Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Facing up to Howards legacy

Posted by Possum Comitatus on November 26, 2007

It’s a tough choice for the top job of the Chief Eater of the shit sandwich, and that’s exactly what being the first Opposition leader of a routed government is all about.

For the next 3 years, as every misdemeanour or gross political felony that the previous government committed is thrown back in their face, when every dirty little policy secret or suppressed statistic is released into a hungry news cycle, the next leader has to sit there and go “Mmmmm Hmmm – tastes like chicken“.

It doesn’t matter what opposition leaders say for the first term – no one listens to them anyway. The only reason people know that opposition leaders exist in their first stint out of government is because they just happen to be the poor Shmo’s that become the target of a new government’s political retribution.

Now honestly – who can see Malcolm Turnbull sitting there sucking that up?

Brand Turnbull would be forever tainted if he gets the job now – it is truly surprising that he wants it at all, and Turnbull hasn’t exactly demonstrated the deft hand of political nuance lately. But so saying, I wouldn’t be the first possum to grossly underestimate the power of Mal Turbull’s ego. He might not have been around to participate in the events of the past that will inevitably produce grief for the future for the Coalition, but when the details of those events re-emerge as ammunition for a Rudd government’s partisan avengement, odium sticks – vicariously if need be.

However, the role of the next leader of the Liberal Party will not only be to chow down on that foul smelling sanger, but to stop the party from turning into a perpetually unelectable, sectarian rabble – leading by example, holding back the ideologically narrow forces of the religious right, opening up the party as the broad church it once was and maintaining at least some semblance of modernity and moderation. In this requirement, Turnbull is more suited than any other contender.

On the other hand we have the Tony Abbott – a man well practiced in dining on the odd faecal focaccia of late. He could not only take whatever the ALP serves up, but ask for more without blinking – the quirks of a Jesuit background rising to the fore. Yet Abbott is almost uniquely unsuitable for not only confronting, but overcoming the forces of ultra-conservatism that threaten the long term electoral viability of the Coalition. In many respects, his actions and history are part of the very problem.

The Liberal Party faces a tough choice for the top job, for the two main contenders each have only half of what the party requires in its next leader. If they choose Abbott, they at least have the option of electing The Google Assassin Andrew Robb as deputy and letting him undertake the role of the internal policeman; he knows the party inside out and knows where the bodies are buried – but no deputy leader can be the public face of a Rudd government’s sustained opprobrium that will have evidence to spare.

That is the leader’s privilege and the leaders alone. If they choose Malcolm Turnbull and he is not up to that job, will the Liberals destroy their best long term candidate to lead them out of the wilderness, simply as a result of expediency and a powerful lack of alternatives?

The other great problem with the leadership of the Liberal Party can be summed up with some tacky West Wing wisdom; “A leader without followers is just a man taking a walk“. If Abbott or Turnbull capture the leadership, will anyone actually follow them?

The consequences of Howards reign over the Liberal Party are only now starting to be revealed as the protective shield of government has been stripped away, exposing a cancerous organisation bereft of direction, devoid of true leadership, and completely incapable of withstanding the rigours of opposition and political life without the levers of power to protect them.

This is Howards true legacy, the legacy for which he will be remembered for a very long time.

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167 Responses to “Facing up to Howards legacy”

  1. kwoff.com said

    Facing up to Howards legacy « Possums Pollytics

    t’s a tough choice for the top job of the Chief Eater of the shit sandwich, and that’s exactly what being the first Opposition leader of a routed government is all about.

    For the next 3 years, as every misdemeanour or gross political felony that t…

  2. Kamatsu said

    Poss, this isn’t entirely correct. Howard’s legacy is that of not changing the Liberal party. The entire party was and is prepared to unite behind any leader, provided they look like winning. Otherwise they go on a merry-go-round of leaders due to factional disputes a la Hawke/Keating era.

    All Howard’s done is kept a cap on these disputes while leader because he was winning, and, now that he’s gone along with his successor, the Liberal party returns back to factional squabbling.

  3. drew said

    Maybe Turnbull thinks he can shift the paradigm? Bring on the schism with the Alex Hawke KKK? Shortcut the years of infighting bring do the bloodletting straight away.
    Maybe he’ll lead the pink liberals off on their own.

  4. rabitoh said

    That is hilarious. Possum – that is some of the most incisive, razor sharp – and accurate – writing you’ll NEVER read in the MSM. I hope to God you hold out against the mainstream offers that are no doubt going to come your if way (if they haven’t started already).

    Possum, one thought I had today that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned much around the traps, but still seems technically within the realms of possibility: that after a suitable cooling off period on the backbenches enjoying the spectacle that will be his party disintegrating under a ‘shmo’ leader, that Costello could still be drafted – begged – back to the leadership, say a year out from the next election.

    It’s stretch, I know, but what are the odds?

  5. Greeensborough Growler said

    Now that Nelson has thrown his hat onto the barbecue, the three way contest is fairly clear. Nelson will win because Abbott will play kingmaker and deliver the poisoned chalice of leadership. This will be for a price, treachery (sorry Treasury), IR or the like. The right wing troglodytes are beaten but not defeated. They are not enamoured with the prospect of repudiating the rodents fine work of the last decade.

    If Nelson does not work out, they might throw to vaudeville with Turnbull in 2010.

  6. bsquaredinoz said

    Perhaps Malcolm is only doing this for show. In reality he doesn’t have the numbers but he has to look like he genuinely wanted to save the party. In reality he’ll step in after the Libs lose the 2010 election (which they almost certainly will) and rescue the party after Blandon Nelson has led the troops around in circles for three years

  7. Hamster said

    Rabitoh @ #4

    That astute reader of the electorate pulse, Dr Hewson, has put forward just such a scenario here…


  8. drew said

    Malcolm’s the perfect man to manage the demerger of the flat-earth and latte divisions within the Liberals.

    Lattes would make off with all the patronage while the neanderthal’s could fight over the best sticks in the cave.

    If Green agenda really takes off then a latte liberal party would be well-positioned.

  9. imacca said

    Ok, was wondering how it would go but now that Nelsons thrown in for it, the silly boy will get it.

    He’ll be backed, via Abbot, by the nutters on the right.

    If this happens they can kiss 2010 good bye in terms of being competitive. There only chance of that is really to put Turnbull in now, AND SUPPORT HIM to reform the party, particularly in NSW.

    Looks like they really dont want to see the reasons they have lost. Its more than “its time” guys. You did some really dickhead things in office and as soon as there was a viable alternative you are gone.

    I really hope that Rudd and the ALP will learn from Rattus’s mistakes, and that Rudd will leave the top job when he’s doing well, and while there is a depth of talent in the party underneath him to take over. Howard has left the Libs a shell with no soul, no head, and no direction.

  10. Facing up to Howards legacy

    Possum Comitatus has a good analysis of the Liberal party’s rock and a hard place leadership problem

  11. Big Tofu said

    I just caught the “reflection on Howard” on the 7:30 Report. I keep forgetting the poisonous dwarf has disappeared. He’s been a part of the background, and the foreground too, for so damn long, it still hasn’t sunk in that he’s finally out of here.

    His legacy? Probably a lot of pissed off, now relieved ex-pats like me!

    And Downer on 7:30 reminding everyone how many years he’d been Australia’s foreign minister, that he’d been there longest of all. Won’t be very long and we’ll be saying …”Oh THAT Downer. What was it they called him again? ‘The bastard son of the landed aristocracy’ or something”.

    Bitter? I’m not bitter. Well all right, I am a bit.

  12. Styx said

    The history of an Opposition Leader elected immediately after the party loses an election is not an envious one. I was listening to Philip Adams discussion with Christen Kerr and Laura Tingle, in which Kerr said that he had spoken to an historian today (didn’t say who) and both were scratching their heads to come up with anyone at federal or state level that had lead their party to victory (Bob Carr maybe?) at a subsequent election.

    I think you either have to be a masochist (Abbott?) or have delusions of grandeur (Turnbull?)

  13. rabitoh said

    Thanks Hamster – that’s pretty much the scenario I was thinking.

    BTW, was the bit about Hewson being an “astute reader of the electorate pulse” meant in an ironic sense? 🙂

  14. meher baba said


    What I find extraordinary about your above discussion is that, in suggesting Andrew Robb as Tony Abbott’s offsider, you are proposing an all-Catholic Federal leadership team in the party founded by the sectarian Bob Menzies (at the founding conference of which, John Cramer was famously the only Catholic among over 100 delegates).

    Moreover, the other two leadership contenders have Catholic associations: Malcolm Turnbull is a convert to Catholicism and Brendan Nelson was brought up as a Catholic (although, having been divorced twice, I’m not sure that he retains any standing in the faith).

    Of course, in the New South Wales Parliament, there has been a seemingly never-ending supply of Catholic Liberal leaders: Rizzoli, Greiner, Collins, Fahey, Chikarovski, Brogden, O’Farrell (and I’ve probably missed some).

    When you think about it, it’s an amazing turn of events in the evolution of Australian politics. As a growing number of Catholics in Australia have gained positions of wealth and privilege, so too have they become more prepared to embrace the tenets of “economic conservativism” (to coin a phrase). Add to this the inherent social conservatism of most practising Catholics and you can begin to understand the growing affinity between the wealthier Catholics and the policies of the Liberal Party under Howard.

    But I think it’s also the source of a major problem for the Libs, in that the bulk of the Australian population is no longer socially conservative and struggles to relate to the world view of a Tony Abbott (and, indeed, it is surely extremely difficult for anyone to understand how Abbott can be simultaneously a devout Catholic and a committed monarchist: he certainly is a curious case).

    We certainly are in an era in which the old certainties of the left-right divide in Australian politics are disappearing at a rapid rate.

  15. netvegetable said

    Kimbo didn’t do to badly as Opp leader immediately after ’96. His party actually got a slender majority of the 2PP vote in the 1996 election. I am still convinced, to this day, that if not for 3000 being killed in New York, and John Howard’s subsequent opportunity to declare war before calling the election … that he would have been Prime Minister in 2001.

    Now Simon Crean, who came in after Beazo, sure got a kicking.

  16. Do you want fries with that…?

  17. True Believer said

    Styx @ 12: Peter Beattie is a rare example of a leader elected after a loss of government who came back to win the next election (with the support of an independent). Of course, it could be argued that the Borbidge government was the aberration, and Qld politics in the 90’s was certainly tumultuous, so the example may not be a good one. Nevertheless, the libs sure don’t have a Beattie waiting in the wings.

  18. PASOK said

    Oh dear…

    When asked by Tony Jones on Lateline if they would block the abolition of WorkChoices, Helen Coonan just said the Senate isn’t a rubber stamp for government legislation.

    So what kind of review have you been giving to the government’s legislation over the past 30 months?

    What a moron. Pyne wasn’t much better: the voters didn’t reject us or our policies! Every interview they give, they just add another year to the length of Kevin’s Ruddolution.

    In fact he’s been out there campaigning for 2011 already. Notice he was at school today. Those kids will be of voting age by the time he’s up again. Pure Genius: lock up the youth vote even more.

    I’ve read on the site that some think that the Tory’s next PM is not even in parliament yet. I’d go so far as to say that their next PM is not even in private school yet. This is so much fun to watch in a sadistic way.

    Looking more like Kevin27 every day.

  19. Kirribilli Removals said

    Howard’s lot is not a happy one: killed the thing he professed to love. Necrophilia comes to mind, but let’s not go there.

