Last Post for PM Julia Gillard

Photograph by Grant Matthews Australian Women’s Weekly July 1, 2013

This was the picture I planned to use this week for a pome and post about our lovely PM, Julia Gillard, or should I now say former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard?   I had intended to write a satirical comment on the never ending criticism she gets from some sections of the media, typified by a pompous Business Review Weekly  article  about an upcoming photoshoot in the AWW featuring her hobby of  knitting.    I thought too much had been made of it by the Australian newspaper and now the BRW writer was questioning the wisdom of it too.

Perhaps there is nothing that Gillard can do to save her prime ministership, a prime ministership conducted in the most toxic political climate experienced since the rancour of the Whitlam years. One suspects that history will remember Gillard and her achievements more kindly than current-day pundits and voters. And perhaps, when that time of kinder and more considered judgment comes, the photo of Julia Gillard knitting a toy for a new royal will be seen in an entirely different and more loving light.

Sadly that paragraph has proved shockingly prophetic.  By the end of the following day Kevin Rudd who had solemnly given his oath that he would not challenge her leadership  had done so and replaced her as Prime Minister.   I don’t propose to comment on any of that here.   For the past forty eight hours I have been lost for words, unlike hundreds of others who have poured out their grief in tributes to a woman they recognise as a great Labor leader.   We have not had to wait for history to cast a kinder judgement than that of shock jocks and gossip writers.

There are many thousands of compliments being paid to her and the achievements of her government in the face of overwhelming difficulties  both in mainstream media, on blogsites like Cafe Whispers and The Political Sword.  Even on little sites like mine here.

I leave you with this from Dedalus, writing at The Pub where tributes poured in throughout yesterday and today to “The Glory That Was Gillard.”

Julia, you are a diamond in the flotsam and jetsam of politics. You showed many people how it can be done with integrity and dignity and humour. You never went on about the bad treatment you received from every quarter, you just got on with the job. I’m so proud of you and so sad for the country. You are a legend. And I think history will prove this.

POSCRIPTS worth mentioning have been appearing all weekend.  I was very impressed with the view of Andrew Elder, a very fair and reliable analyst of our political scene,  in his overview of events since of events since Wednesday night –

I miss Julia Gillard and I still think she could have turned it around and beaten Abbott…….

We haven’t seen a policy wonk like her in the Prime Ministership since Deakin. Australian Labor is still playing catch-up since it failed to rethink its purpose to the extent that other social-democrat governments did in the 1930s and ’40s, but Julia Gillard has brought them almost up to date. I’m fairly unsentimental when it comes to Labor as a delivery mechanism for policy outcomes, but I stand in awe of the sheer love in this piece, and with it the notion that progress is meant to be made, set back, reassessed and moved forward again, whether at the general political and policy level or at the lives of particular little girls and their family.

I too had been moved by the love which so awed him in the video tribute  prepared by Nancy Cato as were hundreds of others like Lyn and Ad Astra at the P0litical Sword.   In a post today not intended as a tribute to Julia Gillard but rather an attack on opinion polls and the undue weight given to these ‘killing machines’ by politicians I thought Ad Astra’s  summing up of her character and performance was one many of us would agree with wholeheartedly.

Those of us who have supported Julia Gillard so fervently are appalled at the way she has been treated, and lament her fate. We have lost an outstanding politician, and a strong and steadfast female warrior. We commiserate her untimely exit from public life and hope she will reappear in another influential role that will engage her outstanding talent and her strength of character. We shall miss her bubbling personality, her strength, her courage, her resoluteness, her devotion, her graciousness, her capacity to get things done against the odds and bring about much needed traditional Labor reforms, and her determination to stand up for women’s rights.

Some testimonials that have since appeared in print  media and on the web………………….

http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/2013/07/07/An-accolade-for-Julia-Gillard-a-fine-prime-minister.aspx

Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party. 

http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/august/1375315200/chloe-hooper/road-julia-gillard

POST POST SCRIPT by Mary Delahunty

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/last-orders-20130805-2r9yj.html#ixzz2bZCtOieM

POST POST POST SCRIPT  by jaycee, over at the Pub, May 26, 2014 at 8:31 AM.

