Saturday, September 14, 2013

Criteria for Selecting a Liberal Party Leader

In the spirit of balance the following is a list of Selection Criteria for a Liberal Party leader:

Liberal Leader - Selection Criteria
  • Quick as a wink
  • Complete faith in the trickle-up theory of economics
  • Bowed when being duchessed
  • Looks good in lycra
  • Not suppository of all knowledge
  • Can tell the baddies from the goodies
  • Not-bad-looking daughters
  • Friends in high (media) places
  • Master of monosyllabic catch phrases
  • Fetching in orange safety vest and hardhat or butcher’s apron
  • Tunnel and rear vision
  • Parrots platitudes perfectly
  • A touch of homophobia and misogyny
  • Avoids in depth media events
  • Attends weddings and sporting events on taxpayers
  • Invisibility: Answer no questions, tell no lies
  • Agility to keep an election promise without meaning to

Any resemblance to Tony Abbott is purely intentional.

Please add your thoughts on criteria in comments.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Albanese versus Shorten: Democracy is coming... to the ALP?

All members of the Australian Labor Party and its supporters should be very pleased about the upcoming ballot for Federal leader. So should all those who are interested in seeing a healthy and vibrant democracy down under.

Update (24 Sep): It's definitely a presidential style campaign to fit the nature of politics these days. The vote for #LaborLeader has turned into a version of the US primaries. We have two party debates for ALP and union members this week: one in Sydney tonight, the other in Melbourne on Friday. Both are sure to be booked out already. You can watch the first one live on ABC24 at 7.30.

The media will be looking for knockout punches or embarrassing moments. Let's hope we get some vision and real policy ideas.

Update (23 Sep): The candidates seem to be agreeing with one another quite a lot. The latest is the cutback to single parent benefits. Are we about to enter another golden age of consensus Labor politics? Incidentally, who is the silver bodgie, Bob Hawke, supporting?

Meanwhile ALP member Patricia Amphlett aka Little Pattie has a video endorsement for comrade Albanese:

Comments are disabled for this video but you can can learn more about why "It's Time for Albo" at the Artists for Albo Facebook page where comments are allowed.

Update (21 Sep 2013): Please click to hear Bill Shorten's radio interview with Richard Glover on 20 Sep on 702 studio.(ABC Local)

Update (20 Sep 2013): Attended the Per Capita event on Thursday with Albo and will get to next Wednesday's forum with Bill.

I'm still waiting for more detailed proposals for party reform, including those to modernise the relationship with the unions and their membership. Anthony stated the obvious when he said the party without trade unions is not a Labor party. Party members need more commitment from both candidates on this vital issue.

The transcript of Albo's speech to Per Capita forum is here. The video is also now online. Does anyone has a version without SkyNews branding or the latest video from Bill Shorten's campaign??

Update (17 Sep 2013): I've just joined a Facebook group Local Labor: members supporting the Faulkner/Bracks/Carr reforms. Take a look if you're a party member or thinking of joining. It's an open group - just ask to join.
Local Labor is a cross-factional voice inside the ALP advocating on behalf of ordinary members and local branches for the implementation of urgent reforms to revitalise the Party and more deeply engage with our communities.
The decision of the National Executive to give all ALP members financial on election day is a real breakthrough, if just one important step towards a more democratic, collaborative party.

I'll be more than satisfied with either Anthony Albanese or Bill Shorten as our leader. At this stage I'm in the undecided camp with a leaning towards @Albo.

It is time to develop a set of Selection Criteria:

My suggestions include, in no priority order:

ALP Leader - Selection Criteria
  • Public profile and reputation
  • Potential election winner
  • Strong, articulate political performer
  • Vision for Australia
  • Proposals for ALP democratisation and revitalisation
  • Position on current issues: eg. Repeal of Emissions Trading Scheme/Carbon Price; Asylum Seekers/Refugees; Marriage Equality; Indigenous Australia
  • Ideas for Policy Change & Innovation
  • Personal Qualities
  • Communication skills

Please add your thoughts in comments. Will publish an updated list before ballot papers arrive.

For some balance: Criteria for Selecting a Liberal Party Leader

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Andrew Robb: Master of Weasel Words on Overseas Aid

I was no great surprise that Shadow Finance Minister and Federal member for Goldstein was party to the $4.5 billion cut to Overseas Aid announced today by the Liberal/National Coalition as part of their shameful five minutes to midnight election costings.

I'm reposting my coverage of the Goldstein forum during the 2010 election for Th!nkAboutIt, Survive Past Five: Making Poverty Political, for those who care to listen to Robb's 'qualified' support for overseas aid. The developing world can now eat his words, as the Opposition has walked away, not just from 0.7 but from 0.5 of Gross National Income by 2015.

Words such as  opportunist and populist do not come close to capturing the cynicism of this electioneering ploy.