    As to leadership, well it’s now pretty plain that Costello was Howard’s ‘beard’, a ruse, a pretend heir, the heir you have when you aren’t having a bar of one, a Clayton’s heir. For all of the last 13 years, Howard has had Costello’s balls in a jar on his desk, and only under the impending head-on collision with Kevin Rudd did Howard ever begrudgingly offer to give them back. But hey, he wasn’t ever going to give Costello his testicles back, and so we’ve seen the great castrasto of the Liberal party sing his final aria and piss off stage right, to the alluring tune of the cash register.

    Which raises some very interesting questions about what really happened in the APEC faux putsch, to which, let’s remember, Costello was not invited. How then do you go to the cabinet for a straw poll on whether the old man has totally lost it, agree that he has, and then go to Howard and ask for Costello’s balls back? Downer told Red Kezza tonight that Costello never really had the numbers.

    Intriging question coming up: so who did? If Downer is telling it correctly, and Costello NEVER had the numbers, then who did they offer up as heir? Yep, Johnny, we’ve decided you should go, take Cossie’s balls with you, but we don’t know who will replace you?

    Nup, it was NEVER Cossie, (Bridesmaid Regurgitated). So who?

    If you’ve been following the bouncing ball, it leads right back to the guy who was always Johnny’s ‘mate’, his defender, his confidant, his gopher, and his numbers ‘man’, none other than the Fishnet Folly: Lord Downer of Baghdad, born to rule and the most ‘experienced’ minister in the party after Howard, (and remembering that Costello was neutered.)

    A ten minute advertisement for his CV was dished up on the 7.30 Report tonight, and it just didn’t smell right. Dolly is not going to sit on the back bench for three years, and after swanning around the world for a decade the last place he wants to be is doddering around at home between parliamentary sittings, so my hunch is that he was fishing (yep, in suitable stockings).

    “Oh yes, some of my collegues…” etc etc, you know the code. If he really wanted to be out of it he’d leave an answer phone message. Nup, Dolly Downer is still in this race, and I think he nearly got it during APEC. If Costello NEVER had the numbers, then they were not going to ask Howard to step down for him.

    All those protestations of undying allegiance to a guy who’s nuts sat in a jar for all those years?

    Don’t believe it folks, they were pulling your leg.

    Watch Dolly. The hot young turks (with a silent ‘j’), like Pyne and Turnbull to some extent, have dived in with the Bradfield Spiv and the Mad Monk, all keen for the scrum, but watch out for Dolly, he’s now an ‘important’ man of the party, a patriach, a patrician, and greatness may yet be there for the asking.

    The Malvolio of Mayo is not yet done.

  20. misanthrope said

    KB @ 19

    Hmm, thanks for that

    Was going to sleep soon with clear thoughts…

    now… 😉

    To be honest I dont see it like you do but hey… you ruined my sleep so something about it must be right 🙂

  21. booleanbach said

    Interesting write up in the Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2217016,00.html
    A decade of timidty, fear and shame!! How true.

  22. Big Tofu said

    Interesting Kirribilli. I listened to Fauntleroy catalogue how hot shit he’d been, heard him sound thoroughly indifferent about sticking out his time as Mayo’s Member and came to the opposite conclusion to you, that he was preparing to jump along with the others, into a career in the private sector being ordinary at great expense to shareholders.

    So Downer’s building up a case to be allowed to take the party to electoral oblivion.

    “I’m not afraid of mediocrity,” says he. “Some of us are born mediocre, some of us achieve mediocrity and some of us have mediocrity thrust upon us.”

    What you’ve said makes sense though. If he wasn’t keen, why string us along? I couldn’t think of a better way for him to destroy his career.

    I’ve done a lot of posting today, that’s ’cause I’m desperately prevaricating. ‘Pologies if you’ve had your fill of my soundbites. I’l be done with my exams soon enough and then I’ll get a life away from the ‘puter.


  23. Ron Brown said


    Brendon may be the opposition leader
    can he handle it …yes

    is he electable…do not think so

  24. smokey said

    Apart from the intense fascination of seeing the Liberals go into civil war and destroying what’s left of the party, they are now irrelevant for the foreseeable future as Rudd leads this country.

    The talentless rabble left behind in the rubble of their defeat won’t save them. They were always a bunch of losers with no real idea. Now with the media finally letting loose on them, they’re a conga line of Emporers with no clothes. Even their leader was defeated by a political novice, and their so called economic credentials will eventually be destroyed by the scrutiny of history.

    Who cares who leads them? People stopped listening to them months ago, and won’t start anytime soon. It’s more about media stories than public interest if anyone thinks the public cares. Other than of course to see them go down in flames.

  25. CK said

    Thouroughly agree Smokey.

    While the new government should not be focussed on retribution or trawling over the past (it does, after all have an agenda to implement), it should have a few handy things in its back-pocket with which to bith-slap any potential threats associated with the former gang of crooks.

    Strangely enough I’m feeling so much more comfortable and relaxed.

    Still floating, although here in WA it all feels quite Solidarnosc. Have to be careful who you talk to.

  26. CK said

    Hmmm, oh yes. “Bith slap.”

    You know what I meant, but perhaps we could have a competition for what ‘Bith-Slap’ means.

  27. CK said

    I suggest being mauled by Alexander Downer.

  28. David Richards said

    The Coonan and Pyne show did indeed reveal that the Libs still have not got the message of Saturday. Pyne came across as an XYL (Ex Young Liberal), and Coonan was at her clueless best.

    Talent? I’ve seen more talent on a red faces losers special.

  29. i reckon Abbott & Robb would be awesomely funny, and they would either prove why the Liberal Party must disconnect itself from religious zealotry, or they would make the government that just got sacked for being so uptight and insular look like a bunch of crack-smoking lesbians at a beach party.

    Follow them with Downer & Pyne and they’ll also put themselves off toffee-nosed trouser-stains who never left year 9 of the most elitist school that would accept them.

    Turnbull is a lot of things but he isn’t stupid. If he actually thinks that the Libel Party gets to launch a successful campaign of slanderous pamphleteering in 2010 then the arrogance writ larg on his face has spilled into his brain cavity and caused data corruption.

  30. o yeah, Possum – I almost forgot.

    What are your statistics on the fates of Australian Prime Ministers with two first names? Such as Bruce, Stanley, John, Howard. Even if Fraser counts as a first name, Malcolm really doesn’t. I’m thinking APMWTFN are 100% likely to get their asses pounded into involuntary retirement, historically speaking.

  31. David Richards said

    The next election won’t be 2010, more likely 2011.

    Go Kev 11 🙂

  32. PoeticJustice said

    Percy Bysshe Shelley on the decline and fall of Howardism:

    Ozymandias –

    I met a traveller from an antique land,
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled hp and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
    Which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
    Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  33. Meng said

    Gough Whitlam, an Australian PM with no first name. Earle Page, another.

  34. Enemy Combatant said

    Red Farmer Phil pays his respects:


  35. SJP said

    Hard to see the libs recovering from this train wreck in the medium term. They are out of public office everywhere (except for the Mayor of Brisbane). They have nowhere to regroup from. Nowhere to draw resources from. Their “political infrastructure” is now non-existant except for some private “think tanks” such as the Sydney Institute.

    Now that Rudd has captured the centre-right where do the Libs turn to? The right neo-cons? Their only hope is to rebuild on a small l Liberal foundation at State level before they will be able to be a viable political force Federally.

  36. Callum said

    Ironic that what will be the rapid canonisation of Bernie Banton will forever limit the political future of the mad monk Abbott, the man who questioned his virtue.

    It’s said that the one thing that a priest fears in their parish is the emergence of a real saint.

    Labor had Latham, the Libs have Abbott.

  37. bunnybampton said

    great analysis pc.

    i can’t agree with the statement repeated here that the old left/right divide doesn’t exist anymore. our political leaders and the msm would like us to believe that it doesn’t exist anymore but haven’t we just witnessed a reactionary government being comprehensively tossed out of office because of its ir policies which sought to crush workers’ rights at work and the trade union movement? isn’t that about the left wing defeating the right or am i dreaming all this?

    kevin rudd might like to think he governs for all australians (i don’t really think he believes that btw, it’s just pap) but, of course, such wishful thinking is quite unrealistic in a world where the interests of say the banks and bhp, who are driven by nothing other than the profit motive, don’t coincide with the interests of an unmarried mother struggling to bring up children alone or a factory worker who’s just lost his overtime and penalty rates.

    or even educated middle class men who sit around talking party politics either 🙂

  38. adherent said

    Did anyone hear ABC Radio National’s audio montage of Howard soundbites from the last eleven years, yesterday morning?

    Did anyone recognize the unobtrusive backing music to that piece as the theme music for “Ultraviolet”, the BBC’s vampire horror drama with themes of moral ambiguity and existential evil?

    Nice pick, sound guy.

  39. WhoGivesaRats said


    Is it my imagination or have we gone through this before with the Liberal Party.

    I am old enough to remember the end of the Menzies’s era and it seems to me to be very similar to the end of the Howard era except for a distance lack of talent now in the Liberal Party.

    Menzies kept his position secure by pushing potential challengers off to “greener pastures”. Barwick went to the High Court while Casey went to the UN if I remember correctly while keeping the rest quite and under his thumb except of his tame future leader – Holt. It appears that Howard has done the same thing but with no real challengers to worry about. Somehow I don’t think that Vanstone and her ilk could be put in the same class as Barwick and Casey but Costello played the role of Holt to perfection.

    We had Holt committing suicide at a Victorian beach and Costello committing political suicide, also in Victoria.

    The issue we now have is to identify who will play the role of Billy McMahan in the current “soap opera”. My best guess is Abbott with Turnbull the current day Frazer.

    However, I don’t think that Turnbull will have the luck of Frazer because I think Rudd will not play the role of Whitlam.

    The question that must be answered is who will be the next “strong man” of the Liberal party and will we have to go through years of in fighting for one to come to the top of the heap.

    Some have said that maybe the next Liberal PM is not in the parliament yet and if this is true there is a lot of humble pie (or in your parlance Poss – shit sambos) to be consumed by the current lot in the years ahead.

  40. Brian McInnes said

    Possum, your reference to the West Wing comment that “a leader without followers is just like a man taking a walk”, brought to my mind an image of Billy Sneddon, an example of a poor but a “what-else-could-we-do”choice of Liberal leader after an election loss.

  41. Kate Ellis for PM said

    Interesting analysis Poss.

    Also an insightful commentary by Kirribilli, but dont you think Dolly has too much AWB baggage to be elected Lib leader?

  42. codger said

    CK Balls in the hand

  43. Kirribilli Removals said

    Kate Ellis for PM, you may say that, but I couldn’t possibly comment! (As one BBC PM schemer used to say)

    Look, we are dealing with people whose ego and arrogance knows no bounds, so we might think he’s utterly damaged goods, but you only have to listen to them to realise they ‘just don’t get it’.

    I may be wrong, but something about the APEC putsch never added up, and the “team” (Reg. Trade Mark) never said that they were going to back Costello now, or anytime soon. If Cossie had the numbers he would have been able to go to Howard and break the news.

    He did NOT have the numbers, and never had them. QED, as they say.

    Dolly’s doing a dummy pass I think, so let’s stay tuned to this fascinating battle of the rugger buggers!

  44. Hemingway said

    Possums, this is one of your most brilliant posts ever.

    These are all salient and sagacious insights about the current state of “greatest ever PM” Howard’s detritus after 11 years of ratbaggery and scumbaggery.