I thought this expressed so well how many of us still feel about FPM Julia Gillard.  Her constructive conduct in the months since K Rudd’s return last June and then ricochet back into retirement a poor loser after the election, is surely a great example to both boys and girls, men and women,  in how to live the political life if we want to make a contribution to our great Labor movement here downunder.

Patriciawa…I just visited your page on the web…and yes…I agree very much with your sadness and feeling of loss….as do we all…but loss may not be the correct word, for Julia Gillard still works for the principles she stood, as we have seen of her appointments of late…she still resides locally and her partner, Tim, is not shy about “mixing it” with the clowns in the govt’ side……so while we may still grieve on the blatant injustice and harbour an ache of sadness for the empty place in our parliament….I am holding that sadness in my heart NOT as a heart-breaking sadness, but as a beautiful sadness…..a beautiful reality of a beautiful and (still) inspiring Prime Minister.

Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.
Why was this intelligent, dedicated, conscientious, patriotic woman, loved by her staff, glowingly admired by the independent MPs who’d just helped her minority government pass the highest rate of legislation of any prime minister, why was she being killed off? One would have thought from the frenzied, almost primitive calls for her head that she’d brought the government or the country to its knees, not just proven herself to be the most capable person in the Labor party.

http://theaimn.com/wipe-brough-im-trouble/

Patriciawa, September 9, 2014. Julia Gillard’s appearance at the Royal Commission today was another reminder of what Australia has lost. I look forward to the launch of her memoirs in two weeks time. Meantime I’ve just revisited my last few posts on Julia, and Ive been re-reading all those lovely comments about her from commentatotrs I respect like Andrew Elder and bloggers like Gravel and other internet friends, particularly the one about her still standing!

https://polliepomes.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/julia-gillard-is-still-standing/

I don’t think that giving Julia Gillard the opportunity to again show her mettle was what Tony Abbott had in mind when he set up this Royal Commission. Old friends and lovers from way back came out to support her too! Did Tony Abbott really hope to nail her this time!

This Pope cartoon from last month was almost prescient!

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BxKQTVzIAAAQdhd.jpg:large

POST POST POST POST SCRIPT!   Patriciawa, June 16,2015.    Julia being interviewed on the BBC today  about her upcoming memoir.   Getting in there before tonight’s second program,  in The Killing Fields,

A p0me coming up here?   “I didn’t  crack!”    Made it clear she won’t be back!

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Julia Gillard Is Still Standing!

gillard smiling

“Gillard Has Guts!”

One paper told the truth today
No matter what the others have to say.
You know, about the PM being dead,
Politically I mean. How often has that been said!

But here she is alive and well,
And with plenty of good news to tell.
This picture says it all dear reader.
We couldn’t have a better leader.

While leakers and gossip writers go to town,
Character assassins bring her down,
And Abbott does his stunts and struts,
She keeps smiling. Yes! Gillard has guts!

NOTES:

This is a pome from two years back when Murdoch and media mates were doing their usual thing in backing Tony Abbott to be in the Lodge tomorrow, or at least next week.   A c0nversation with Jane at Cafe Whispers about sunflowers somehow put these lines in front of me again and it struck me how even more appropriate they are today.   And then I read this beautiful letter which I’ve copied in full below to the Prime Minister which said everything I would want to say  to her today too.    I have highlighted it as well as quoted.   I don’t know the writer,  Ian’s full name, but he is one of the many great bloggers at The Pub and this contribution today to a telling post about the witch hunt which has been in full cry every day since Julia Gillard became our Prime Minister deserves wide coverage.

Thursday 06/06/2013

The Prime Minister of Australia

Dear Ms Gillard.

Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese poet once wrote:

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”

I understand that at the present time you are perceived to be in a, politically speaking, very dark place indeed. In fact, if one were to pay credence to the media and pundits the whole idea of elections and a free people exercising their right to walk, unencumbered by fear, into a ballot box is an unneccessary impost. A change of Government is a foregone conclusion. They, the media and their political champions, have deemed it so. I am here to tell you different.

I could bang on about unfair reporting, blatant lies, misleading headlines and all the rest. I wont. That would both a waste of your time and mine. What I would like to talk about is courage.

