Saturday salon 8/11


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Jacqui Lambie spins out

At the end of the week the star turn was Jacqui Lambie digging in over defense pay, lashing out at Abbott and taunting Clive palmer, daring him to sack her.

Glenn Lazarus has directly urged soldiers to ignore his colleague Jacqui Lambie and her call to protest at Remembrance Day ceremonies as Clive Palmer struggled to keep his disparate group of Senators together on Friday.

But a defiant Senator Lambie taunted leader Clive Palmer to prevent the party from splitting in the Senate and challenged her colleagues to help her block all Government legislation until the Defence Force is given a better pay rise.


“Do not turn your back on any Remembrance Day activity or ceremony. Honour and respect those who have given the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

“I married into a defence family and I understand firsthand the challenges defence personnel and their families deal with and the sacrifices they make for this country.

“Remembrance Day should be above politics,” he said.

It’s possible to feel sorry for Clive Palmer!

2. Whitlam remembered


David Marr says there was lingering sadness along with cheers and soaring oratory. I heard parts of it. I particularly liked John Faulkner’s speech, also his son Tony. Everyone has been raving about Noel Pearson’s speech. From what I’ve read he said some good stuff, but sounded stagy, self-consciously the orator.

Abbott and Howard were booed on entry, as is proper, Julia Gillard was welcomed effusively, Kevin Rudd in silence.

Lenore Taylor warns
that right now Whitlam’s legacy in schools and universities is being dismantled.

3. Is the media biased, or not?

Bernard Keane at Crikey:

Let’s try a thought experiment: imagine the Rudd government had, within a few short months of being elected, fallen significantly behind Brendan Nelson’s opposition in the polls; imagine that it had produced a budget universally panned as unfair, one that it struggled to get through the Senate, that Cabinet was leaking like a sieve without any wire mesh, that treasurer Wayne Swan had made repeated gaffes and been forced to apologise and was widely regarded as a growing liability, that corruption in the NSW Labor Party had forced a Labor minister to stand aside within months of being sworn in, that Kevin Rudd had consistently negative personal ratings and at times fell behind Nelson as preferred PM, that Rudd was so unpopular, state Labor leaders preferred he kept away from them during their election campaigns, that Labor had announced it was doubling the budget deficit, and if it was reliant on a political freak show of independent and minor party senators to secure passage of its bills.

And imagine if the Rudd government had resorted to national security in an effort to take the focus off its domestic woes, and it had failed to restore its fortunes, leaving it still trailing the Coalition?

Now imagine how all that would have been reported — and not just by the Coalition cheerleaders at News Corp, but by the entire media? You wouldn’t have been able to click on a news website without seeing “debacle”, “crisis”, “fiasco” and “Whitlamesque” in every political story.

4. Stop the ABC!

At Loon Pond:

So here’s a reminder of why there’s ongoing bleating in the commercial media about the ABC:

1. Insiders (ABC 216,000 + 108,000 on News 24) — 324,000
2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven)  —  305,000
3. Landline (ABC) — 291,000
4. Weekend Today (Nine)  —  237,000
5. Offsiders (ABC) — 138,000
6. The Bolt Report (Ten) — 131,000
7. Financial Review Sunday (Nine) — 130,000
8. The Bolt Report repeat (Ten)  — 84,000

Poor Bolter. It’s a truth universally noted that once a program hits a level, it usually stays at that level.

Here’s the wonderful David Rowe cartoon at the head of the post:


5. Business leaders lose confidence in Abbott Government

Only on the ABC:

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott likes to boast that Australia is open for business, but his government appears to be losing friends at the big end of town.

A survey from Institute of Company Directors has found the nation’s most powerful board rooms are not happy with the Coalition’s performance.

Their confidence in the Government has slumped to the lowest level seen since last year’s election.

company directors are saying that government decisions are hurting their businesses and hurting their customers, hurting consumer confidence as well.

6. A busy week

Last week was a busy week for me, the next one will be also. Moreover, I could be out three nights which will nearly halve the time I have for posting. We’ll see how it goes!

14 thoughts on “Saturday salon 8/11”

  1. The business leaders are loosing confidence in Abbott because he’s too populist and wet to implement the Liberal Party philosophy that he was elected to implement.
    He won’t touch industrial relations because the media will scream Workchoices.
    He brought back the ABCC in the toothless, useless form it was before alp axed it ( yes, it failed to prosecute any of the corruption uncovered by the Royal Commission into union corruption, not that you can find any coverage in the media of it )
    None of the ” regulation bonfires ” have eased the regulatory and financial burden of alp/green red and green tape.
    Apart from the co2 tax and the mythical mining tax there is no relief to companies on the taxation front .
    Sure he got some trade tariffs removed but not till 2020.
    He keeps spending and borrowing like an alp Treasurer.
    His exorbitant PPL and big business sapping Direct action.
    He refuses to defund or privatise any government funded monoliths that compete with and crowd out private enterprises.