    Let us hope that we never need to say the same at the end of this Labor government’s life cycle.

    We certainly will be seeing a similar phenomenon when the egregious Carr/Iemma government is flushed out of NSW in 3.4 years time (but who’s counting?).

  45. Socrates said


    A brilliantly written piece and sharply accurate. In a way this should help senior Liberals realise where they are now, but their public comments so far prove the psychologists right – you really do have to get past denial before you can move on.

    It reminds me so much of the aftermaths of Thatcher and Bjelke-Petersen, but this one is even worse, because at least in both those cases the rest of the tribe had the courage to face them. If a great leader is one who builds a team that can last, this exposes that Howard never was a great leader.

  46. Hemingway said

    Julian Watson asked: “Do you want fries with that..?”

    Well, if they choose Abbott then the Libs answer obviously is:

    “Oh, yes thanks, and mmmmmm, we want to upsize our Merde Meal Deal, please.”

  47. Cat said

    Ok folks read this list:
    Republican Movement Chairman
    Banker (spelt with a B not a W)
    Now what in that list leaves you to think that patience or farsightedness are any part of Malcontent’s make-up? Combined with his “ego the size of a planet” and I am sure he really believes he can save their bacon and turn it around in one term.
    As to Abbott hands up everybody who did not laugh (only those who didnt laugh) when Tony told us he has the people skills to do the job?
    As to Brendan Nelson he is so boring Chris Ulhmann just managed to cut him off mid flow with a voice that suggested he had to do it before he fell asleep on the job.
    I think Malcolm is on the nose enough that he might miss out and whilst I think he would probably would have performed exactly as Paul Keating suggested yesterday I think he might present a great opportunity to some elements of the ALP. Given Malcontent is a wet and certainly will be way left of Nelson and the Monk on a wide range of issues he might provide some wiggle room for Julia and others to very gently shift Kev to slightly more progressive views of some issues. Kev will cling to his conservatism tightly but getting some concessions out of him is definitely going to be easier without an hysterical right wing nutter going crazy over mildly progressive ideas.

  48. Hemingway said

    Rabitoh @4

    Yep, I’ve had the same thought about Costello’s possible reincarnation when he would be “forced”, humbly, to cancel his retirement. They’re never gone until they’re gone.

  49. seajay said

    It is interesting that all the Libs/Nats who were ministers covering what i call ‘the war crime’ portfolios (eg AWB, Hicks, Tampa, Iraq) have bailed out of leadership after the election. Is it just that their chalices are particularly poisoned or are they aware that when some of the truth comes out about what went on (in that although i understand the shredders were in meltdown in recent weeks in Canberra you can’t shred ALL the evidence)the sh** will well and truly hit the fan.
    What is wrong with Wilson Tuckey leading the Libs; experience and a class act in parliament. The ladies will love him!

  50. steve_e said

    We have seen evidence of the Right Wing control of the NSW branch of the LIBS. Remember one example, Egan the pamphlet guy in Lindsay. If these guys could not win at the last NSW state election when the ALP had the odd problem or two with transport, hospitals, education, etc. then when will they win in NSW?

    Who leads the LIBS does not matter until there is a clear out of the Right Wing on the LIBS in NSW. They cannot win until this happens.

    As Keating said Abbott is a younger version of Howard’s political message. If he leads the LIBS then there will be multiple courses of the meal Poss describes above.

    In the end the first leader of teh LIBS will be ground up into piecemeal. Some would say this is a fitting end for Abbott. Nelson who was an ALP member and a Union Leader (AMA). Every time he stands up, I can hear the cry from the Government benches – Union Leader! Union Leader! Turnbull is impatient and will self explode if he has to face this diet for 3 years or more.

  51. Persse said

    Mark 2 of your update looks great to me and is better organised, with some nice little touches.
    Interesting post. For me the key issue is the vast gulf between Howard and the current contenders, in culture and politics, the issue is whether they can establish a constituency from ‘natural’ Howard supporters. A great number of whom are as more distant in values from Malcolm Turnbull, than from Kevin Rudd.

  52. Hemingway said

    Re Bernie Banton.

    Skynews today has devoted one whole “red button” interactive channel to him, which is only right given what the man did and what values he represented.

    However, if Mr. Banton had died last week, Skynews would have done nothing of this sort in order not to further embarrass Team Howard.

  53. Hemingway said

    Maher Baba @14

    The growth in Catholic leaders is no surprise, as it coincides with the ever increasing diversion of Federal education funds under Howard (and also increases at state govt. level) to private schools.

    The reason Mike Kelly’s gaffe in the campaign had to be quashed quickly and unequivocally by Rudd is that Catholic schools’ parents have been significantly advantaged under Howard’s school funding formula, whether for luxuries in rich ones like St. Joseph’s or basic needs in the more numerous less well off Catholic systems.

    Rudd did risk a backlash from the private school parents by not allowing his education rebate to be used for school fees, so I reckon that Kelly’s blunder will make it nearly impossible for Rudd to reform the education formula to make it more needs based in his first term.

  54. Peter R said


    Great article. Your theme about the leadership of the Liberal Party has much in common with a recent Mungo Macullum piece in the Monthy, “Le Parti, C’est Moi”. In other words, but for ‘strong leadership’ the Libs have nothing much else to fall back on. Their party was conceived around one man, Ming, and subsequently has only done well with a ‘strong leader’.

    As for the leadership, my views are briefly:

    Malcolm Turnbull: it’s one thing for a multi-millionaire to be popular in Wentworth, but another thing to carry that to the people. Contrary to popular belief, he does/will carry baggage. The failed republican campaign (some say a poor choice to lead it as it became too much about him) and let’s not forget that he is a defendant (one of many) in current Supreme Court of NSW proceedings concerning the collapse of HIH. I know nothing about the merits of that case but I don’t think it would be a good look for the leader of the opposition being seen as a defendant in that case, giving evidence and let’s face it, there may be some chance of an adverse finding/judgment. I can imagine this being a much bigger deal/circus than say Paul Keating and the Piggery case.

    Tony Abbott: ask Bernie Banton. Sorry, you can’t as he’s probably in hell now given that he’s not pure of heart.

    Brendan Nelson: he’s my local MP (yes, I live in what a friend of mine describes as the Tory wasteland of the North Shore of Sydney). I don’t think much of him; he strikes me at the moment as the least offensive (to the public) of those putting their hands up.

    Lord Downer: no, never, are-you-kidding chance? (Kirribille-interesting analysis, but disagree entirely; if I’m wrong, I’ll by you a lottery ticket 😉 ). History gives us the lesson for him. He’s looking for an out right now.

    Julie Bishop: I don’t know much about her. Why not?

    It will really be a question of who is/becomes a ‘strong leader’ that will determine their long term future as leader. And who knows who that will be? Things change quickly (or are perceived to) in politics. 18 months ago, most people could not see the next Labor PM in the caucus. Kevin07 was not received like Bob Hawke was on his ascension. He sure has come out of his shell so to speak.

    Interesting that the 3 main contenders to date all come from NSW, which is said to be the problem child for the Libs.

    I can’t see a medium or long term demise of the Libs. If they had put up even a half-decent/unoffensive leader before the last NSW election, they would have won. No, they threw up the right wing nutter Peter Debnam from, you guessed it, Vaucluse. I grew up under Joh in Queensland. This current mob in NSW are just as offensive in many ways. They certainly appear just as amoral/immoral. I’m pretty sure Fatty O’Barrell will be the next Premier, provided he doesn’t stuff up.

    Interesting to note though the different machinations of the ALP and the Libs. Bob Carr was tapped on the shoulder and told to go because they knew they could not win the next election with him. John Howard appears to have tapped his ministers on the shoulder, they told him to go, he consulted with Hyacinth and then told them to p*ss off.

    Interesting times though…

  55. Kirribilli Removals said

    Peter R, I know it seems incredible and I can hardly believe it myself, but never (mis)underestimate the folly of the Malvolio of Mayo!

    And as an interesting historical note: remember that Downer stood down for Howard as leader, and in her own mind is ‘owed’. Now she is the senior ‘statesman’ and has been Howard’s bagman for years.

    Like someone said, they’re not gone until they’re gone. Watch this space.

  56. Peter R said


    I accept that the Malvolio of Mayo thinks that She is owed etc. And Her hubris (to borrow from the former PM) is something to behold. Did you notice how she equated her 11 years of debacle as foreign minister as ‘experience’ (which on one level it has been) and ‘success’ (which on any level it hasn’t).

    But She did step down when all that was left was pure comedy. Don’t forget that ALP strategists had to keep reminding Keating to go easy on Her because they wanted Her to be leader at the next election. Even if She was silly enough to nominate, I can’t imagine even the Libs being that stupid to take Her back as leader.

  57. Amaranthus said

    Julie Bishop is an evil dominatrix. She had the gall, as Education Minister, to stand up in front of the AVCC meeting and waggle her finger whilst chiding an auditorium of professors, for rather mildly complaining that the Universities had been stripped bare and looted. She’s also a moron, judged on the basis of her ministerial ineptitude. I was glad to be rid of interfering Nelson from that portfolio – boy, did I soon live to regret that cabinet reshuffle! She wouldn’t last 6 months.

  58. Stephen D said

    Peter R – did you read this simpering nonsense in The Oz?

    Downer a tough act to follow

    I was stunned that anyone claiming to be a serious commentator on foreign affairs could so blithely puff up Downer’s miserable non-achievements.

  59. Peachy said

    Barry o’Farrell is reported on ABC news site as saying that the NSW Libs may need to take further action over pamphlet-gate. Wonder what that means? Factional brawl? Clean-out of the far right nutters?

  60. Detest National Socialists said

    Turnbull will win the Liberal leadership contest, but this will be the ultimate political phyrric victory, as he has no chance of uniting the fracture pieces of the shattered Liberal Party – who could reconcile these disparate factions?

    The right wing fascists (aided by the ultra conservative Howard) who have highjacked the Liberal agenda over the last 10 years and shoe-horned their hand picked henchmen into safe Liberal seats will ensure that Turnbull will have to expend all of his energies in propping up the rotten structure of the party, already tottering on the brink of total collapse.

    How will he make time for being an effective Opposition leader when he will be constantly sniped at from within, the target of backstabbing, undermining and white-anting by the reactionaries remaining in the truncated parliamentary rump?

    Costello will certainly be biding his time on the back bench, and keeping his options open, hoping that he will finally be called upon to deliver his party from oblivion. Will he be prepared to down the chalice of hemlock, even if it is served up to him on a plate 2 years from now?

    Not likely – the next Non Labor Prime Minister is sitting in some sweaty Young Liberals meeting gazing forlornly at fading photos of their idol, Howard, and bemoaning the fates that have reduced their party to it’s current nadir.

  61. Peter R said

    Amaranthus @ 57: You’re right, I forgot. Thanks for the reminder (and short term depression).

    Stephen D @ 58: I don’t read the Oz generally and after following your link I won’t be changing my ways. It was a Greg Sheridan special.

  62. Kirribilli Removals said

    Peter R, it’s impossible to fathom any of them, and that anyone even asked Dolly to stand up shows how demented they really are.

    But if we all concur with Possum’s ‘let them eat cake’ (a ‘merde merangue’ actually!), then I’d reckon the hardnuts of the right would not be beyond giving that tasty morsel to Malbull, knowing full well he’ll choke on it “in due season”. That would fix that problem permanently. There’s probably as much contempt in the Liberal party (or what’s left of it), for Turnbull as for Rudd at the moment, and they can’t kill off Rudd!