Too many of us have been conditioned to accept an act of bravado as an act of courage.  It’s not.  Never has been, never will be.  We accept that the blatherings on a radio station are the telling of truth to power. It’s not. Never has been.  Never will be.  Journalists with bylines and column inches shining the impartial light of truth and reason saving society from the excesses of Government.  They don’t.  They never will.  They never have. None of this is courage.  It’s not even bravery.  It would be more akin to a rank, ingrained cowardice. An unfortunate irony of life is that cowards are notoriously hard to pin down to fight.  It really is pointless expending energy on them, other than on occasion, like when one is confronted with any yapping cur, a solid kick in the guts doesn’t go astray.

Courage, unlike cowardice, is borne of an empathy deep in the soul.  It radiates out to those in need. It strengthens those who falter and shines a harsh brightness on the treacherous. The strength, the character, the conviction of a courageous soul will always prevail.  As will you and your Government.

Those who disparage the achievements, the strengths, the courage and, importantly, the honest, decent and all too human empathy of you and your Government believe they have weakened you.  They haven’t.  They wont.  They never will….nor us.

Many millions of Australians admire, trust, respect and believe in you and what you wish to achieve. They have looked into their hearts and minds and they agree.

Kindest regards     Ian

Patriciawa,      Saturday 08/06/13    Just came across this by Andrew Elder, wonderful author of the Politically Homeless  which underlines Ian’s faith in our Prime Minister and my own conviction that she can and will win this  coming election.  Needs highlighting!

The Murdoch journos can’t believe the Labor leadership thing really is over. The basic facts of Australian politics are clearly different to what they told us, what they demanded we pay them to tell us: Julia Gillard was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2010, she was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2011, she was Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2012, she is Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2013, and no amount of increasingly strident Narrative is convincing that she won’t be Prime Minister was Prime Minister in June 2014, or ’15.

Another encouraging post today was all about The CaseFor Keeping Julia Gillard  by Robert Macklin who lists the achievements of what he thinks is excellent government run by a Prime Minister who has never been given a fair go.

It seems I’m the only columnist left in Australia who thinks Julia Gillard and her excellent government have a reasonable chance of winning the September 14 election.

Call me quixotic if you like, but I just can’t believe that my fellow Australians would toss out a government that has done us such sterling service for an opposition led by Tony Abbott who threatens to undo so much of what we’ve achieved these last five years; and who wants to set us on a path to “austerity” that has done such appalling damage in Europe and the US.

I found this article at AIMN site while reading there a deliciously  feisty defence of our democracy and challenge to Rupert Murdoch  which has now been re-posted by Michael Taylor at Cafe Whispers, my favorite blog site of all.     We Won’t Back Down!

I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more fight and  feistiness like this  from Julia Gillard supporters from here on until September 14th.   She deserves it.   After all – 

Citizen Journalism has an astonishing  listing of the many times Gillard’s demise has been confidently and wrongly predicted.

Cafe Whispers also ran this pome with more extensive notes under the title of Julia Gillard Has Guts, But you already knew that didn’t you?

Patriciawa,   13/06/13,   MORE NOTES,  after watching PMJG’s interview with Ben Eltham in Fremantl Town Hall, 12/06/13.

Isn’t it odd how the Canberra Press Gallery and commentariat has painted such a distorted picture of Prime Minister Julia Gillard?   One can forgive cartoonists up to a point, they are often as relentless in their portrayal of Tony Abbott.  But interviewers and reporters of press interviews leave him and his pronouncements largely unquestioned.

My immediate impression on seeing the PM mingling informally at last night’s fundraiser in Fremantle, was how small she is.  So much has been made of her derriere, that I wondered if she had lost weight recently. Even so that shouldn’t affect her overall proportions.  She came across as a slightly built woman, modestly dressed in a black trouser suit and sensible shoes, with immaculately groomed hair and stylish glasses which added character to her face, but left it open to scrutiny.

As she always is of course, unlike the Opposition Leader who walks away from awkward questions.  Of course the event was not a press conference, it was a fund raiser billed as ‘The PM in Conversation With Ben Elton.’ Even so, there was some searching questioning along with the light hearted banter, particularly about asylum seekers.