    No wonder their not happy.

  2. Jeez Jumpy, then who the f**k is Abbott pleasing? Not me, and nobody I know is impressed, grateful or relieved.

    Same in Queensland. At least here the prospect of Newman having to find a new job soon is a realistic outlook. So long as Seeney is also sent elsewhere of course. The chance of a Labor victory is slim to zero, but a change of LNP leader would be nice.

    Napthine brings a wry smile to my face as he tries to buy his government into office. I know nothing about the Vic Labor party – I hope they are good and are not caught up in the same sort of web NSW Labor (& Lib) parties are tainted with.

    About the ABC and its ratings. I watch ABC and SBS more than the free to air (FTA) because the latter group offer poor program choices.Their programs, whatever their interest, are so peppered with ads that the actual program time is cut by as much as 25% or more sometimes it seems. And the quality of the ads does not help. OK there is a good argument about costs to be had but there is a lot of room to get better.
    So whilst I’m pleased ABC is getting good comparative ratings, if their benchmark is FTA then they have the opportunity to get even better too.

  3. Geoff

    Jeez Jumpy, then who the f**k is Abbott pleasing? Not me, and nobody I know is impressed, grateful or relieved.

    In 2 years time we’ll get the beetle race ( the lesser of 2 weevils ) to test the electorates memories.
    Next year in March-ish there’s both QLD and NSW elections to test us.
    In QLD no Senate so greens can’t game the ridiculous voting process up here should realise much improvement in ALP seats but fall very short.
    NSW ? I’m not informed enough the make a call.
    ( have I mentioned that Senators should be chosen by sortition of willing citizens 🙂 )

  4. On the ABC,
    With the Net and all other media outlets nowadays, if the ABC didn’t exist, any party that proposed introducing it ( at $1,200,000,000.00 p/a ) would be ridiculed and rightly so.
    Add to that they suggested no conservative presenters at all on tv and 1 or 2 tokens on the web site.

  5. Bargain!

    Certainly a damn sight less than we pay for the so-called “free” to air commercial channels.

  6. So less than a dollar a week per person for our ABC eh? Bargain!

    Around 50% of the population pay no net tax, so for them, it’s free. Bargain indeed.
    $100 per year for the rest of us regardless of if we watch/listen/read it or not = No choice.

    “Free to air ” is just that, it’s ultimately paid for purchasers of products advertised =
    Free choice.
    Zero cost regardless of if we watch/listen or not.

    The ABC runs at a $ 1.2 billion loss each year. A massive competitive advantage over it’s competition.
    Even if it’s competition ( as sometimes falsely stated ) paid zero tax, we’ed be far better off financially if they took it over.

  7. Around 50% of the population pay no net tax …

    jumpy, I think your confusing “tax” and “income tax”.
    For example I paid no income tax last year, but I paid quite a bit in fuel excise, GST, etc et-bloody-cetera.
    And MY money went to pay for hospitals I will never visit and roads I will never drive on and education for other people’s kids and helicopters which don’t do a thing for me and submarines which never go underwater and wars in Iraq which are a total waste of MY money … shall I continue?

  8. zoot @ 10

    …shall I continue?

    Please do….
    Perhaps clarify how you payed no income tax, was it because you had no income and were living off savings ?
    What fuel you use and where you drive ( Fed or State ).?
    Why you think you won’t visit a hospital ( State )?
    Which helicopters your talking about ( Fed military or State rescue ) ?
    Do you think there is a revenue or spending problem with either State or Federal governments ?
    What are, in your view, essential services that the taxpayer has an obligation to fund ?
    Conversely, which services should ” user pay “?

    Shall I continue ?

  9. SG.
    I should clarify, I was talking about ABC ( Australia ) not PBS and NPR ( USA )
    Oh, and ” wages forgone ” is a made up thing, not real.

  10. jumpy, you’re right – I’m living off my savings.
    What are, in your view, essential services that the taxpayer has an obligation to fund ?

  11. Jumpy: The tax system allows rich leaners like Joe hockey and his friends to pay little income or company tax as a result all sorts of lurks. The system also subsidizes a lot of businesses that are doing quite well thank you kindly. Honest workers would be able to pay less tax if these lurks were sorted out.

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