    So, my view of the next phase of the (il)Liberal party:

    Pass the merde merangue to the Rain Man of Wentworth and wait for his painful death, and then watch the Malvolio of Mayo, in cross garters and yellow stockings, prance back onto centre stage. (AWB will then be ancient history, along with Turbo)

  63. Peachy said

    DNS @ 60

    yeah, I think Mal will have a difficult time as leader because it seems the numbers lie with the conservatives. It will be an interesting leadership contest that’s for sure – will the right swallow the bitter pill and vote for Mal because he is more electable, or will they go for the ‘safe’ option of Abbott or Nelson. They may blink when it comes to voting for Mal for the same reasons that Labor didn’t want him.

    If Mal loses the leadership contest though, what will he do? Will he take his bat and ball and go home, leave politics, or will he just sit back and snipe and undermine the new leadership? He managed to almost maintain the party line during the election campaign, but outside the pressure of a campaign he might not feel compelled to hold back.

  64. Greeensborough Growler said

    The slaughter of the Howard and Costello legacy continues…..


  65. David Richards said

    Hemingway @ 48

    Caesar springs to mind – refusing the role of Emperor before reluctantly accepting when offered it again.

  66. Tom said

    Maybe the Fibs should recall Amanda from Rome and put her in a safe seat.

    She is certainly tough! Whether the Immigration portfolio is lead in her saddlebags is another matter.

  67. Hemingway said

    David Ricards @ 65

    Yep, that’s most apt an analogy considering that court jester, Piers Ackerman, is saying this is a real possibility. One of Costello’s Mark Antony’s must have put Piers up to it.

  68. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    Couldnt they get in a couple of backpackers to do the job ? 🙂

    I think Turnbull wants to do the job now so he leads them to the next election, and his eyes lit up at the chance. I dont think he fully gauges the downsides of being out front for the next two years.

    I think the best thing they can do would be to save Turnbull, use Nelson and do a switch before the next election.

  69. Peachy said

    What they might do is give Nelson the job, with Turnbull as deputy to stop him from whiteanting.

    On another note, anybody care to comment on the damage done to the Libs most potent political weapon – the race card?

    Howard was very adept at playing the race card in a subtle way so as to appeal to blue-collar xenophobia. While it would always cause a storm of indignation from the left, that ultimately played into Howard’s hands as he could appeal to the blue collar vote by painting Labor as ‘latte-sipping, tree-hugging, do-gooder socialists”. When it came to wedge issues, the race card was Howard’s nuke.

    Now that pamphlet-gate has happened, and Howard is gone, what happens to the race card? Is it removed from the Libs arsenal altogether? Or do they attempt to play it only to have pamphlet-gate thrown back at them? They might be a bit nervous about using it after the size of the swing in Lindsay. It certainly seems to be a riskier card to play now than it was in the Howard years.

  70. David Richards said

    ahem Hemingway

    Markus Antonius was on Caesar’s side

    Costello would be Markus Brutus, with the Costello camp being the other conspirators


  71. Ronin said

    The counting of votes won’t be finalized until next week, so there’ll be a lot of time for contenders to get their numbers.

    After the Mark Latham disaster, the ALP slotted Kim Beazly into the leadership position as a caretaker. That was the role Howard prepared for Peter Costello as well, who wisely refused. The first instinct after a disaster is to opt for safety, so I expect Brendan Nelson to win. Malcolm Turnbull knows that his cause is hopeless right now, but by signalling his intention to stand he is preparing for a future challenge when the Coalition may be in a position to win.
    The danger is that ideological zealots tends to have the safest seats, and their response to riding a dead horse is not to get off, but to beat the horse harder.

    In regard to Bob Carr, he made his own decision to quit while he was ahead. At that time, a dead chicken will win against the NSW Liberal Party, as Iemma has demonstrated.

  72. David Richards said

    oops – sorry Hemingway

    I messed up the analogy myself .

    Yes – Costello would be Caesar, and Pyne would be Markus Antonius
    Who would be Octavian?

    Malcolm Turnbull can be cast as Markus Brutus

  73. MB said

    Interesting that today’s New York Times is ruminating about the next US ambassador – nominating Bob Carr and Bomber Beazley as the most likely (and liking both options because of their strong interest in American history)

  74. Stephen T said

    Peachy: I think the thing about the race card is that it depends upon the core values of the serving party paradigm. Hopefully Labor will push the whole issue back to justice and equity setting the cultural agenda for tolerance. A society that openly frowns upon racism marginalizes the racists however if you do what Howard did and exploit racism you give it unspoken and tacit approval. Racism will not be eradicated however it should be unequivocally condemned by the government of the day. We must all be part of a realignment of Australian values in the public and political arena.

  75. paul said

    Turnbull is the Libs only hope for a small l direction. Mind you, I still want to see Abbott fall flat.

  76. Enemy Combatant said

    preparing the ground to revive education as a front and centre issue

  77. Peachy said

    Stephen T @ 74

    Couldn’t agree more. I saw one of the senior journos the other night (might have been Hartcher?) saying that Howard had sort of “defused Hansonism” as if that was some sort of defence of Howards actions. I read it quite differently – Howard saw a political opportunity and he seized it, despite it’s moral repugnance (to us anyway).

    I think it will depend very much on who is the leader of the Coalition as to whether they see fit to openly try the race card again, however it is clear from pamphlet gate that there are many in the Libs who feel that the end justifies the means, and nothing is too low for them if it leads to their glorious goal of regaining power. It will be interesting to see how that particular internal squabble plays out, and whether they still run dirty campaigns at a local level or try to crack down on it.

    Would love to know whether the pamphlet-gate affair was truly a few rogue elements of the NSW Libs, or if it was in fact part of a broader strategic campaign. I for one always thought that Howards late conversion to reconciliation was nothing more than a device to protect him from claims of racism, while others in the party tried to press the right buttons in certain sections of the community.

  78. Stephen T said

    1. Turnbull: inexperienced and will find it immensely difficult to be berated for the next three years. Bit too vulnerable. Lots of knives hovering.
    2. Abbot: He is just soiled goods and cannot, and might I say will not, be believed. He is blemished with Howards deceitful and deceptive brush. The Christian right will cause him untold trouble.
    3. Brendon Nelson is humorless and lacks the presence and charisma necessary to lead.
    4. Hokey: Poor old Joe in a way many came to like him however he put his head in the work choices noose and when the union bosses fail to come out of the woodwork he will look stupid and get a real bagging in parliament.
    Christopher Pyne. Comes across as a prat and is just too naive and inexperienced.
    Dolly: Doesn’t have his heart in int anymore.

    Whoever will lead is a goner as the old intolerant, impatient knife throwing brigade will be out in force.
    Need an opposition but these guys are not it. Turnbull will survive but he will need to get rid of a lot of nasty dead wood in the mean time. It don’t look good.

  79. Neilbris said

    Peachy: As Keating said in the Herald this week, and Phillip Adams reiterated in today’s Australian, nothing will protect Howard from claims of racism. It is what he always was – an old white supremacist – and he deserves to carry that tag as the defining characteristic of his repugnant legacy.

  80. BV said

    Check this out:

    From this address


    Look at the dates on the top 4 videos:

    “Goals for the Future”
    Monday, 26 November 2007

    “Making Australia Stronger”
    Sunday, 25 November 2007

    “The Liberals Plan to Grow Australia – Seniors”
    Sunday, 25 November 2007

    “The Liberals Plan to Grow Australia”
    Sunday, 25 November 2007

    Notice anything strange about these videos???

    Well, there are 2 things:
    1. they are POSITIVE messages, which we didn’t see very much on our television sets during the campaign; and
    2. according to the Liberal’s websites THEY WERE POSTED A_F_T_E_R THE ELECTION!!!!!!!!


    Who thought up this brilliant piece of campaigning?!?! Seriously, this is insanity!!! Is there some kind of “if you are hearing this, I have been [electorally] killed” message in there?!?!

    My goodness.

  81. The Doctor said

    Just a note on Liberal leadership question now that L1 & L2 are out.
    On 666 Morning Alex Sloane talked to a Centrebet analyst who seems to think that Nelson will win the poison chalice. The analyst apparently has a contact inside the Liberals.
    In any case, Turnbull is probably too liberal for the Liberals at this time, though he may come into it later.

  82. Grumps said

    Good post Poss, definitely the next 3 years will present ample opportunities for the labor to present humble ‘excrement’ pie in bucket loads for whoever is presented as the next leader, deputy, shadow minister and backbencher. (Special form of excrement to be awarded to David Hawker for the achievement he made in lowering the position of speaker)

    The problem for the next liberal leader is that they will not be there when they win the next election. The party will chew them up and spit them out at a rate that no one will want the job.

    But I feel we are all missing the obvious. Team Liberal is obviously stuck for cash and resources at any level. To few people want the intellectual property it proffered. No effort was made to attract votes in Gellibrand and I would imagine no effort made in any safe and marignal Labor seat. All the cash went into the Firewall.

    The answer will be Turnbull will buy brand Liberal. 😉 The opportunity is there. I am sure Malcolm could pick up the brand and what is left of the goodwill for a couple of million. Pocket money for him. (What money that Turnbull’s first big idea is to restart the republican debate)

    The last of the HR Nichol’s fellowship can form their own quirky brand of Liberalism (Somewher right of Attilia the Hun but influenced by enough god botherers to attone the sins) and see how popular it is when presented in a truly democratic fashion. Instead of using smoke and mirror’s and untruths.

    As for the problems of the Liberals now, I will just sit back and enjoy for the moment 🙂

  83. Neilbris said

    I don’t think there’s such a thing as an authoritative contact within the Libs at the moment. They really have no idea which way to turn. Nelson is bland and expendible – good qualities for a caretaker leader. Labor will mop the floor with him but then he can be replaced without too much being lost by the Libs. They’d be wise to keep any real talent for another time.

  84. Andrew A said

    Costello is Cicero (without the gift oratory) and is heading to his exile. Abbott would be Marcus Antonius as Caesar’s heir and Turnbull Brutus. Nelson get’s to be a random senator who’s name is lost to history…

  85. David Richards said

    I posited elsewhere that Turnbull could pick up the remains of the Democrats, rebadge it and make it unto his own image, and do a Chipp.

    Much easier than setting up your own party from scratch – use whatever’s left of the Democrats structure and contacts.

    Unless he purges the far right from the party – he has no hope of taking the Liberals anywhere. At least by doing the above – he’d be head honcho, with no wannabes looking to undermine him.

  86. Enemy Combatant said

    Plesae ignore 76; premature keyboardation.

    PC sez: “On the other hand we have the Tony Abbott – a man well practiced in dining on the odd faecal focaccia of late.”

    PC again: “Now honestly – who can see Malcolm Turnbull sitting there sucking that up?”

    Moi. Because Petit Mal’s chowed down on only the best gourmet grogan since he sorted things for Neville Wran.
    I think Blueblood Career Libs will let Malsie have the Shadow Crown, Poss, for reasons that you state in your second and third paras. They’ll hope he’ll absorb the opprobrium then fade away. When it cames down to it, Petit Mal’s a queue-jumper.
    And boy, don’t the Libs hate queue-jumpers!
    Don’t care how much money or talent they’ve got.

    Petit Mal wants the top job. He fought like a pit bull for Wentworth. He’s Macbeth sans splatterlust. Malsie would also fear that if a “temp” made a serious fist of it(highly unlikely), then Malcolm Himself might suffer The Curse of the Unrequitted Smirk.

