1. Bill finds his voice
No more zingers for Bill Shorten, and now voice coaching from Dean Frenkel, a throat singer and lecturer in public speaking and communications at Victoria University, who thinks we all need lessons in elocution. After 14 years as a union rabble rouser Bill tried to soften his image. But:
- Shorten’s voice frequently took on a singsong cadence, like a parent telling a bedtime story to a child, especially when delivering the pre-arranged grab for the cameras. He spoke slowly with a high pitch, his intonation rising at the end of sentences. The head tilting unnaturally for emphasis, almost pleading to be liked.
Rather, he came off variously as nervous, patronising, annoying, fake, ridiculous. As the social researcher Hugh Mackay observed last year, Shorten has came across “weak, evasive and untrustworthy”.
Apparently “voters like deep voices, conveying strength, competence and integrity.” So Bill has dropped his tone half an octave and made all sorts of other changes.
So do we have the “real” Bill, or the carefully made up to look real version?
Back in 2014 SPC Ardmona, food processor in Shepparton, was on the ropes because of cheap imports. The Federal Government refused to help.
- It was ultimately saved by a $100 million package including $22 million from the Victorian Government and $78 million from parent company Coca-Cola Amatil.
Now that money is being spent and one of the new major investments is a $30 million tomato line that the company hopes will help it take on cheap dumped imports of tinned tomatoes from Italy.
The production line will double output to 60 tonnes per hour.
Guess what, the machinery came from Italy.
And along the way they won an anti-dumping case against Italian tomato producers.
3. Turnbull’s agile government
The latest management fad seems to be ‘agile management’. Turnbull came to office promising “agile” government. Ben Eltham took a look and found 17 backflips in seven months.
Perhaps that’s why Laura Tingle finds Malcolm Turnbull’s government is in all sorts of shtook.
- It is that at a logistical level, a policy level, even a philosophical level, the government is in all sorts of shtook.
The normal processes of parliament, the budget process, the election timetable have all been whacked off their normal axes.
Voters don’t know, in general, what the government stands for and, where they do think they know, it seems to stand for all the wrong things.
They are confused about a prime minister who seems to stand for things which they don’t think he believes in. More broadly, the Coalition has painted itself into an “unpopulist” corner, largely built on old political ideas and strategies which have not moved with changing times.
Tanya Plibersek says a Labor government would reopen talks on the maritime border and if they failed, they would submit to international arbitration.
The Timorese have suggested that Australia has been negotiating in bad faith on the dispute over who controls the massive oil and gas reserves between the two countries. They’ve sent the dispute to the UN for compulsory negotiation, but it’s not clear that the Turnbull government will participate.
5. Vale Bob Ellis
He was a student at the University of Sydney at the same time as Clive James, Laurie Oakes, Germaine Greer, Les Murray, Bruce Beresford, John Bell, Ken Horler and Mungo McCallum. He wrote film scripts with Paul Cox and Werner Herzog amongst others. He won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Screenplay for Newsfront (1978, with Anne Brooksbank and Phillip Noyce) and for My First Wife (1984, with Paul Cox).
Richard Fidler’s Remembering Bob Ellis, a collection of Bob’s finest and funniest moments, is priceless.
Ellis demonstrated that although not certifiable he was actually nuts when he fled to the Blue Mountains during the Cuban missile crisis with his fiance, Penelope McNicholl, who stole her mother’s car. Penelope’s father was David McNicholl, who looked and acted like Colonel Blimp. The oldies didn’t approve of Bob before he pulled that stunt.
There was no-one like him, at all.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
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.