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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

political passion « Previous | |Next »
September 19, 2007

Catherine Deveny has an op-ed in The Age in which she argues that voters are becoming politically engaged---there's ' a real feeling that it's time for a new direction.'


Deveny says that people are wanting blood on the floor:

The angry and disillusioned are hoping for a grudge match come election night. It's not enough for the Howard Administration to be voted out. People want to see blood. They want to see Howard cockily strutting into the election claiming smugly, "We are the underdog" — a sure-fire sign that a party thinks they've got it in the bag — only for it to go horribly wrong as the votes come in.

Not everyone is angry and disillusioned. I saw a lot of people doing very nicely when I was in cosmopolitan Melbourne, holidaying these last three days. Why would they change?

Sure, it was the Brack's Government, not Howard + Co, who transformed Melbourne into a great and prosperous city. by building on Kennett's reforms. Sure that transformation has taken place within the context of national boom of the 1990s. So there is a lot of money of circulating through Melbourne city thanks to the Howard Liberals.

Are the people who live in, and by, the market wanting a bit of blood? They may see politics as a blood sport, but many would want just Howard to go and Costello to take over and for the modernized Liberals to reign forever. They see Costello conservatism to be different from Howard conservatism--it's softer, more modern and has more of a touch of liberalism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:29 AM | | Comments (57)


Deveny may wrongly feel that being at chick parties watching footy is the new Melbourne cool, but she's right about people wanting change. I want blood:Howard to lose both the election and his seat of Bennelong. I'm tired of the Liberals.

A lot of political journalists have called the election gone for Howard too early. And of course in their world being correct is everything. They want blood now.

It is about wedges; every wedge he runs puts another group offside, another group that wants to see the back of him.

It may be workchoice that finishes him off, but lets be honest workchoice was another wedge, it was supposed to be between the Unions and their members, that one backfired badly I think.

I think that Deveny is whistling in the wind when she writes:

Voters don't want Labor to get in simply because the Liberals have lost the plot. We want great campaigns, inspired speeches, passionate debates, original ideas and a good fight. And oranges covered in toothpicks spiked with cheese, kabana and gherkin.

This is more about her desires than politics as it is actuially being played.

you are probably right--but then the polls have been pretty consistent against the Liberals for most of the year.Apart from the previous Newspoll taken on August31 to September 2, primary support for the Government since June has been in the range of 39 to 41per cent. In this period Labor's support has also been consistent but in the higher range of 46 to 48 per cent. Other polls have shown similar consistency.

We are definitely in uncharted territory. It still will be close as the Liberals will defend some of the marginals they hold to prevent the damage.Howard and the Coalition have a lot of ground to catch up on.

Your heart will be warmed to know that Government tacticians arre telling the Australian that they now had a platform of "stability and definition" around the leadership on which to rebuild their campaign strategy.

This new platform of team Howard-Costello will involve explaining the differences in the qualities and talents that Howard and Costello offer the country: experience and maturity that comes with a mixture of age and youthful vision.

Which marginals do you think that t he Liberals will let go to defend the ones they have the resources to defend?

I think there are two things going on which are inter-related.

Despite our material prosperity (at least for some) there is an enormous psychic reservoir of frustration and anger out "there". Any half sensitive person knows that there is something profoundly missing in our consumerist glee. The work of Clive Hamilton et al is trying to address this issue or the utter emptiness of consumer "culture". And of course most of those on the "right" dismiss his questionings as poobah sour grapes. We have never had it so good, so what are you complaining about. You are just another lefty with a totalitarian agenda that wants to tell us how to live, to limit our freedom(s). Never mind such work as The Captains of Consciousness by Stewart Ewen which long ago showed us how artificial and pre-fabricated our consumer "freedom" really is.

Altogether everyone is looking for some nameless something or someone to blame---the necessary scapegoat---the sacrifice of the man in the middle.

John Howard fits the man in the middle perfectly. He has been the man in the middle constantly for over ten years.
This is due both to the relentless media gotcha game of politics as media entertainment---Howards face and words are everywhere, every day, morning, noon, and night. And to Howards own tendency to control everything and to be uno numero---Howard IS the government.