    You make the right call Poss, but in the Barnyard of Bastardry that is the Tory Shooting Star Chamber, we’ll soon enough witness what happens when realpolitik confronts raw ambition.

  87. Crikey Whitey said

    Unsurprised to find tears streaming down.

    As I read. As I listen.

    Possum, William,the bloggers, the MSM commentators and opinionists of regard,the talkback callers and letter writers,expressing their exit poll emotions.

    Of recognition,acknowledgement,sadness, betrayal,anger,bitterness,shared and long held surfacing pain.

    Of relief,joy,humble pride,hope,optimism.

    Thank you, there must be a God,as Tony Abbott and others may yet conclude.

    Advance Australia. Fair.

  88. Bushfire Bill said

    Grumps @82:

    The answer will be Turnbull will buy brand Liberal. The opportunity is there. I am sure Malcolm could pick up the brand and what is left of the goodwill for a couple of million. Pocket money for him. (What money that Turnbull’s first big idea is to restart the republican debate)

    … as did Berlusconi buy a party in Italy. I don’t think you’re far wrong on this Grumps.

  89. josh lyman said

    He destroyed his party in the same way he destroyed the soul of the country. Seems only fitting.

  90. Cat said

    Interesting to note counting today makes what looked like 88 seats the other day more like 83 seats now so the landslide is reducing to a decent majority. It is almost a pity that the likely by-elections over the next few years -Higgins, Mayo and Berowra- are all likely to fall straight back into less than liberal Liberal hands (the likely replacement for Ruddock is hardly an improvement). Unless they wake up to themselves before the by-elections the style of the talent pool is not likely to change substantially.

  91. Ordem e Progresso said

    It’s going to be tough for the Libs to overcome Howard’s legacy. If they’re going to seriously take on the right wing mob in NSW, Abbott may not be the person to elect to the leadership. Mr Abbott’s a good friend of David Clarke, a destructive character in the Libs NSW far-right faction.

    Though Costello’s long been a champion of extreme labour deregulation, Work Choices is Howard’s baby. Many Libs have started to distance themselves from it. Minchin’s talk of holding out on the unfair dismissal proponents of the new IR scheme could be as much about preserving dignity as remaining committed to a key plank of Liberal party ideology. How anyone could’ve ever argued that laws which prevent people from being unfairly dismissed were wrong is beyond me….On top of that, though claims to ‘mandates’ are for the most part bullshit, most people in the press would agree the ALP’s got a big one – one which includes implementing their IR changes.

    But what interests me at the moment is will the Libs support an official parliamentary apology to Indigenous people?

    If they reject WorkChoices and Howard’s long-held position of the ‘Sorry’ question, it’d be major blow and rejection of his legacy.

    The other thing I’m interested in is how the ALP’s going to deal with the shoddy stacking of the ABC board by Howard with right-wing plonkers such as Ron Brunton and Christopher Pearson.

    Will the Liberals be party to the the right losing the ‘culture war’ in this country by supporting an apology to Aborigines?

    This is going to be very interesting!

  92. David Richards said

    You forgot Janet Albrechtson.

    Do you think we’ll get Glass House back? LOL

  93. Gezza said

    Perhaps Maxine’s first job can be an overhaul of the ABC Board 🙂

  94. Goodbye Mr Thatcher said

    Turnbull is just a merchant banker with attitude – cant think of anyone less likely to provide leadership of substance. At least Nelson seems to recognise the liberals basic problem i.e. the palpable lack of any human dimension – but where to find it in such a degenerate party?

  95. Crikey Whitey said

    Perfect, Gezza.

  96. What nonsense. We at the Liberal Party realize that the Australian people really didn’t mean to sack us on the weekend. I think the poll that really counts was the Galaxy Poll on Friday. Therefore technically, we’re almost still the government, and I’m almost still the minister for whaling, coal, and pulp mills. Anyway, we’re a little bit busy right now patting ourselves on the back and waitng for these missing 850 000 Liberal Party votes to turn up. But don’t worry, call if you need anything. As we’ve said repeatedly, we can hear you.

  97. BV said

    My guess:

    1st round of voting –
    Turnbull 1st;
    Nelson 2nd; and
    Abbott 3rd.

    Abbott knocked out, then on next vote:
    Nelson 1st;
    Turnbull 2nd.

    So Nelson wins

    (if this is how the Liberal leadership voting actually works).

    Deputy Dawg? No idea. Bishop? Robb? Bueller?

  98. gough said

    Hubris got Howard in the end. Bit sad as he really had so little to be boastful of.

    The public never liked Howard. As Paul Keating once mentioned he was struck in the arse by a rainbow at birth. He won elections through a combination of pure luck and rodent bastardry.

    1996 – Costello’s stage fright cost him the election. Howard’s battlers or Pauline’s white trash deserted ‘Placido’ in droves. They didn’t want or understand reconciliation or an engagement with Asia. Abos and Asians were for laughing at and abusing. Wogs were only a little less problematic. With baseball bats at the ready they were ready to give PJK a belt.

    1998 – The never ever GST election and with Joe Cocker and a few spare million of taxpayers money, Honest John convinced enough ‘battlers that the tax system was broken and scraped back in – However his low standing amongst voters was shown by him losing the popular vote despite being only two years into his term. Again breaking non-core promises didn’t phase the battlers as the dog whistles and the new political correctness was still resonating and Pauline really did look so lovely in those New Idea pics. Always amazed that not enough punters understood that a ‘broken” tax system meant that the government wasn’t collecting as much tax as it wanted.

    2001 – Howard mean and tricky and on the nose and headed for oblivion. Howard reneges on his deal with Tip and starts kicking his legs and flailing mud and excrement at all comers in a desperate bid to be re -elected. Takes advice from the republican dirt unit on how to redefine his opponent. Howard outgunned by the beazer in the substance and credibility stakes so starts a campaign in dishonesty based on a story big Kim tells caucus about his daughter and the failing hospital system. Assisted by the MSM this and other ridiculous smears are played into ‘credibility’ and ‘ticker’ issues, ironically by the spine and truth challenged libs. Big naive prolix Kim tries to reason this out rather than laughing these attacks off. Still would have won bar 9/11 (Howard on the spot in USA – a signal from Tory gods that he was the chosen one) and Tampa. The white trash can’t resist a good anti Muslim line and really who would want the type of people that throw their kids in the water. We prefer a government who takes pictures of another event on another day – cuts off the captions and presents it to the world at large as evidence of those type of people.

    2004 – Our glorious leader’s war on terror by ignoring al quaeda and securing USA security and economic interest in Iraq is starting to fade like a Queenslander’s curtains by 2004 but useful enough to see out Crean with help from a jittery alp back bench. While Simon does not capture the public’s imagination, polls show ALP regularly in front on TPP. Indeed I would hazard a guess that over 11 and a half years ALP would have been preferred in TPP polls in over half that time. A pretty good clue to how ‘not loved’ Honest Johnny was. Latham comes onto the scene and again Howard flounders like a fish out of water. Scary to think how many times Latham bested him and boxed him in the year leading up to the election. Another scare campaign with the Tampa full of hostaged interest rates rather than terrified and dehydrating refugees – poorly managed campaign by the ALP team and an imploding Latham (health and decision making wise) sees Howard in again – despite an obvious dislike for him by the punters. Again the irony of utilising interest rates by a prime minister who through the first home grant and capital tax changes and a banking industry that would lend money to pirates, vagabonds, scallywags gamblers and drunken sailors (hello to the Liberal NSW branch) drove house prices up and average mortgages into the stratosphere (lucky they weren’t ozone depleting) and by a person who as treasurer gave us 22% interest rates, high inflation, high unemployment, a wages explosion and a recession almost destroying the Australian economy single handed (they shouldn’t really give a person who failed general maths at HSC a job dealing with numbers) was gob smackingly surreal.

    So the battlers looked to the important issues – their house prices and repayments. They hated the little bastard but they trusted him. They were confused that they got 8 dollar tax cuts while the top brackets got hundreds, accepted that more money should go to private schools and health should become more expensive through a transfer to the private sector. Also rich kids should enter unis on the back of daddy’s largess and not merit. After all rich people are better at handling money you know. It confused them a bit but then you always had those f’en mossies and terrorist out there who Dolly and the undertaker were keeping out. So Latho out and Johnny back in.

    2007 – Throughout almost all of the term Johnny is on the nose. Beazer has him covered but then Ruddy blows him out of the water. Its funny, I think Julius Caesar is attributed to saying that all you have to do to keep the mob happy is give them bread and circuses. For about 8 or 9 years Howard gave the battlers circuses giving them the equivalent of roman Christian sacrifices in Asians, aboriginals, Arabs etc. They never even noticed Johnny’s hand in their pockets all this time – increase in taxes as a proportion of GDP, finding more money for home loan repayments, childcare costs, retirement home costs (not touched on by anyone to my knowledge) and having to find even more money through the privatisation of health and education – but when they touched their pay and conditions through work choices those slowly moving wheels in the battler’s heads finally twigged – it was OK bashing abos, wogs, mossies, lesos, greenies and poofs but now they are bashing me – Bingo!! Game over

    Didn’t matter if Kevin attended strip bars, ate his earwax or was so boring you’d put on Kenny Gee CDs for excitement – the tribe had spoken.

    They always hated Howard’s guts but weren’t too fussed when he did their dirty work for him. It took them a long time to figure out that he had little regard for the “mob” (his reference) – when they did he was always a goner.

    Howard’s standing in the public was always illusory. Fear played on people’s ignorance and overcame their distaste for the little man. When the reality dawned the battlers took pleasure in repudiating this stain on Australia’s soul

  99. Ordem e Progresso said

    Seriously, fixing up the Liberal’s meddling with the ABC board is important. Howard’s blatantly political appointments were a disgrace.

    The ALP should commit to a cleaner system of making appointments to the board.

    There’s also talk of sending Mr Beazley over to Washington. I think the jobs for the boys should stop.

  100. PASOK said

    Gough @ 98:

    That is probably one of the most astute summations of our inglorious and ignoble recent history, and may I say, right up there with Paul Keating’s weekend pieces published by Fairfax newspapers.

  101. Steve_E said

    I just watched the 7.30 Report with the PM Elect (this sounds a bit like a certain vessel so perhaps we can skip the Elect bit – roll on Thursday!). The bit that got to me was the Bernie Banton tribute. I suspect we will see some more on this. I throw this up for chewing on – what about a Corporate Governance body named after Bernie B. It would cover issues like Corporate responsibility and ethical behaviour by corporations – it could even run to Cartels and legislation that makes this behaviour a criminal act. Remember that Tip sat on this vry matter for 3 years and wimped out entirely ( a bit too worried about the flow of future corpoate donations to proceed ?).

    I also take on notice the commitment for openes communication by Government ) if you know where this has been for 11 years, please let me know as I have missed this bus). Reporting on the implementation of Government policies by benchmarks over time is how I manage my work/time. What a revelation that this same manegement process could be applied to a Government, Public Servants and MPs.

  102. David Richards said

    I too was struck by the complete contrast between Rudd’s future approach, and that of the outgoing nest of vipers.

    How novel that government ministers should actually get out and find out what’s going on in the community with respect to various issues.

    Rudd is certainly a new broom sweeping clean. He is a revelation.

  103. denise said

    I think we owe Mr. Beazley a great deal, so no matter what they offer him i am all for it. I also think he would make a great Governer General,
    A true gentleman.