I haven’t got my thoughts about last night together yet.  I woke up this morning to Joe Hockey’s comment about the Prime Minister never having had respect which is laughable. She received a standing ovation on arrival and departure and our local member, Melissa Parkes told me her office receives calls and emails daily reflecting the same feelings of admiration and respect and urging her and other Caucus members to stay loyal.

I’n fact feelings about the PM in that audience were if anything more firmly behind her than at Community Cabinets held here in WA last year.

More later.  It was great to meet fellow Political Swordsters, Gordon and Rosemary,  last night and to share our impressions of the event in person.  We should do more of it.  Any other sandgropers up to joining us in the beachside coffee we plan for next week?

I’m very proud of this picture organised for me there by Melissa Park, our local Member.

untitled

kate ahearne      19/06/13,     Hi Patricia. I just wanted to let you know how nice it is to see your ‘likes’ in my Inbox. So I came across to see what you’re up to. Thanks very much for this – a couple of great quotes that I hope you won’t mind if I recycle – properly accredited, of course.      Anyway, you’ve been fighting the good fight for some time, and I wish I had the leisure right now to read all your posts, but alas! – Perhaps when the race has been run and won, I can follow up some of these wonderful sites, like yours.    Meanwhile, keep at it, Patricia.

      
2gravel,  01/02/14, Patricia….Don’t know how I missed this post of yours, what a wonderful photo of you and Julia, you will have that to treasure forever.


Patriciawa, 11/09/14, How did Tony Abbott ever imagine that his Royal Commission into Trade Unions would bring her down? This Pope cartoon from last month is almost prescient.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BxKQTVzIAAAQdhd.jpg:large

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Has Julie Bishop Missed Her Vocation?

juliebish_20120510153513188864-420x0

Julie Bishop’s glare, it is said,
Could knock any man dead.
We know that this power
Was used to devour
Two Liberal leaders.
So, do avid news readers
Believe it’s her eyes
Or her super trim thighs
Which convinced Indonesians
There could be good reasons
To help her win votes
By taking back boats?

She says she wasn’t misled.
Yes, there were things unsaid
But their meaning was clear,
As we’ll all see next year.
Perhaps Julie’s born to be
A latter day Mata Hari.
She could put on a burqa,
Be an undercover worker.
Even without a disguise
She can still mesmerize.
She just has to stare.
Not turn back boats?   They wouldn’t dare!

NOTES:

This article in today’s Guardian by Lenore Taylor says it all, particularly this contradiction of Julie Bishop’s latest denials of her Indonesian gaffe.

Paraphrased plainly, we think Bishop said that notwithstanding what Indonesian officials may say in public, on the basis of private discussions with Indonesian officials she was convinced that the Coalition could work in co-operation with Indonesia to achieve the Coalition’s policy aim.

There’s an even stronger and more detailed confirmation of the above paraphrase of our aspirant Foreign Minister’s statement in today’s Guardian (06/06/13) by Lenore Taylor in her story on our current Foreign Minister, Bob Carr’s response to Julie Bishop’s confidence in a Coalition governments ability to work with the Indonesian government to turn back boats.

“In the interview published on Monday, Bishop was asked
whether Indonesia would take boats back. She replied: “I am confident we would be able to achieve what we did in the past. The fact is they are Indonesian boats with Indonesian crew and I am sure we can work co-operatively with them and … one thing you understand about diplomacy and others do as well is the professional diplomats are paid to present particular views but what goes on behind the scenes can be quite different. What people say privately can be different to what they say publicly, that’s why I am devoting my time to quiet consistent diplomatic messaging and relationships.”

And her conviction seems sincerely held.  If indeed she has succeeded in persuading the Indonesians to cooperate with an incoming LNP government on this she will have had more success than Tony Abbott  whose boat plan is not only unpopular with the Indonesian government.   Not much seems to have changed in the eighteen months since he had to

defend his party’s renewed policy of turning back all asylum boats at sea as the approach was attacked by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Indonesian authorities and a former (Australian) naval chief as dangerous and breaching international law.