Celebrating a child's fifth birthday is not an unusual event in Australia. However, a birthday cake with five candles and lots of cards is not what you normally expect at a political debate.
For many in the developing world surviving till your 5th birthday can be a special achievement. On average 25,000 children die each day from preventable diseases.
One of the Make Poverty History Electoral Forums drew a crowd of 280 in Melbourne's Goldstein House of Representatives seat on Friday night 28 May 2010. Over 550 birthday cards were handed to the local parliamentarian to take to Canberra instead of the customary petition. They urged all political parties to increase our Overseas Aid to the UN Millennium Development target of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2015.
The Speakers included three candidates for this year's Federal election: Andrew Robb MP (Current Member, Liberal Party of Australia) Nick Eden (Australian Labor Party) and Neil Pilling (Australian Greens). Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia - co-sponsors of the event, also addressed the meeting.
It was an unusual political event for other reasons apart from the presence of many locals well below the voting age. It was held in the Ormond Anglican church with sponsorship from Non Government Organisations (NGOs) including those with religious ties. The audience reflected that. Mention was made in the introdcution of a health project by TEAR Australia that styles itself as 'Engaging Christians in God's work of justice and compassion'.
The focus was Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5: reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. Issues raised included the effectiveness of aid money and programs, economic and budgetary constraints, use of consultants and technical assistance, corruption, and government funding of NGOs. An audience question about 'climate change refugee visas' raised the political heat several degrees.
It was well attended for a political forum even though few of the parties' faithful seemed to be in attendance. I'm an Australian Labor Party member and recognised only one other apart from our candidate.
The video is in two parts.
First, the non-politicos: Host Jennifer Lumsden of the Micah Challenge, junior local Barbara, Tim Costello from World Vision and Chair of Make Poverty History, plus the 5th birthday presentation:
Next come the candidates of the 3 main political parties:
It's seven minutes from seventy but hopefully it's representative of their contributions. To those at the forum: If it seems unbalanced or taken out of context, please use the comments section to set the record straight. Remarks by the Greens candidate, which received the loudest applause of the evening, are absent because I was changing the tape. Sometimes two cameras and two hands are just not enough.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Anthony Albanese's Campaign Speech a Bottler

In case you missed it, here's Anthony Albanese's Campaign Speech at the official launch today.

Star quality!

Transcript of Anthony Albanese's Campaign Launch Speech


Good morning and welcome to the Australian Labor Party 2013 Federal Campaign Launch.

I would like to welcome Lara Watson and her daughter Shania to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land.

[Lara Watson Acknowledgement of Country]

Thank you Lara.

Please welcome Jessica O'Bryan, who will sing the National Anthem.

[Jessica O'Bryan sings the National Anthem]

Thank you Jessica and it’s great to be here.

Today is Father’s Day.

So I begin with a big shout out to all the fathers in the audience and at home.

And a special shout out to my son and mate Nathan, and of course his wonderful mum Carmel who are here.

Thank you for your support today and every day.

It’s certainly a Father’s Day to remember.

One of the motivations of the labour movement has always been to provide the next generation with a greater quality of life than the current one.

It’s why Labor seeks to both create and anticipate the long term future, whilst at the same time dealing with more immediate issues.

It is great to be part of a modern Labor Government that is building the jobs, the schools, the infrastructure and the hospitals of the future.

I’ve come a long way from Camperdown.

I never imagined when I was Nathan’s age that I would one day be standing here as the Deputy Labor Leader and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Labor seeks to govern because we understand that government can enhance opportunity and improve peoples’ lives.

Our opponents seek government because they believe it is what they are entitled to.

For Labor, government is never the end in itself. We govern so that we can build for the future. It’s the Labor way.

We built the age pension.

We built the trans-continental railway.

We built the Snowy Mountains scheme.

We opened up universities.

We built Medicare and now we’re building DisabilityCare.

Over the past six years, both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have led good nation building governments that saw us through tough global economic times.

We created almost one million jobs.

We have low inflation.

We have low interest rates.

We have higher workforce participation.

We have lower industrial disputes.

And we’ve achieved all this with a triple A credit rating.

We returned fairness to the workplace.

We are increasing the superannuation guarantee from nine to 12 percent.

We introduced the largest pension increase in Australia’s history.

We took a million of the poorest paid Australian workers out of the tax system by tripling the tax free threshold, something that I know my friend and passionate advocate for the disadvantaged Wayne Swan is particularly proud of.

We’ve taken action on climate change.

We’ve supported the development of renewable energy – and to give you just one example, more than one million solar panels have been installed across Australia on our watch.

We are delivering sustainability for the Murray Darling Basin, talked about for decades, delivered by Labor.

In infrastructure, we’ve doubled the roads budget, rebuilt one third of the interstate rail freight network and, something I’m particularly proud of, invested more in urban public transport since 2007 than all previous governments combined since Federation.

The Howard Government spent not a single cent, the same amount that Mr Abbott has promised to spend.

And of course our most important visionary infrastructure project is the National Broadband Network. The NBN will transform the way we work and the way we live.

If any single issue defines the failure of the Coalition to build for the future, it is their support for the out-dated, unreliable copper network of last century.

All these gains are at risk on September 7.

Remember Medibank – introduced by Whitlam, removed by the conservatives.

It took the great Bob Hawke to deliver and entrench Medicare, along with other social and economic reforms through the Accord.