  104. Hemingway said

    PM Elect Rudd’s interview with O’Brien was both informative and encouraging.

    Hats off to O’Brien for not wasting time on political tactics questions about the Opposition Leadership battle or possible obstruction of Workchoices in the Senate. However, I thought a climate change conference question would have been worth hearing about.

    It was encouraging in terms of Rudd’s obvious preparation and competence in making this transition period one of setting the significant policy and organisational benchmarks.

    Also encouraging was no repetition from the PM Elect of the shock/horror number done after the previous two changes of government over the country being in a far worse mess than they ever could have imagined in their worst nightmares.

  105. Hemingway said


    Good point on Kim Beazley. When he lost the Leadership, Bob Hawke called him the best PM we never had.

    I think what he accomplished in his elections was to bring Labor back from a landslide within two years to a point where they were a true alternative government. He clearly ran better campaigns than Howard, as pointed out above.

    I think it’s preferable that Mr. Beazley stays out of the picture for this term so he can enjoy his family for awhile, but hopefully either a G.G. or foreign service role can be found during the second Rudd govt..

    I’m thinking of how Bill Clinton wisely asked Jimmy Carter’s assistance in some areas of foreign policy as roving Ambassador.

  106. Ordem e Progresso said

    Emm, why is Costello making this announcement?


  107. DGW said

    Ordem E Progresso @ 105 I believe with the Rodent virtually conceding his seat, Costello is acting leader of the Liberal Party until Thursday. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

    Possum, love your site and love your analysis. However, I don’t believe any government is ever guaranteed two terms. We see oppositions fail to come back in their first term in opposition becuase they:

    1. Don’t deal with the loss well. They may spend all of their time interminably analysing the results and reviewing all of their ideas about everything.
    2. May have an unstable leadership situation with losers continually fighting over the spoils of defeat.
    3. Might hope that if they say nothing and keep quiet they can come back without doing any hard yards reviewing their loss or developing some new policy.
    4. May have a leader who spends all of their time eating shit sandwiches.

    I just wanted to say that in 1993 after Keatings “True Believers” victory ALL of the media analysis I remember spoke of his mastery and how the ALP would definitely win the next 2 elections. I do think your analysis is excellent, but I just wanted to challenge its inevitability. Here are my tips for any opposition wanting to win government, ever.

    1. Elect the most intelligent, sensible, hardest-working, down-to-earth and non-crazy (no Lathams) leadership team you can find. Do not, under any circumstances change leaders less than 12 months before an election (almost 12 months for K. Rudd).
    2. Review all of your policies in a sensible way. Consult with the broader community. Do not throw the baby out with the bath water. I helps if people think you stand for something (even if you are just desperate to get back to the government benches).
    3. Don’t spend too much time critiquing the government. You can run whatever negative ads you want during the campaign. The people want to hear something like this “This is a good idea, but why haven’t the government done more to fix this problem already. When we release our policy in this area you’ll see an exciting program to fix this problem now”
    4. Renew. Renew your parliamentary membership. Renew your party membership. Renew your administrative division and renew all staffers. Bring in talent at all costs. Look invigorated by this exciting opportunity to rebuild.
    5. Be humble, hard-working and pursue a two-term strategy in private and a pessimistic one-term strategy in public “The voters have just elected this government. They did not make a mistake then and I don’t believe they’ll be making a mistake next time if they decide to send this government a very clear message. If we are fotunate enough to be elected we will be ready to govern”

  108. Michael said

    Hi Possum,

    This is my first posting on your amazing blog, and like many hundreds of others who have congratulated you for saving their sanity before and during the 2007 Election, I too would like to thank you from the depths of my soul… I can’t begin to imagine what my state of mind may have been reduced to without your insight and strength prior to and during this most extraordinary election.

    Anyway, firstly let me add my comment here, as it seems I might actually have something small to contribute, instead of silently lurking in the background all the time.

    A while ago I read an interesting article which suggested in the weeks prior to Keating’s defeat in 1996, certain members of the Federal ALP knew the end was near and proceeded to secretly put an action plan together for the sole purpose of salvaging and resurrecting the ALP lost fortunes once the fall-out and damage from a theoretical devastating defeat had cleared… More importantly it was a strategy for how they could return from the electoral isolation imposed on them.

    I remember thinking at the time I read the article that it was a very clever and courageous scheme, purposefully kept away from the prying eyes of all senior ALP ministers of the day, especially Keating, who all thought there was no way Howard could beat them.

    My thinking here is that the same strategy is now being played out by the scattered remnants of remaining Coalition members, whereby a very small number of senior ex-ministers and their junior colleagues have done basically the same… considered the effects of what they would need to do if the Australian electorate turned on them and tossed them out.

    It’s an interesting thought as it seems quite obvious to me, that if I knew my political party was on the nose, and there was a huge likelihood I’d be thrown out of office, that I’d take a leaf out of the ALP’s book…

    As some of the other comments here suggest, Costello moving to the back benches and not taking on the mantle of leadership in opposition just smacks of juicy intigue for the future.

    Anyway, it’s just food for thought as we all watch the Coalition party trying to come to terms with the devastation the Australian people visited on them.



  109. Stig said

    Nice post Possum. I’m going to recycle some of my comments from the earlier thread – I reckon Nelson will get the chalice, as he is stupid enough, thick-skinned enough, and expendable enough. I think this agrees with some of the earlier posters on this thread too.

    Turnbull surprised me by going for the chalice, but I reckon that he figures he won’t get it this time around (not ideologically pure enough for the uglies) but that he has to be seen to be enthusiastically trying for it. If he does win, I reckon it will be because the uglies expect him to eat the sandwich now and then to be swept away in the next election.

    Abbott has reverted to habit (sorry…) by stating that their policy was infallible, but that they just failed to sell the politics in the last term. He hasn’t learned anything from last weekend, and can’t be expected to – clearly he is into faith-based politics rather than evidence-based. While very acceptable to the uglies, I don’t think the wets would cop having him in charge. If he does end up with the chalice, it would be a signal that the uglies value ideological purity above all else, and we should all get the popcorn out again for the resultant showdown with the wets.

    Robb? Who?

    Bishop? Probably end up as deputy, at a guess.

    Anyway, Possum is bang-on with this as Howard’s legacy. The parallels with Thatcher are very strong – the end-term policy vacuum, the knee-capping of potential rivals, and probably the long resultant time in opposition.

  110. r@tzRUS said

    Meher Baba @ 14

    Brilliant stuff! Hadn’t thought of that before but yes you’re right. Who would have thought 50 years ago that the Liberals would end up a Catholic party?

    Which means that they’re really in the poo, because the Liberal party is now a latter-day DLP!

  111. ruth johnson said

    Kim Beasley is now Professor Beazley. He had that honour bestowed on him by UWA on the weekend.From a Rhodes scholar to a profesship well done Kim

  112. Gezza said

    Crikey Whitey: thanks for your response to my earlier post on the ABC & Maxine.
    On Lib. leadership (& other oxymorons) if Abbot gets it, which seems improbable, that would be hysterical whichever way one looks at it. If Nelson, well the poison chalice would kill off this flimsy non-entity – early & often. Was Keating’s support for Bishop, the Kiss of Death? I wonder. So that would leave Turnbull to get a position he’d be crazy to take now, but then he did come up with that equally crazy “making rain out of thin air” grant for his mates, so you never know.

  113. Michael said

    Interesting article from Phillip Adams…


    The newest aspiring opposition leader, whoever he may be, will need to consider Howard’s legacy in the context of Mr Adam’s precise observations.



  114. Marrickville Mauler said

    58 Stephen D – thanks (I think!) for drawing my attention to this piece of tendentious tripe from Greg Sheridan, who I will never make the mistake of taking seriously again. Um, apart from the piteous blather about Downer’s wonderful contribution, and the remarkably silly setting of the AWB tainted toff in question above foreign ministers such as Evatt (who actually established, rather than unsuccessfully sought a US alliance thanks very much you mislieading little man) or Evans, what about the impertinence of the idea that a Minister during caretaker period could have represent Australia overseas on anything? Oh, the unfortunate timing of actually having an election! Lord Downer of Baghdad was just a nickname Mr Sheridan, this country still in fact does operate on democratic not aristocratic lines.

  115. josh lyman said

    Further to comments at 101, 103 and 104

    I too enjoyed the ‘I actually want to be judged on the evidence of my record’ approach from the Ruddster. Although it sounded like someone who just got the job as head of PM&C, rather than the PM.

    Had tears in my eyes when he said week 2 homework for the MPs will be visiting homeless shelters. No votes in that, just humanity. There may yet be hope that the Christian Socialist will be seen alongside the Economic Conservative.

  116. booleanbach said

    (Almost) all parties on the nose will get back in sometime if they take the effort to reinvent themselves. So we can expect the Libs to be back in twelve to fifteen years unless Labor stuff up somewhen down the track to the future.

    With the Liberals there are two possibilities – they get back in with the toxic mix of conservative plus extreme right, religious bias they have now with Alex Hawke as leader or they split and we at least get a chance to choose between a new (small ‘l’) liberal party or a self confessed right wing conservative one.

    Whatever the outcome, I sincerely hope the Rudd Government puts in place the mechanisms to prevent them politicising the Public Service and reducing the chances of them dividing Australia in the manner that the Howard lot have done over the past decade.

  117. Enemy Combatant said

    “When the reality dawned the battlers took pleasure in repudiating this stain on Australia’s soul”

    Yes they did, Gough, even if for some it was a grim pleasure. Was just talking to a friend who lives in Longman, whose voters just gave Minister Mal Brough the flick. She described many of the 18-35 demographic as “silent assassins”.


    “Groups of them, four and five per vehicle arrived early at booths in Caboolture. They refused HTV cards. They waited in line for long periods and didn’t speak at all. They knew exactly what they were going to do and they did it with the “deadly intent” that George Megalogenis alluded to on the Insiders defore E-Day.

    See ya later, Johnny Rodent, and shove WorkChoices up yer arse!! Brough was merely collateral damage.”

    I thought she put it rather well.

  118. David Richards said

    Hear Hear Boolean!

    Howard proof the place so that any future mob odf fascists can’t do what the last lot did.

  119. rossco said

    Re first time Opposition leaders winning/losing elections. Don’t forget that in ’74 Billy Snedden didn’t lose against Whitlam, he just didn’t win. Well, that was how he spun the story. Didn’t help him of course, the party soon dumped him.
    Perhaps Nelson is the new Snedden.

  120. PASOK said

    Re Beasley.

    He is indeed now a professor at UWA.

    Given his dedication to academia and the turmoil his family has been through in the last 12 months, I cannot see him taking any diplomatic or emissary post any time soon.

    But give him enough time and I could see him being GG (assuming we are not a republic by then).

    Bob Hawke did confer that very role upon the Labor leader he deposed, Bill Hayden.

  121. Styx said

    I think one of the traps for the Liberal party, like it was for the Labor Party was whether they learn the right lessons. Whether they understand the reason for their loss.

    For Labor it was a complete rejection of the Hawke/Keating legacy of economic restructuring.

    The question and debate in the early days of the Liberal defeat will be if they embrace the belief in the Howard/Costello economic ‘miracle’ and that the public just misunderstood due to a dastardly union campaign (damn those Unions!) or if they come to understand that Work choices undermined the economic security of a vast number of electors and that for those who were not economically insecure they were looking for something more, some level of decency and maybe some narrative for the future perhaps?