So, is Bob Carr right to be highly critical of Julie Bishop’s comments to Guardian Australia about her belief that Indonesia would co-operate with the Coalition’s border protection policy?  Could Bishop’s saying that diplomats often said different things in private than they did in public – despite that country’s stated opposition to turning back boats – cause a diplomatic incident? Or does Julie Bishop have hitherto unappreciated skills in the area of under cover negotiation? Has she missed her vocation in that Canberra location?

COMMENTS:

Fiona,     29/08/13,     Patricia,    As always, lovely to see you – and you have email with, I hope, the link you want.     Great poem.

puffytmd,     29/08/13,     Love, the pome.    puffytmd

Patriciawa,     03/03/14,    Looking back on this pome now that Julie Bishop has been  our Foreign Secretary for coming up to a  year I ask myself how did I ever imagine her as a ‘latter day Mata Hari’ – even satyrically?

Small Stygian_Priestess_by_Thadeoradicarlous

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Joe Hockey, Less Weighty, But Still Cocky!

art-353-hockey-300x0
Joe Hockey delivers his post Budget address. Photo: Andrew Meares

Responding to Treasurer Swan’s Budget
To journalists in Parliament’s Great Hall
He seemed so anxious not to fudge it
He forgot – pride comes before a fall!

He spoke at length of his sadness
For a cousin who’d hit the wall,
Weighed down by Government madness,
Rules and red tape. (Not that tax after all?)

Not that he was offering tax cuts,
Like Labor to later recall.
The Liberal Party has guts.
They’ll audit, any false hopes forestall.

No dodgy Treasury statistics;
His own will be true, line ball,
Straight shooting like Tony’s ballistics
With Aussies again walking tall.

From reports in that evening’s news
His oratory failed to enthral.
Next day’s media collective views
Seemed to be he’d said bugger all.

NOTES

This was almost out of date when written for Cafe Whispers, and definitely so as I copy it here on site for the record.  I almost didn’t bother at all with posting any impressions of Joe Hockey’s BIR speech, so unimpressed was I but as the week wore on I realised I was in good company. No economist myself it was encouraging to read that economists I respect shared my view. By now you will all have read people like Greg Jericho, Stephen Koukoulas et alia who although perhaps not as scathing or funny as Bob Ellis would probably agree with him that we shouldn’t buy a used economy from the man pictured above my pome.

The expression, or lack of it, on the faces of his audience in Parliament’s Great Hall must have told Joe that what he was saying was going down like a lead balloon. Partisan as I am I wondered if they also shared my distaste, so insulting did it seem to Treasurer, Wayne Swan, to Prime Minister Gillard and her government, and to all of us who live in Australia and are proud of the achievements of our country at a time when most of the developed world is doing less than well. But then Joe, Tony Abbott and Co, supported by the might of Rupert Murdoch’s money and his News media minions, have been insulting the intelligence of all us for three years now, so what more did I expect?

This weekend I was encouraged to see that Ross Gittins thinks that Australia’s underlying structural deficit which can lead to debit difficulties for us during times of depression such as the world has been experiencing recently was actually caused by Peter Costello’s lack of foresight and over commitment to tax cuts during the mineral boom years of Coalition ascendancy. So Joe is not only lying about the mess he says Australia is in right now, but also not taking responsibility for his own government’s share in generating some of the problems Treasurer Wayne Swan has been dealing with so effectively. I hope our top star Treasurer knows that in spite of News Ltd and others trying to give a spurious credibility to Abbott and Hockey, there are many people like me and bloggers such as Judd and Frank at Bob Ellis’s site who can see how well he has done in producing a

“Strong economy. AAA credit rating by all three agencies. Low interest rates. Low unemployment. Low inflation. Building lots of things (NBN, NDIS, hospitals, schools, ports and roads all at record levels of invesment – and it is investment, not ‘spending’ because it sets the place up for another generation of prosperity).”

And if that doesn’t do it for you, how about this from John Howard, former Prime Minister of Australia?

“When the current prime minister and the treasurer and others tell you that the Australian economy is doing better than most – they are right,” he said.

“We are still fortunate that we have an unemployment rate with a five in front of it. I wouldn’t have thought that was going to be possible a couple of years ago, and I don’t think many people would have. Our unemployment has remained pleasingly quite low.