He is the necessary scapegoat "victim".

Fortunately our culture is still sufficiently civilized such that no blood will be spilt when Howard is deposed.

re your comment Despite our material prosperity (at least for some) there is an enormous psychic reservoir of frustration and anger out "there".

Ross Gittins' op ed in the SMH illustates this. He says that Home ownership is becoming increasingly unaffordable because the demand for well-located housing exceeds its supply, thus pushing up prices. He adds that this situation is largely of our own making because our homes are at the centre of our material aspirations.

As much as I want to see blood flow I do not see the 2007 election as a repeat of the 1996 election when voters were waiting with "baseball bats" to get rid of the government. They are not.

Am a little suspicious of Deveny at the moment; in fact the entire Fairfax network and its loose informal media affiliates. It is diminished by the absence through ill-health of Ken Davidson and too many of its other writers seem AWOL on mental walkabout. As Lyn says, too much "chick cool" and september footy ( which am also addicted to )
The other comments here are informative, BTW.
Back to Deveny. The thing is, the claim that Howard's opponents want Howard's blood; are "bitter and disillusioned" . Like others here, I fall into that category. But Deveny is on the verge of switching attention away from Howard onto his opponents and a person is immediately suspicious of such a gambit gambit. People are resentful, allright, but its not neccesarily a pathological thing.
It's more to do with increased anger at longterm pathological behaviours of the government itself and am not sure Deveny has made that distinction clear enough.

I think there are a lot of people who keep watching 'Don's Party' and hoping that this time the ending will be different and they can gloat over the Libs after all.

The vast majority of Australians don't feel strongly about politics, no matter how much we tragics might wish it were different. If - if - there's a change of government it will be because about 5 or 6 people in every 100 changed their vote from 2004. The other 94 or 95 will feel just the same way they always did. Hardly the stuff of a national mood swing.


I don't think it's about Howard's blood either. Maybe for the passionate, but for others it's about something else.

Deveney is a bit over the top about "great campaigns, inspired speeches, passionate debates, original ideas and a good fight". It's asking a bit much for people to go from disengagement to demands for great political oratory.

But there's definitely something going on. Maybe there's just a lack of anything else to talk about. We haven't had blokes stuck down a mine or a Jake Kovco for a while.

I don't think we are at that stage of saying that which ones they will let go. They have the resources to defend all the marginals at this stage. They would be more interested in getting good press across the board right now with close attention to all marginals.
Yeah the polls have been bad all year. It really started with the original Work choices then an over all dislike of events in Iraq then the very damaging Hicks affair and then Haneef. It sort of avalanched. A lot of this stuff is settling now and the water between the 2 groups is finding its level. I read the recent jump as just a reality check but there is still more to come.
Watching the commercial news lately the filming has changed. It is far more noticeable with the sound turned down. Lots of negative footage of Rudd ( bad angles/looking confused) when last weeks it has been Howard looking old. Now he is being filmed standing up straight with a happy looking disposition. Rudd copped a lot of face close ups highlighting his crooked teeth with this dentist thing going on. Funny!
But for funny I think the gigantic fly on Paul Kelly's head on Sunday morning tops all so far. Hilarious!

just who is Catherine Deveny.Is she one of these Fairfax journos who have metamorphisised into writing creative non fiction?

I think she is one of those vacuous airheads referred to in Shelley Gare's recent book.

* I know you are specifically directing your Deveny question to Lyn, but as one who follows Fairfax online, must comment I feel your description is fair.
Deveny is not bad a lot of the time, but has gone a bit silly recently, a bit like another of their usually good writers,( Dr) Lesley Cannold, who suddenly fell into valorising cosmetic surgery and botox. Deveny's big moral issue just now is outrage over women taking their husbands names when they marry.
None of your small beer like starving Sudanese or Dili slums or even the serious problems that afflict working people in our own country. Oddly though, Deveny actually usually DOES "do" real things; a caustic review of Serfchoices a little while back had people rolling about in the aisles.
Elsewhere, experienced feminist commentator Dr. Jocelyn Scutt also wonders if some of the middle class faux feminist journos are "losing it" too, as to "Middle Class Issues" but that's for another time.
Fairfax's natural demographic finds form in the middle classes of Sydney and Melbourne. Pearson's old Adelaide Review (at its best) showed how small that niche is in a place the size of Adelaide.