  122. PASOK said

    A lot of people bag him, but Mark Latham was spot on when he said that Beasley and the post 1996 Labor team were so eager to wash themselves clean of anything Keating that they sold their “better economic manager” perception to the Libs form nothing and they’ve been chasing it back ever since.

    Let’s see what policies of JWH the Libs renounce in order to regain their “moral compass”.

  123. Ron Brown said


    total 2PP vote counted was 10,045,871
    Since midnight Sat nite to midnight Mon nite per aec site:

    248745 votes have been allocated 2PP
    109730 to Labor 44.11% 2PP
    139015 to LCP 55.89% 2PP

    2PP total count is at 78.53% (10,294,616)
    Labor 2PP total now 5,475,230
    LCP 2PP total now 4,819,386

    total enrolled is 13,645,073
    less counted 10,294,616
    to count 3,350,457
    less informal 129,662 (current informal vote is 3.87%)

    2PP countable vote 3,220,795
    still to count

    Labor’s share @ 44.11% 1,420,693
    LCP share @ 55.89% 1,800,102

    TOTAL Labor 2PP 6,895,922 51.02% 2PP
    TOTAL LCP 2PP 6,619,488 48.98% 2PP
    TOTAL 2PP count 13,515,410

    Obviously the remaining 3,220,795 votes will not be Labor 2PP 44.11% to LCP 2PP 55.89% , so why would a batch of 2.41% of 2PP votes (248,745) be weighted to LCP assume uniform seat by seat vote counting ?

  124. StingRat said

    great writing possum – it has been a big week and some of the best commentary all round is here tonight – well it is dark outside – a couple of things – PJ@32 I love the ozymandias reference – surely one of my favourites.
    Possum wrap this whole thang up and keep it somewhere we can come back to when the bats start swiring
    good rat

  125. adrianlobo said

    Great comments all!

    One thing I find very strange is why Turnbull is such a hot favourite with the bookies to win the ballot on Thursday, when the future of the Liberal party relies on a massive 3yr effort to restructure and redefine the party – probably over 2 terms – not have it’s leader mostly interested in building a profile as the next PM.

    Turnbull easily has the most electoral appeal of the candidates, but surely the party members must be sceptical that he’s in it for the hard yards rather than to just give it a quick crack and see if he’s got a chance of being PM in 3 years?

    I thought it was quite likely that, as mentioned above, Turnbull threw his hat in because he felt compelled to, but doesn’t actually want the leadership right now.

    However, the punters are suggesting he is serious and has the numbers. And the only public declarations of support from Liberal reps have been for Turnbull.

    So have the punters got this wrong or do they know something we don’t re who has the numbers? They’ve written off Abbott completely (55-1), Nelson is an also-ran (6-1) and Turnbull is unbackable (1.2-1).

    What do you guys think?

  126. Belowra Boy said

    Possum. Thanks for your fabulous Blog, quite the best medicine available for a quivering wreck looking at polling in an ignorant fashion. I won’t wish you luck in your future endeavours, as on the evidence of the last six months, luck will play no part, just extraordinary competence.

    The Libs have two courses to choose from, I think. The first is to follow tradition and pick a goose, ie Billy Sneddon, Andrew peacock. In that scenario they will choose Brendon Nelson. The second is to follow the ALP tradition and pick the best, brightest and least soiled candidate, ie Bill Hayden, Kim Beasley. Turnbull is the closest they have to such a figure.

    Tony Abbott is only standing in order to fire a shot across the bow of Turnbull, who represents all that he and the religious/moralistic right despise. Somebody from that faction is likely to be recruiting and training suicide bombers right now in order to eliminate that threat to all they hold dear.

    A factor that hasn’t been discussed that will further complicate matters is the past success of the Libs in taking seats from the Nats, and thus acquiring a support base of poorly educated mostly middle aged and older ultra conservatives who believe in heavy handed policing (of others), Monarchism, coon kicking, no immigration, absolutely no reffos, and economics out of Marxs handbook. They wouldn’t have a bar of either Turnbull or Nelson (or Julie Bishop as deputy because they implicitly agree with Bill Heffernan about barren women). They would see Abbott as their man. This could (emphasise COULD) see a trend back to the Nats for these people especially if Barnaby became leader. They don’t see pork as pork, they see it as their birthright!

  127. Marktwain said

    “Faecal focaccia” … that was good, Poss. We’ll make a journo out of you yet, oh most majestic Pseudocheirus peregrinus.

  128. Crikey Whitey said

    Great post, Gough at 98.

    Caught you at same. William’s.

    Compliments, again.

    In case you missed it. In the fray.

  129. Stephen T said

    Poss come here twice a day just to get a touch of sanity. Your sight has become an addiction. You certainly are getting positive comments and they are well deserved. Gotta keep going with those idiots threatening to reject IR reform. Not only did they foul up our nation with their vile prjudice they are now going to drag the country into an unnecessary and costly bun fight. Watch out bastards you think your in trouble now.

  130. Chatswood Statsman said

    Times A-Changin’

    Last night we went to a concert by the Sydney Street Choir in Crows Nest on the Lower North Shore. The founder of the choir (And also of “The Choir of Hard Knocks”), Jonathon Welch, commented to the local burghers that the country might now become a “more caring place” after last Saturday – applause. He then proceeded to bring the house down by dedicating his next song to Maxine.

    The country may indeed be in detox.

  131. gough said

    Thanks Crikey Whitey.


  132. r@tzRUS said

    Interesting listening to Julie Bishop this morning on AM.

    Sounds like the WA contingent is against any compromise on WorkChoices; after all, it was an electoral plus over there. Meanwhile anyone with half a brain in the Libs from the rest of country sees it as electoral poison.

    Obviously these two views can’t be easily reconciled, and with the best results for the coalition in the country I’d expect WA to have greater than normal clout.

    So Bishop as deputy could be quite a problem for the new leader.

    Of course the rest of the party could dump WorkChoices anyway, leaving WA out on a limb. What might the spurned WA group do then? Well it’s been a few decades since the last bout of WA separatism, hasn’t it: 😉

    Anyway, just thought I’d point to yet another potential fault-line in the Libs.

    Goody! 🙂

  133. Peter R said

    Poss et al,

    Today’s photo of Christopher Pyne in the SMH is quite metaphorical. (Sorry, computer illiterate enough not to be able to post a link – anyone help). He’s standing on top of a drain, looking somewhat vaguely into the distance, apparently waiting for 2 very large microphones (pointed horn like) to be shoved up his nose…

    Now, I wonder if this will work :mrgreen:

  134. Stimulus Package said

    Re: By-Election in Berowra (Cat @ #90).

    Yeah, I’d think so. Heresay from the Liberal booth staff was that Philip has not been the best lately.

    Hornsby Shire Liberal Councillor Felicity Findlay was following him around in the big limo on Saturday. I have been told that she was Ruddocks’s local Campaign Director and word was that she is the ‘annointed one’ for Berowra. Hard to believe given how safe a seat it is (still just under 10% now from 14.1%) and the in-fighting for pre-selection that will occur, particularly with Sky-Godder Fundie’s Alex Hawke (Federally) and Greg Smith (NSW State) next door.

    She’ll say that ‘the timing is right’ when she announces her run at pre-selection becuase she always says that.

    Berowra is shifting to Labor over time and is ultimately going to be like Bennelong in 15 years or so, particularly when all the high-density stuff starts going up all along the Highway to meet population targets.

  135. stevet said

    I’d really like to see Tony get the top job, given his “people skills”, but alas, the Libs are way too smart for that! I can guarantee you that Chris Pyne will not get the leader’s or deputy’s job on any day of the week.

  136. tweetiepie said

    Pyne should spell his name Payne – projects as a self-important twit. “Going for the jugular” does not an effective politician make, just a feral.

    Important point apparently overlooked – that the computer handout is non-inflationary, hence economically conservative unlike tax rebate.

    Love KR’s “homework” for the new MPs.

    (1)Visits will make them more intelligent, valuable participants in caucus discussion, as well as establish,strengthen bonds with their electorates.

    (2) Reports will have the same function as benchmarks for incoming Cabinet.Quality of report will flag those MPs with potential. Easy way would be just to make phone call, but determining how many students don’t have computers at home, how often students have access to computers during school hours, and so on, in addition to which two schools chosen (different levels? enrolments?), and subsequent conclusions drawn – this will give KR the first indications of where the real talent lies. This is a natural corollary to what KR discussed with K.O’Brien on 7:30 Report.

  137. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    I can inform the blogosphere of another Implosion. Reading news.com.au i came across this. I almost choked on my weeties.

    According to the former workplace relations minister,

    “Work Choices is dead” Mr Hockey said today.


    “The problem with Work Choices was we just went too deep. It was a mistake. ”
    “That is one of the reasons why, when I became the minister we started the fairness test. We should never have got rid of the old no-disadvantage test in the original package, that was a mistake”.

    I wonder what information he came across that changed his view so dramatically……

  138. Tom said

    Long as the Ruddster does not try to run every Dept himself, like the Rodent did with Defence & Treasury etc.

    Can the Rodent be given a bill for rent of Kirribilly House for 11 years? He moved in illegally, it was not meant as PM residence.

    And what about pursuing the Fibs for recovering at least some of the cost of the taxpayer funded party-political ads they ran beyond any reasonable extent?

    Oh well, I can dream about that.

  139. Aspirational Aspirationalist said

    And for a quick tutorial on how to use the tags to do things like make text bold & use blockquotes, have a look at

    Poss has made a thread so people can try the new features there before using them in normal threads.

  140. Cat said

    134 Stimulus Package – yes I have been told Ruddock is rather unwell which was at the front of my mind when I came face to face with him on Saturday arvo. As I commented to a few people he did not look the picture of health but neither did he seem seriously unwell. Time will tell on those stories but regardless he is not going to sit in opposition for long at this stage.

    I am interested that the woman with him was Findlay as I did wonder if it was his daughter (rumours about she had come home due to his health). The other story I heard was that the mayor was lining up to replace him and that the stoush could get ugly. Given he is a former adviser to Jackie Kelly that might end up being comically ugly.

    As to the swing I was very happy that my booth was at last a Labor booth (the vibe on the day screamed that it would be) with a 10% swing on primary and 8% on TPP so the general trend line is positive. Looking at the other booths the tunnel issue did have an impact and the mortgage belt at Cowan etc are not happy either so I do have hope in my heart. The Labor candidate was very poorly resourced and supported so I would love to see what a proper campaign could do.

  141. Dinsdale Piranha said

    If a Turnbull leadership can purge the Liberals of the uglies, Australia will be a better place.

  142. Ordem e Progresso said

    Aspirational Aspirationalist @ 137:

    not only is WorkChoices ‘dead’, but Turnbull admits Howard’s refusal to issue an apology to Indigenous people was wrong.

    It looks like under the new Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Liberals are going to start pulling apart Howard’s legacy. Whooho!

  143. David Richards said

    Any thoughts on the high no-show figures? Circa 20% in all states failed to vote. Does this mean: a) Lib supporters, having seen the polls, gave up and didn’t bother to vote, b) Labor voters, having seen the polls, thought it was a fait accompli and didn’t bother to vote, or c) The None of the Aboves voted with their feet by not voting at all?

  144. bilko said

    As workchoices is being changed(ie scrapped) will Hockey live up to his promise (core) and quit

  145. David Richards said

    re preference allocations in estimating 2PP.