“And our debt to GDP ratio, the amount of money we owe to the strength of our economy, is still a lot better than most other countries.”

POST SCRIPT – 22 October, 2015.   I have been reluctant to write about Joe Hockey, Treasurer in the Abbott Coalition government.  It’s cold  comfort to mention here his downfall along with PM Tony Abbott when the Liberals finally came sufficiently to their senses to replace their leader mid-term with Malcolm Turnbull.  Hockey, replaced by Scott Morrison, bowed out of the political scene altogether.    His resignation saved face all round, and the obligatory valedictory speeches were delivered in the last sitting week of the House of Reps.   I could not bother to read beyond a few them.  Similarly print media articles gave lip service at best to any attempt at an honest critique of his contribution to our national well being.   One shining exception was Greg Jericho’s contribution

http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/oct/22/hockey-the-fantasy-economist-may-as-well-have-farewelled-middle-earth

PPS I wrote too soon!   Here’s another damning critique of Hockey’s contribution!  Alan Austin sheets home the blame for “the collapse of Australia’s economy be slated home to Joe’s cluster cock-ups or (perhaps) it’s a failure of the Coalition’s neo-liberal ideology?”

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/hapless-hockeys-hopeless-legacy,8289

And they keep rolling in!

http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/10/22/panicked-joe-hockey-realises-he-forgot-to-pass-budget/

09/12/2015 – And this very recent cartoon by Alan Moir showing a very  cocky and smug Joe Hockey packed with his bags and ready to go to Washington, DC says it all for me.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/alan-moir-20150921-gjrcxr.html

So Joe had nothing to be cocky about with Tony Abbott’s political demise and replacement as PM by Malcolm Turnbull???  Moir seems to think his ‘diplomatic appointment’ was the price Turnbull paid for Hockey’s going quietly.  In other words Turnbull sold out??    And to Joe??  Did he need to?

 

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Mr Rabbit Takes Centre Stage.

 

Mr. Rabbit of Downunderland

Thought that he was in Wonderland.

For one moment it felt truly

As if he, with White Queen Julie,

Were already restored to power,

As he stood acclaimed, man of the hour.

Applause and cheers were long and loud.

His budget speech had moved the crowd.

Up on to their feet as it ended

They seemed to share his vision splendid

Of himself rescuing from failure

This ‘Triple A rated Australia!’

 

His oratory had been inspired!

Yes, the Gallery audience was hired,

There to test his election theme,

They’d adored his parents leave scheme,

Freely joined his denunciation

Of Labor’s burdensome taxation.

Confirming Newspoll and Morgan

They didn’t want a price on carbon!

Nor tax on mines! These men were workers

Not malingerers or shirkers.

All loathed Julia, despised red Queen!

Then reality intervened…..

 

Because there she sat. And glared,

As if to say, how had he dared!

A stunt like this? In this Chamber?

A dress rehearsal for September?

In a theatre where centre stage

Was hers?   And…..now…..he’d put her in a rage…..