I'd be part of the Fairfax demographic, but I find myself at odds with a lot of the op-eds that I read in their newspapers. They are more about entertainment for the above demographic than a serious account of what is happening in Canberra.

The Australian's response--the cultural left is just a bunch of Howard haters who need to be destroyed in the name of the culture wars also leaves me cold.

In his new blog in the New York Times Paul Krugman says:

One of my pet peeves about political reporting is the fact that some of my journalistic colleagues seem to want to be in another business – namely, theater criticism. Instead of telling us what candidates are actually saying – and whether it’s true or false, sensible or silly – they tell us how it went over, and how they think it affects the horse race. During the 2004 campaign I went through two months’ worth of TV news from the major broadcast and cable networks to see what voters had been told about the Bush and Kerry health care plans; what I found, and wrote about, were several stories on how the plans were playing, but not one story about what was actually in the plans.

It is the same in Australia. He adds that there are two big problems with this kind of reporting. The first problem is that it fails to inform the public about what matters. The other problem, is that this sort of coverage often fails even on its own terms, because the way things look to inside-the-Beltway pundits can be very different from the way they look to real people.

Maybe journalists are having trouble adapting to the new style of politics we're seeing and the general mood of anticipation. The observations Paul made about Deveney apply to Shanahan as well, Grattan keeps telling us everything is counter-intuitive. There's clearly a lot of confusion about.

In defence of politics as entertainment and journalists as theatre critics, is that any worse than people switching off because the serious side of politics is deadly dull? Would it be better for democracy if that audience stuck with Australian Idol?

There's a better chance of people absorbing some serious information if they see politics as a blood sport or celebrity gossip than if they're so bored they switch off.

The posts have me in mind of the Kostakidis upset, as it relates also to newspapers.
It's to do with demographics, all right. People are abandoning traditional media and in droves. Particularly the young who are hived off as an opportunity for commercial interests with things like games and men and more intelligent women, who have the financial clout to afford new technology. These latter are out in the real world and require accurate information to maintain authentic living.

What's left, particularly on commercial TV, is "TV for the disenfranchised"; stuff like Australian Idol, BB and the Housewife soapies, as well as the panel shows that have become staple fare on ABC and SBS. These reinforce the shift, driving away yet more educated people to the Internet and other technologies. TV and press find the old demographic has abandoned them.

To regain a share of a shrinking demographic they have embarked on a process of program change for a proposed "new demographic" tied with a different representation of themselves. There is an overtly ideological component, as evident with the ABC and SBS, that includes dumb programs and a "dumb" ( eg "lively" ) presentation of the station or newspaper involved; the phenomena or process known as "dumbing down".
Think of men like Mark Scott at the ABC or Shaun Brown at SBS. Or women editing "women's" magazines. Think of their ilk in newspapers, like Ron Walker.

The problem audiences face is that during the current political cycle, people in charge are also politicised: The above are all appointees of consevatives, and right-wingers themselves. So they qualitively as well as quantatively dumb down mass media. Not only form changes but, for ideologically-challenged zealots in executive positions, there is the temptation for substantial change away from scrutiny of private enterprise, advocacy of Keynesianism and goals like public information and community interest, represented through unbiased current affairs and documentaries.

So, under cover of making TV or newspapers more "attractive" to a "younger" (age-ism?), or more "female", or "male", involving non- stop sport, more "aspirational" ( eg, greedy, selfish and shallow ), audiences, precisely that information most sought by intelligent, productive people is withheld most emphatically by Howardist capitalism.

