zoe’s Law a bill that would grant greater legal protection to a foetus (“a ‘child’ in utero”), and John Madigan in the federal senate is an anti-abortionist Democratic Labor Party (DLP). It might be time for all of us to put on our pink tennis shoes and stand up for what we believe in, fight and campaign on individual issues, remind the people we vote for why we vote for them.

If PM Gillard showed us anything it’s that the gender card is not like a credit card, women don’t get to pull it out when they want something, it’s more like a red card or yellow card in football, it’s used against you, if you step out of boundaries. It’s Time to lace up our pink tennis shoes and start stepping over the boundaries.

As Tony Windsor is fond of saying The world is run by those who turn up, he has a point. It’s not an Australian Idol system of choosing governments, yet. The winner isn’t decided by whichever candidate has the most votes from the home viewer.

Too bad it’s not Survivor, there are a few Liberals I wish I could vote off the island.

No, I am not telling anyone what to do, this is all just my opinion, which I am entitled to as anyone else. If you disagree, that is your right.
People who are politically active may find nothing of interest in this post, it is written in response to people who say ‘now that Julia Gillard is gone, how can I vote for Rudd and his team of backstabbers’. Easy, find another way to channel that energy.

1 Stephen Smith in his valedictory speech, 27/06/13 Hansard

2“The next election campaign will be…” Lateline 18-10-2012

3 Hansard: 27/06/13 Tony Abbott “Why should the Australian people accept that their right to choose their Prime Minister has been usurped by faceless men for the second time in just three years?”

3 Hansard: 26/06/13 Tony Abbott “It is time the people of Australia were allowed to choose their Prime Minister.”

3 Hansard: 21/03/13 Tony Abbott “I think it is time to give the people a chance to choose the Prime Minister and to choose the government. On the 50th anniversary of the faceless men being shown in a photograph in the Daily Telegraph, I say: let’s get rid of the faceless men. Let’s have a new Prime Minister and a new government.”