    It seems to me that both methods are inherently flawed. Using actual preference flows from the previous election ignores any issues that may have affected the flows at that election, and at the current one. I suspect there has been a dramatic change vis a vis 2004 v 2007. Also, using a static 60/40 assumption similarly fails to account for specific issues at any given election that may alter the preference flows.

  146. David Richards said

    LOL Bilko – we can only hope lol

  147. Ian said

    Surely, the biggest problem that the Lib’s have is that there isn’t a leader amongst them. This is demonstrated by the fact that none had the guts to challenge Howard.
    They are all saying that the knew that Howard should go, etc, blah, blah, blah.. but none had the guts to do anything. i.e. they are all followers.
    A leader stands up, they point out the errors, the don’t hide around the corner until the current leader gets run over by a bus.
    That’s why Keating was a leader and so was Howard (even tho’ I dislike him), so was Hawke.
    Leaders make things happen.

  148. steve_e said

    Racism in Sydney’s west – Post Lindsay

    An Australian flag has been planted between two impaled animal heads outside the proposed location of an Islamic school in Sydney’s south west.

    Police discovered the two severed heads, which were disfigured and may be pig or sheep heads, on star pickets at a site on Cawdor Road near Camden.

    Camden police crime manager Paul Albury said police were called to the site around 6am by a concerned member of the public.

    Police then removed the items, along with a cross decorated with Christian verses that had been at the site for several weeks.

    Detective Inspector Albury said a man had claimed responsibility for the grisly shrine using a CB radio a short time later.

    Concerned truck drivers and members of the public called police to report the man, who was reading anti-Islamic messages on air.

    Police were now questioning a man who owned a CB radio in relation to the incident, Detective Inspector Albury said.

    He said it was too early to tell if charges would be laid.


  149. David Richards said

    That is Howard’s true legacy – the racist monster he let off the chain and set free.

  150. stevet said

    STOP PRESS! McGauran has just pulled out of the race for the Nats leadership clearing the way for either Warren Truss or Barnaby Joyce! Oh what a laugh!

  151. Andos the Great said

    It is interesting to see The Australian rooting for Turnbull so strongly. Plenty of articles today about how awesome he is.

    Some other interesting news includes the Queensland Liberals leadership fiasco. They can’t even come to a conclusion about who should be in charge.
    Qld Lib leadership vote ends in stalemate

  152. nomad3 said

    Cat, I knew his daughter couldnt stand him and that she left the country to be away from him… so i guess this defeat mustve hit him hard… I always referred to Ruddock as a closet fascist myself..you have to wonder though about a man who is considered so much of an embarassment by his own daughter that she has to leave the country to get away from him… Its a very courageous act … I have been following his career for a while now..I suspect that there is something that may come to the fore thatwill embarass him.. stay tuned i guess … let us know if you hear anything else

  153. Andos the Great said

    And some more on state Liberals, this time from WA:
    Omodei defiant as MPs push for leadership change

    The money quote:

    “Paul Omodei makes his own decisions and, if somebody comes in and taps me on the shoulder, they’ll be very lucky if they don’t get a good right hook and they’ll be lucky to get out of the room standing up.”

    (Paul Omodei talks about himself in the third person)

  154. Crikey Whitey said

    Originally posted on Pollbludger. Apropos encouraging signs and electoral enthusiasm.

    • 721 Crikey Whitey Says: November 27th, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Been out, tonight.

    Maggie Beer, Meet the Author. In the electorate of Boothby.

    Great speaker, Maggie. Passionate, personable, human. Spoke of water, food, fresh, grow your own, teach the kids.

    Maggie spoke of Stephanie Alexander’s great school kitchen gardens project, and especially of ALP policy, in this regard.

    (Refreshing myself on this, it is:

    ‘Federal Labor tackles childhood obesity by bringing the kitchen to the classroom Media Release 20th August 2007

    A Rudd Labor Government will provide $12.8m over four years to fund a Kitchen Garden Pilot Program in 190 primary schools across Australia.

    Based on the successful Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program in Victoria, the program tackles the rising trend of childhood obesity by giving children hands on experience in healthy eating.

    The program teaches children in years 3 to 6 how to grow, harvest and cook produce as part of the school curriculum.

    A Rudd Labor Government will:

    Fund the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation to establish
    the Kitchen Garden Pilot Program, train teachers and staff and oversee the administration of the program.

    Establish an infrastructure fund to provide grants of up to $60,000 to 190 schools to fit out kitchen and garden facilities’. Etc).

    Huge round of applause to Maggie, on this mention of ALP funding. A packed house, too.

    Suggested to the organiser that Maggie may consider candidature in Boothby, next time round.

    • 733 Robert Bollard Says: November 27th, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Crikey Whitey #721 Stephanie Alexander is actually the niece of Wilfred Burchett. Given Margaret Fulton’s recent revelation that she used to be in the Communist Party and Stefano Di Piero’s well known left-wing affilliations I’m not at all surprised that Maggie Beer is on the side of the angels.

    • 796 Don Wigan Says: November 28th, 2007 at 8:27 am

    #734 Robert Bollard

    […I’m not at all surprised that Maggie Beer is on the side of the angels.]

    If memory serves me correct, Robert, Maggie was actually one of many that was inspired by Don Dunstan.

    What a dill that Foley was/is. If he wanted a celeb candidate and she was willing to run, she’d ave won it in a canter.

  155. Crikey Whitey said

    AWAs. The Undead.

    Telstra accused of rushing AWAs THE AUSTRALIAN

    By Denis Peters | November 28, 2007

    TELSTRA is rushing to sign up thousands of staff to five-year individual work contracts before the new Labor government has time to abolish them, the public service union says.

    Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) national secretary Stephen Jones accused the national carrier of engaging in a cynical post-election move.

    Telstra says there is no compulsion for staff to sign the Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs).

    AWA ombudsman takes on Donut King

    November 28, 2007

    AUSTRALIA’S Workplace Ombudsman is taking on a Donut King franchisee
    November 28, 2007

    AUSTRALIA’S Workplace Ombudsman is taking on a Donut King franchisee who allegedly tried to force an employee onto an Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA).

    It is alleged the Donut King at Greensborough in Melbourne’s north applied duress to a 23-year-old female employee after the management decided to move staff off the National Fast Food Retail Award 2000 and onto AWAs.

    The Ombudsman said Donut King cut the woman’s hours from 36.5 hours per week to 15 hours after she refused to accept the conditions offered under the AWA

  156. Cat said

    Nomad3 he told the libs on the booth (in the context of a discussion of one his truly weird behaviours which unfortunately I cannot post here) that his daughter votes Greens. I wonder if she specifically wanted to vote green or because it avoided voting liberal without going to the Labor extreme.

  157. nomad3 said

    Cat @156 ..Like I said I followed his career for a while now cos I found him to be such a ‘fascinating’ creature (for all the wrong reasons) that id be interested to learn more about him ..is there anyway you can email me ?

  158. Stimulus Package said

    Re: Cat @ #140 and nomad3 @ 152.

    The booth swing in Berowra was pleasing. There was a swing to Labor in every Berowra booth except for Arcadia, Berowra Waters and Dangar Island, and a swing away from Liberal in every Berowra booth except for Waitara, Brooklyn and Bowden Brae. Good swings in booths along the highway. Margin’s now under 10%. Ruddock was on ABC local radio just a few days before saying how he was looking forward to ‘increasing his margin’. Bite the big one, Junior.

    The thing with his daughter was, I think, families at their best. Can’t imagine Mel H saying anything adverse about ‘Daddy’ and his ‘policies’.

    Kirsty R’s still at it though:

    “Father Brennan’s book provides different perspectives and thoughtful and compassionate insights into this difficult area.”
    Kirsty Ruddock, NSW Law Society Journal, re: ‘Tampering with Asylum – A Universal Humanitarian Problem’ by Frank Brennan

    Liberal Mayor Berman won’t run, I think his heart is no longer in it. One of the other bloggers calls him a ‘serial pre-selector’: Berman’s blown his wad too many times. Hornsby Shire Council elections next year and I see him going back to back to Ministerial staff, what with all his ‘experience in local issues’. He’ll get dogged by those who like to do it for mis-applying S94 developer funds, especially now that his and Felicity’s S94 hobby-horse, the Galston Equestrian Centre has blown out by an extra $500,000. And that’s before we mention the %^#&’ing Quarry levy and ‘connections’ to Jackie Kelly. But who knows? With Alex Hawke around, it seemed that there were suddenly more members of the Cherrybrook Liberal branch than there were Labor members in the electorate of Berowra!

    Ruddock think-piece here: http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/2184

  159. nomad3 said

    Thanks stimulus ..I read those pieces ..and he certainly is a contradiction… a supporter of human rights and anti-apartheid, and all things decent then descending to locking children behind razor wire , denying asylum seekers basic rights and lets not talk about David Hicks ..

    What makes a man turn so much in a relatively short space of time…whats even more alarming is that this behaviour was rewarded by elevating him to higher positions within the govt …
    do you blame him for his hypocrisy and sycophantic support of a morally bankrupt leader ?..

    did he in the end succumb to the aphrodisiac of power which made him jettison his previously held beliefs?

    Do you blame his leader for inciting such morally bankrupt positions ?

    This is why I find him to be such a fascinating creature

  160. Cat said

    Stimulus package and Nomad3 I do wish I could post the story I was told on the day and he inadvertadently confirmed when he turned up but unfortunately it would have ramifications for the person involved. Surfice to say I relayed it to my family and a friend with the line “is it any wonder these jokers thought Work Choices was a good idea?”. Totally and utterly out of touch and suddenly I was no longer surprised he could disconnect his theoretical support of human rights etc from his own behaviour. To be fair given what is supposedly wrong with his health perhaps he is not as easy as he makes it seem. Regardless the sooner he goes the better.

  161. nomad3 said

    Cat @ 160 …I understand what you say Cat … but Im more interested in finding out his thought processes, his soul, his rationale…what made him turn the way he did ? ..Do his actions go against his grain, affecting him in other ways ..either emotionally, spiritually and maybe even physically? Has his daughters opposition to his position affected him personally in any way … is it just a case of ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely ‘

    whichever way you look at it ..its a fascinating study

  162. Ian said

    Of course, he completely fell out with A.I. They requested that he stop wearing their badge but he still does.

  163. Stimulus Package said

    The Banality of Evil

    [mostly from Wikipedia … why write when I can paste?]

    ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil’ is a book written by political theorist Hannah Arendt, originally published in 1963.

    It describes her thesis that the great evils in history generally were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state or leader and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal and performed thier duties as would be expected of a competent administrator.

    The book reported on Adolf Eichmann’s trial. Due to his organizational talents and ideological reliability, Eichmann was charged by with the task of facilitating and managing the logistics of mass deportation to ghettos and extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.

    Arendt states that aside from a desire for improving his career, Eichmann showed no trace of anti-Semitism or psychological damage.

    Her subtitle famously referred to the “banality of evil,” and that phrase is used quite abruptly as the final words of the final chapter. The phrase also refers to Eichmann’s deportment at the trial, displaying neither guilt nor hatred, claiming he bore no responsibility because he was simply “doing his job” (“He did his duty…; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law.”).

  164. Stephen D said

    Gezza @ 93 –

    I’m looking forward to Kevin calling for the ABC to add a “left-wing Michael Duffy” to the programming line up. 😉

  165. wordsmyth said

    poss ur troooly original – love ur blog – but the “shit sanger” was on south park on 12/11/07

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