We follow the march to ignorance of the Catholic Habsburg empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, instead.
For example, a true appreciation of what is going on the NT with Aborigines and its Implications, becomes denied, including through "attrition". "Young" and or "female" people, or "real" men, don't want to "know" about these things, we are told- they allegedly want "non ideological" lifestyle stuff, instead.
From here changes to privacy, civil liberties and FOI etc can follow, in the absence of scrutiny.
The sort of situation in Iraq, or described in the thread about US Sub-prime casino capitalism can thus develop, threatening us all, because independent and critical surveying of the system has become denied, in favour of gushy obscurantist "aspirational" crap.

In order to survive, once- independent journalists like Deveny must devalue or morph into "lifestyle", although I think it's wrong to put them in the same basket as people like Shanahan, who are irretrievably dogma-ridden dolts, or not sympathise with their plight, too.

I remember years ago reading of a concept called "repressive tolerance". This concept realises that modern capitalism no longer relies on overt brutalism to survive, at least at the technology-rich "Centre". Covert intimidation ( "you could lose your job for 'operational reasons'! ") and corruption ( "here's a nice new contract; just for you!!") works so much more effectively and noiselessly.
And also functions as marvellous resentment-inducing "wedge"- Divided we Fall.

your dumbing down theories are proven here with the quality of ABC programs making it into the top 15

ABC into the 20's in ratings...they would be pleased!

Les, I just resent it.
The commercial stations and Foxtel provide much the same sort of shit for escapism, in spades.
Can't the authorities leave just a couple of viewing spaces alone for people who want to learn or know about reality?
You know, the sort of thing that 4 Corners in its own admittedly inadequate way showed us on Monday.
It's not a Brady Bunch world, so how does it help to pretend it is, and lazily thus supply ONLY dog-vomit tv and newspapers, when we HAVE to know about other things to survive as individuals and as a nation?

Matt Price on the ALP tactics in Parliament yesterday:

The strategy behind Labor's co-ordinated group dummy-spit was crystal clear. With hostilities set to escalate, any criticism of Rudd can be summarily dismissed as part of this nasty, premeditated smear/fear/sneer campaign. All this reflexive collective whimpering may prove effective, but it's nonetheless transparent. And pathetic.

I would argue that the strategy was designed to place the Coalition on the backfoot and it succeeded. The Coalition are seen to be running a smear campaign instead of developing policies about the future of Australia.

Contrary to what most commentators are saying, the Coalition looked bad yesterday. Howard was poor in the debate and Costello really lost it when Rudd attacked him for lack of courage in taking out Howard.

The Coalition ads are beginning to dominate the ad breaks now in the main time slots.
They are well made with very well picked people explaining things plainly and convincingly. So all the opposition has left is a fear campaign or Kevin saying how wonderful life will be with him.
The Coalition will win the TV war easily. Labor needs to find another Hicks or Haneef type issue to make people angry or they are just sitting ducks.

It is clear that you have become a minority

Yes it its an election campaign morphed into an orchestrated smear campaign by black propaganda smear artists like Price and Milne (don't you just HATE yuppies! ).
Never ceases to amaze me how many people are fooled by Price and his feigned impartialty.

Now we're being treated to pronouncements from both Howard and Costello. We seem to have an excess of prime ministers.

in the sticks and stones session of yesterday's Question Time Costello was the dominant force. He was effectively their leader. Howard was the shadow. Howard did not look as statemanlike and rational as Laura Tingle says in the AFR. He could not look Julia Gillard in the eye when she adressed him.

re your comment

The Coalition ads are beginning to dominate the ad breaks now in the main time slots.They are well made with very well picked people explaining things plainly and convincingly. So all the opposition has left is a fear campaign or Kevin saying how wonderful life will be with him.

Coalition adds? The election has yet to be called. All that I see are the ads of Big Business. Do you mean these? If so, they are very crude.

Or do you mean the Government ads featuring Barbara Bennett promoting Workchoices? The controversial ones designed to build Bennett as an authoritative figure, which have been criticiized by the ALP as overtly political?