I pay tribute today to Australia’s longest-serving Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.

And I welcome Bob and Blanche here today.

Bob worked with this nation’s greatest Treasurer, who went on to become Australia’s 24th Prime Minister.

Paul Keating transformed our economy, laying the foundation for 22 years of consecutive economic growth.

He delivered the best superannuation system in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like you to welcome Paul Keating.

I say to Bob Hawke and Paul Keating that John Howard may have become Prime Minister in 1996 but much of your tremendous legacy is intact today because you gave us long term Labor government.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve had a bit to do with John Howard.

Whatever you say about John Howard, he was a man of intellect, who had a vision for his country.

Not my vision, but a vision nonetheless.

But let there be no doubt: Tony Abbott is no John Howard.

Mr Abbott is a man mired in pessimism and stuck in the past.

He just sits in the Parliament and says no, no, no.

He’s sharp when it comes to three-word slogans, but dull when it comes to new ideas.

He’s energetic when it comes to running around Lake Burley Griffin, but he’s lazy when it comes to policy development.

If you want a bloke who can jump through tyres, you can vote for Tony Abbott.

If you want a bloke who can guide you through the next financial crisis, vote for Kevin Rudd.

Mr Abbott is a true blue conservative in every single sense of the word.

He finds comfort in the status quo. He struggles with change and because of that he offers no progress.

In today’s fast moving world, if you are standing still, the world goes straight past you.

He’ll tell you what he thinks you want to hear, but he won’t tell you what you need to know.

What you need to know is whose jobs will be destroyed by Mr Abbott’s cuts if he wins next Saturday.

While we build for the future, Mr Abbott lives in the past. He talks down our economy and he talks down our nation.

He doesn’t have a plan for next week, let alone a plan for next month, next year or a decade from now.

Where is Tony Abbott’s vision? What are his priorities?

During the debate about action on climate change, Mr Abbott described the science around the issue as “absolute crap’’.

His policy response is to plant trees – a laudable aim on its own but no answer to a problem so profound that it requires the sophistication of a market-based solution in the form of an emissions trading scheme.

It is one thing to be a climate sceptic but it is another thing altogether to be a market sceptic.

Mr Abbott is both.

When Labor asked Parliament to consider what has been recognised as the world’s best-targeted economic stimulus package to save the jobs of Australians during the global financial crisis – where was Mr Abbott?

He was snoozing in his office.

When Labor moved to wire Australia to the world via the National Broadband Network, an economic game-changer that will create jobs and revolutionise communication, Mr Abbott said he had appointed Malcolm Turnbull to “destroy’’ the project.

His words, not mine.

At least it shows Mr Abbott have does a perverse sense of humour.

We know Mr Turnbull believes in his fraudband policy of fibre to 40,000 fridge type cabinets about as much as he does in direct action on climate change – which he called “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”.

Let’s be clear: The Coalition’s plan is like building a four-lane bridge to a dirt road. You won’t get any benefit from that bridge unless you also widen and upgrade the road.

And it will cost you more when you have to go back and do it again later.

On Broadband we will do it once, do it right and do it with fibre.

Today Australia took over the presidency of the United Nations’ Security Council in New York. This puts our nation at the centre of global power at a critical time.

When Mr Abbott heard Australia was seeking this role in 2011 - what was his response?

He said: “I don’t think we should be spending money we don’t have to promote a cause which is unlikely to come to anything.’’

No issue is too big for Tony Abbott to show exactly how small he is.

He’s got something to offer if want someone to join you on your morning run.

But running the country? He’s not just up to it.

His ideas are too narrow, his world view is too restricted and his ambition is just too small.

The problem isn’t that Mr Abbott is stuck in the past. The problem is that he wants everyone in Australia to stay back there to keep him company.

He doesn’t like public transport.

He doesn’t like public schools.

He doesn’t like public health.

He doesn’t like public delivery of broadband.

I sense a pattern here.

Mr Abbott just doesn’t like the public.

Ladies and gentlemen, elections are about choices and in this election, the choice could not be more stark.

I've worked with Kevin Rudd for 15 years.

I have never met anyone more focused on his vision for our country.

His ambition for Australia is as big as this great country itself.

His enthusiasm for serious, ground-breaking reform in the grand Labor tradition is extraordinary.

Kevin has had his critics but one thing we know about him is that he cares about our country and he really is here to help.

Is Kevin Rudd a bit of a nerd?

You bet.

Would I pick him in a rugby team or in a boxing match ahead of Tony Abbott – no way.

But he is the right man to lead this country:

He’s the right man to build the schools and hospitals of the future.

He’s the right man to build the NBN.

He’s the right man to continue to deliver economic growth, jobs and prosperity.

He’s the right man to deliver the better schools plan.

He’s the right man to take action on climate change for this and future generations.

Kevin Rudd cares about your job, your family and your future and when he says that we all know he means it.

Kevin is going to come on stage soon and tell you about his plans.

But to introduce him, let’s hear from someone who knows him better than anyone.

Please welcome Therese Rein.

My score:

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