Saturday salon 6/12


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. Minister now has untrammelled power over asylum seekers

The event of the week must be the passage of the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 which “has given the immigration minister, while he holds that job, unprecedented, unchallengeable, and secret powers to control the lives of asylum seekers.”

In effect under the bill the minister can do anything he chooses, he can ignore the UN convention and avoid legal challenge – the courts have been sidelined.

I hope to do a separate post early next week but cross bench senators have been suckered by the promise that children will be released from detention, something the minister already had the power to do.

2. Lies, barnacles and headless chooks

As part of the service, here’s Labor’s little book of Abbott lies. Thanks to John D for the link.

I meant to link last week to Peter Hartcher’s commentary on barnacle scraping.

Back in Gillard’s time journalists would find some back-bench malcontent and then quote him or her as a “Labor source”. Now Hartcher quotes some LNP Howard era survivors. For example:

“It would be a luxury for Abbott to be able to knock off some barnacles. It supposes that he has a ship. This government has no purpose, no sense of direction. The prime minister’s office is so busy managing everything they manage nothing. It’s Rudd all over again.”

One complaint is that a series of slogans is not a narrative. Another is that Peta Credlin controls everything, including Abbott. Abbott, however, seems happy in his bondage, pointing out that Credlin’s strategies knocked off Rudd and eventually delivered them power.

Lenore Taylor takes a look at the Government’s morning memoranda, the song sheets issued to LNP pollies so that they can answer questions from the media.

Mark Textor says that

“Economic anxiety is number one, two and three on the issue agenda.”

Textor said the government needed to find “really greater clarity around what is the core to the economic strategy. Is it to diversify the economy? Is it to rekindle parts of the mining and resources community? Is it to release growth through greater productivity? … As I said, those questions, from an economic perspective, still have to be answered.”

Negotiating individual budget items through the cross-bench maze makes the Government look like headless chooks. Well, at least unstable and short-term.

3. Christopher Pyne’s deregulation crusade starts now

One barnacle still there is Pyne’s higher education ‘reform’ bill. The Government lost the senate vote, but immediately submitted a new bill to the lower hose, virtually the same but stripped of some of the nasties. As far as I can see allowing the universities to charge what they like will increase the cost of degrees, especially in the G08 sandstone universities, and lead to a greater variety in standards. Also 20% of government university funding will be stripped out.

Staff and students oppose it, VCs, especially of the G08, like it. One vice-chancellor compared the universities peak body to a flesh-eating disease!

To me, it’s pretty much the end of university education as a public good, and a complete marketisation of the sector. Pyne’s right, it probably will happen eventually, given the basic conservatism of the cross bench mob.

4. Tax payers to subsidise training priests and other religious workers

Taxpayers would subsidise the training of priests and other religious workers at private colleges for the first time under the Abbott government’s proposed higher education reforms.

As well as deregulating university fees and cutting university funding by 20 per cent, the government’s proposed higher education package extends federal funding to students at private universities, TAFES and associate degree programs.

5. Secular school ‘chaplains’ get the chop

The Government is moving to purify and cleanse the school chaplaincy program by excluding the class who are actually qualified to do the job – secular welfare workers.

This is an idealogical stance you’d expect from the Tea Party.

Peter Sherlock, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Divinity, says:

if the program continues, it must continue to fund secular as well as religious chaplains. It is blatant discrimination to require all school chaplains at state schools to be auspiced by religious organisations.

13 thoughts on “Saturday salon 6/12”

  1. Where was this thread and exposition of reality before the last election.

    It defies belief that a compulsive liar could gain control of a country claiming that his opponent told one lie, and was therefore unfit to govern.

    Labours book of Abbott lies is a good start but there is so much more. I want to see Greg Combet’s compendium, and I would like for there to be a YouTube of the factory vists that Abbott did and aired on daytime ABC so people can see how Abbott pestered retirees into believing his anti climate change diatribe.

    The Peta Credlin pupeteer aspect of Abbott should be a scandal, and it leaves me wondering where the person came from. Was she a gift from Rupert Murdoch with an agenda to deliver……

  2. BilB, Peta Credlin is married to Brian Loughnane, the Director of the Liberal Party. It is said that she is something of a feminist and pretty much interviewed Abbott and put him through the wringer before she took the job.

    Here’s a story from one of Rupert’s people.

  3. Thanks for that, Brian. I could not see any evidence of my Nova style conspiracy, but looking at the Loughnane, Abbott, Credlin squeeze it becomes sufficiently interesting. Here is one take on Credlins mangement style

    and it is interesting that Loughnane sidelined James McGrath who was Turnbull’s appointee creating a possible fracture in the structure that will appear when it all starts to fall apart for Abbott.

  4. That is a good expose on the subject (article), Brian. The issue with Credlin must be that a person affecting government to that degree must be visible and accessible to the public.

    Credlin has to have the guts to stand and be elected like every other politician.

    This is not playing the gender card, as Credlin was clearly part of the process to demolish Gillard snidely from behind the scenes. Credlin can’t cope with public scrutiny.

  5. Actually, the more I think about it the more it seems clear that Credlin is the best asset that Labour has.

    Your link above demonstrates the divisive effect of a controlling personalty. Advantage 1. Secondly what has the Coalition actually achieved? absolutely nothing. They say they’ve disposed of the carbon price and the mining tax. Big deal, these are demolisions, not constructions. Any political terrorist can tear things down, as Abbott has, but it takes real substance to actually build things, to build real policy with a positive effect.

    Abbott/Credlin/Loughnane achieved their obsession of getting rid of what they called a “toxic tax”, yet every commentator, business leader, politician is now saying that a carbon tax was the simplest and best way to go. The mining tax was rendered ineffective by corporate creative accounting as I predicted it would be, so what has [Abbott] (I am going to refer to Abbott in future as [Abbott] to recognise that he is not alone) achieved in doing this? Nothing.

    He [they] is/are a big zero. So Credlin and Loughnane for all of their influence have only achieved delaying effective action on Climate Change, and no one is going to see the good side of that as the seasons roll by, each one noticably different to its last.

  6. Heard on ABC Breakfast this morning. Kevin Andrews is going to stand down soon – what that means I’m not sure – and Credlin is going to contest his seat.

  7. Wow, that is going to be interesting. Do I rightly recall Lib criticism for parachuted Labour politicians?

    If Credlin glides into cabinet taking Andrews cabinet position, that will mean that the brain pool goes down by one. No improvement, in fact a weaker government to keep performing an already dismal effort.

    Then there will be a group bypassed backbench females with good reason to be disgruntled, not that matters to Abbott, the minister for womens affairs. More likely though he would pass that portfolio over to Credlin as it is clear that Abbott was a stand in in the role.

    This would the free Abbott up to apply his full efforts to insulting aboriginals by meddling in their affairs in order to make some real budget savings there.

  8. Well that would give rise to a song on the decks of HMAS Barnacle, possibly even a new anthem,

    “What shall we do with the budgey smuggler,
    What shall we do with the budgey smugler,
    Earlie in the morning”

    (Sung the “drunken sailor” song)

    A good auld sea shanty to mark [Abbott’s] passing would be appropriate as his was a very navy oriented administration,….relocating refugees, finding lost planes, shirtfronting Putins navy, not shadowing whaling ships, Navy centenary celebrations, not building submarines in Australia, naming a new HMAS Australia, for instance. The Australian Navy will definitely want, in an appropriate way, to remember Addott.

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