Or do you mean something ellse--the Post-it note telling people that their fears and anxieties about WorkChoices are groundless?

The superannuation ones ( the ones like the women who works in a Dr's reception and takes part of her super and works part time) and the ones that seek to alleviate peoples fears of workchoises ( the one with the girl in the phone in room)
The ads that don't mention the coalition just at the end they say "authorized by the government...spoken by...

Public service announcements really do have much more status than political ads don't you think nan?


I noticed that too. We saw an effective mix of Howard's eyes and Gillard's response. Quite good camera work I thought.

Costello was nearly hoarse. Not much statesman like to look at all round really. The thing that surprised me was that Rudd played into it. I've got that down as his second slip after the tax rate thing. Obviously Labor need to aim at Costello now, but they don't have to yell about it.


How do you tell the difference?

I interpret it differently. The ALP needled the Coalition with the smear campaign tease; the Coalition bit the bait in frustration; Costello tried to turn the tables with the 'where's your evidence' barister performance routine; and the ALP (Rudd and Gillard) went him and Howard and wounded them; Abbott was left to yell interjections and he lost the tactical parliamentary battle cos he was seen as just defending the old PM from the cut and thrust of the bear pit.

It was political passion being expressed in terms of a dog fight over territory.

The ALP got the headlines they wanted, despite the furious spin from the News Ltd papers about Rudd losing it and Labor being on the back foot.

The overall implication? Political power has shifted. It's an even contest now. That's a significant shift in Canberra where Coalition have ruled ruthlessly.

Well Lyn they are called different things. Apart from that there are no differences

In terms of strategy, yes, they've pretty much neutralised the smear and the coverage certainly got that message across. Howard's disadvantage is that his tactics are predictable. It will be interesting to see whether, as the campaign progresses, Labor start introducing topics Howard simply won't contemplate. He's vulnerable to wedges himself.

True as well on the power shift, although I'd argue that's been happening for a while now. Yesterday made it official. I recall Downer saying Rudd's behaving as though he's already won, which is true. But it's also true that at this point the coalition's elbow room is limited. They can't play that too far without looking resentful, same as the longer they leave calling the election the more frightened/stubborn/selfish/pathetic they look.

Howard has been so dominant that his continued presence is a handicap.

I'm doubtful about how the brawl itself would play in voterland. The narrative - Labor asks innocent question, Liberals go berserk and Howard crumbles - aspect works. But the attention grabbing bits were pure brawl.



It's all advertising and advertising is annoying. More advertising is more annoying and a lot of advertising is very annoying.

Would you be willing to estimate the proportion of political advertising or the proportion of Labor/Liberal advertising?

I am intrigued by the number of prescriptions being written for anti depressants in Oz. If the numbers are true they would be a target.
Perhaps offering some sort of government subsidized counseling administered by the larger welfare providers (free to users)would be a nice little vote earner. It certainly would get the welfare agencies wagging their tails in support.

I would be willing to estimate that the governent has about 200 million in their back pocket for advertising and the oppositition has 27 million

I quote from an op-ed by Gordon Farrer in The Age:

A briefing paper in April — prepared by the Department of Workplace Relations to inform the Government's television campaign and featuring Workplace Authority chief Barbara Bennett — found that people believe WorkChoices has hurt working people and their families. It reported the "key emotions" of the community response to the new laws included fear, panic, insecurity, cynicism, distrust and disempowerment.

The two images that have formed in the community's minds about WorkChoices, the report said, are of a pendulum that has swung too far in favour of employers and of the little guy pitted alone and unprotected against the big corporations and the Government. This response does not come only from "soft" Labor voters.

Advertising appeals to the emotions not to reason. In this op-ed by in The Age Gordon Farrer predicts that the Coalition will lose because of the way the human brain works:

Backed by research in neuroscience, political psychologists argue that the thought processes behind decision-making — including how we vote at elections — are fundamentally emotional, not rational.

Reading on it refers to the discovery of rhetoric by psychologists.

I've seen some of the Workchoice adverts that you refer to. Kerry from the Workplace Information line invites people to call and check how much they should be paid or what their terms and conditions are.Mark from the Workplace Authority tells how he scrutinises AWAs to ensure they meet the fairness test.Sonia smiles as she informs how she and others from the Workplace Ombudsman ensure people are not being underpaid and overworked. She and other inspectors are visiting more than 20,000 businesses a year.

These are reassuring adverts ---informing workers in low-skilled and labour-intensive industries such as retail and cleaning that they would not be exploited.

That they have been exploited by employers legally reducing penalty rates and overtime is a problem of the Howard Government's own making.

People on the lower levels of pay in australia are generally on better deals than other western countries. In particular I am thinking compared to America.
I spoke to some cleaners last week that were on 14.50per hour fulltime with all the usual benefits. They were not on AWA's. Of course they were not happy with their takehome pay but that is life. Their skill base and level of intelligence was low so they were at their place in society.
There will always be those at the bottom of the ladder.


Yale has been doing some interesting research in similar fields, the Law school of all people. Along with the Lakoff stuff it's all coming together to knock rational choice theory out of the ring. We are not as rational as some like to think we are, and we don't get more rational just because we come in larger numbers.

it sounds as if you are referring to populism; populism understood as an emotional, simplistic, and manipulative discourse directed at the "gut feelings" of the people, or with opportunistic policies aimed at "buying" support.

re cleaners skill base etc--some of them are actually recently retrenched older supervising technicians from the restructured and downsized broadcasting industry--some are also driving school buses, fuel trucks etc.. They have a great wealth of broad, modern technical skills and were conscientious and reliable workers--(the sorts of trademen you'd like to fix your car or maintain aircraft).

I guess I am saying that a lot of people that turn up for interviews are not worth even the basic wage.
Quite often it is better to employ a 15 year old on $9 per hour than an adult on $17 because they are less trouble.

the everyday language of politics is not really captured by rational choice theory. It is more easily represented by Maria Tumarkin in today's Age, who says:

In the public arena, a coward is often the one who lacks manliness — the effeminate, the emasculated, the sissy. If to have balls is to have courage, then to have a pussy, is, well, to be a pussy. You can include women in this linguistic boys' club by speaking of women with balls (and there are plenty of them around), but you cannot go the other way and proclaim, "he is one tough pussy". In other words, if you want to insult a man, go for his balls.

And politicians do, of course, from dusk to dawn. They accuse each other of lacking the guts and not having the balls all day, every day. Kevin Rudd, for instance, when unable to provide evidence in the Parliament that the revelation of his heart surgery was part of the Liberal-run smear campaign, resorted to going for Costello's balls. Costello, Rudd said, was a coward who lacked the intestinal fortitude to challenge Howard. Hearts were replaced with balls, balls and more balls.
Balls stand for emotion not reason. courage, It is not heart, but guts and balls that tend to take the centre stage. To have balls is to have courage.

This explains Latham' defeat. Although he had the requesite courage, he was still short of requisite balls.

Thinking on it, I actually think Les'comments from an employer viewpoint make some sense. What does an employer do trying to cover a job if the workpool is inadequate?
Can we blame lack of training?
What if there are only so many people who can respond to retraining and still not enough workers; how does the economy decide which sectors stay and which go, eg clothing textiles footwear, or some "on the land"?

Further to this Paul I think realistically the unions have done too good a job raising wages at the bottom end of the market. I would think that somewhere around $11 per hour casual is about right. Across the board that is no matter whether the person is 15 or 65. As I said before quite often the younger employees are better workers and more reliable than the older ones. Quite often there is good reasons why mature age vacancy seekers are still sitting at the bottom of the workforce ladder.
Now as to the argument that these people are overpaid. Hypothetically transfer our pay rates and holiday, sickies and super structure over night the all lower end workers in America. What happens? Disaster.

I suppose that some would argue that at $11 per hour people would not be able to get in the real estate market and would be trapped in life time rentals. Yes this is true but it is true anyway. Remember when you could buy nice houses for 120,000 5 years ago. Well most of the rental properties were rented by people that couldn't get in the market then. So they wont now either.

I understand your point, Les.
but don't you see if they couldn't afford a house then, on todays standards how can they even rent one on low wages with no job security; let alone buy one?
I still think it stinks that people like Trujillo and the people who run Macbank on eight-digit incomes never have to show "restraint": it is always exclusively demanded of folk on the bottom.
No, I don't see why I should have to, in effect subsidise people on $fifteen MILLION a year, when I make do on a disability pension. These guys are supposed to be smarter than me- they should be able to get by on less, not more.
I can get by on my pitiful income without being too miserable and living within my means, what's with these other guys?
Besides, as you yourself admit, employers are not going to give people my age a fair go even if we DO try- why bother and why NOT fight the stinking thing?

I remember reading something 20 years ago that predicted the large numbers of people that would be living in rental accommodation and unable to buy. I remember laughing at it. Seems I laughed too soon and it became right.
I really don't have a problem with corporate flighers earning big bucks as long as they are getting it from companies that have done well. Its basically the same as if the local video store is doing well its usually because its well managed. But I don't agree of managers taking huge pays for taking businesses back wards.
I can't really comment on your personal circumstances because I don't know you or how you came to the point you are. I would suspect that you are an educated man, well read and from the way you present your comments especially the late night ones that you have a good supply of your own well written poetry.
I figure that you had your turn of making a reasonable living.

Getting back to my point that wagers are too high. What Australia needs to do is reinvent the blue collar workers. The low payed hard working battler. We need to start manufacturing again and we need to encourage companies that use our natural resources to come to here instead of places like India and build factories. We have large amounts of unused land we should be saying OK we have a train line that runs from Adelaide to Darwin. Ok pick a spot you want to build and the lands yours. Somewhere around port Augusta would be my pick. Then let them start and import the workers from the Philippines or Africa or where ever they are cheap. Pay them $5 an hour feed them and give them dongas to live in. 3 months here then send them back for a few weeks and bring them back.

I forgot to mention the big water pipe that runs along the side of the train line from Darwin to Adelaide and the african workers that are going to work on it for 2 years for citizenship. And the fuckin huge de-salination plant on either end.
Fuck broadband, Fuck Health...We have got to make the engine room of Astralia work

Les, by the sound of that, you must have watched the "Difference of Opinion" with Hewson and others a little while back.
Someone said something a little along your lines in suggesting part of the surplus be spent on completing the dual carriageway between Sydney and Melbourne. Under those circumstances, it was felt that towns along this artery would be able to grow quicker and take pressure off the big cities, where big and expensive solutions always seem to be needed for metropoli (?) out of control.
Certainly immigration has increased recently, but I'd like to know a bit more about water supplies power, transport etc, before I committed to large population increases- I've always felt they needed to get the underlying questions sorted a bit better, earlier.

No I didn't see that show. I never thought much of Hewson to be honest but he is welcome to agree with me on any subject.
Yes we really need to get the water situation sorted out before we have major immigration. My idea to bring Africans in to build the pipeline is a. because they could handle the conditions.b they will work for dole equivalent wages. c. they would be more recognizable if they wandered off.
Also the pipeline could carry seawater and could be desalinated at the point of use.
Not only would it give Oz the ability to grow it would give the aboriginals a future.

The saturation TV campaign by the Howard government, including highly misleading workplace ads, is an abominable waste of our taxes.
They've sold nearly all the public assets we once owned. Every workday I pass the former Commonwealth explosives factory at Truganina in Victoria, now owned by Orica.
Where have all the billions of dollars created by these sales gone Peter Costello?


The ads are no more misleading than beer or burger ads. Its Tv don't forget.

reading some of your comments puts me in mind of what it must feel like to be Barnaby Joyce, after a lunch with Bill Heffernan.

Thats a good one Paul. I think if I was lunching with Bill and Barnaby. Barnaby would be lunch.