NOTES: This is a copy of a post I wrote for Cafe Whispers after reading what I thought was the best critique I’d seen of Tony Abbott’s Budget in Reply speech by Bushfire Bill at The Pub. You should read it in its entirety, you’ll appreciate it, but his title alone was enough to get me going on this pome at a tangent of my own. As I’d  watched the speech myself I did wonder how Abbott could have been so foolish as to try to use that particular convention as an opportunity for a presidential style address, breaking all Parliamentary rules as he addressed, not the Speaker as he should have, but the ‘renta-crowd’ in the Gallery as if they were the ‘people of Australia!’ I was initially surprised that Madame Speaker did not rule him out of order, or rebuke his applauding visitors in the Gallery. Nor was there a single objection from the Government side, which I at first thought was because of shock at Abbott’s ‘chutzpa.’ Now, however, I see it as remarkable restraint and even forward planning on the Government side, anticipating his antics. Because that’s all it was, histrionics, pure theatrics and with nothing much new in the way of policy. Antics/theatrics……..Gillard/on guard. Too many rhymes here I thought………. particularly once I had him facing ‘the Prime Minister there’ and had to choose between with ‘her steely glare’ and ‘blazing red hair’ when he should have been ‘well aware’ of ‘her rage’ as he took ‘centre stage’. But there wasn’t enough substance to the speech itself to put meat into a pome. ‘ Then I thought maybe something new by way of policy in ‘changes to superannuation’ had potential with the ‘seeds of his annihilation.’ That was new ground that Bill Shorten and the Government could fight on…… Here was when I realized that lack of reaction alone from the benches facing him should have put Abbott ‘on his guard’………..as he faced ‘the enemy Gillard.’ They were giving him plenty of rope. They wanted him to go for broke here, to make a fool of himself, showing his ignorance of Parliamentary conventions and a lack of gravitas. More than anything they wanted him to give them some new bad policy lines to use on the hustings. Arguing the niceties of Parliamentary tradition wasn’t going to achieve any of that. As a rusted on leftie I think he did a pretty good job of making a fool of himself. Others may disagree. Like Barry Cassidy for whom the BIR held the ‘Sweet Smell of Success.’ For me it was a pretty poor performance in terms of replying to Wayne Swan’s budget presentation. He didn’t give out much in the way of new policy either, as was perhaps hoped, but that wasn’t so much the result of cunning, as his and his party’s laziness and total incapacity for policy development. There was the superannuation, of course, but as these things so often go I didn’t use that in the pome. As I read Bushfire Bill’s article about Abbott’s fear, I agreed that Abbott was indeed afraid to face Prime Minister Gillard without a prepared speech and an audience also prepared to applaud on cue. But even with those props and well rehearsed lines there is still fear there. I have chosen an enlarged image deliberately so that we can see his face more clearly. I like to think that after the speech he realized he had an even more cogent cause to fear. How could he, or his advisors, have forgotten this? when Julia Gillard, enraged by a ‘shamefully’ crass comment from Abbott had given the most powerful extempore speech of her Parliamentary career and drawn admiring comment from all over the world. What heights of eloquence will this outrageous defiance of Parliamentary convention by Abbott assist her to achieve? 485820-121020-inquirer-gillard Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech is the first example of the digital age where an expression of passion from a politician was rewarded with numbers that a free press can’t compete with. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Australian

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Oz In Need Of Belt Tightening? Surgery or Dieting?

Can anyone explain to me
Joe Hockey’s drive for austerity
When Australia had seemed to be
Enjoying great prosperity?

But he says that’ll soon be ending
If Gillard keeps up all this spending.
A dreadful fate for Oz is pending
As we’re deeply into debt descending.

All these reforms are not required.
The public servants she has hired
When Tony’s PM he’ll have fired.
Those more senior will be retired.

Canberra businessmen are crying,
Say uncertainty underlying
Everything means no-one’s buying,
Fear the economy is dying.

Not if our Swannie has his way!
Making jobs for people every day,
Hoping they will spend their pay,
Promising more on Budget Day.

He’s told he risks popularity,
With concern for the economy
Not really a priority
For the great,  silent majority.

Does Joe imagine belt tightening
For them won’t be so frightening?
One op, no pain or dieting?
Will September be enlightening?

Who knows the answer? What are the facts?
If more lose work and can’t pay tax
So Government revenue contracts
Won’t national debt shoot up to max?

NOTES

I know nothing about economics but I have been trying to learn a few things, reading articles and by watching Treasurer Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey at press conferences. I was immediately struck by Joe Hockey’s new svelte appearance and was impressed, initially thinking he had taken himself in hand in the way he talks about this government needing to take our economy in hand and to restrain what he and Tony Abbott insist is catastrophic over spending. Remember Tony Abbott’s comment about a government that can’t manage itself, not being able to manage a country. I’ve always thought the same applied to him and his own household household mortgage debt as well as to his Shadow Treasurer’s obvious over over spending and self-indulgence on food and being unlikely to cope well with our national budget.

And, unsurprisingly, I now find that Joe Hockey has not really taken himself in hand nor has plans for a rigorous diet and lifelong self discipline. No, over the long Christmas break he went into some nice comfy private hospital bed for gastric by pass surgery and after a while on a liquid diet he has returned to solids, and soon he’ll be allowed to return to more fibrous solid food……such as steak, sausages and bread………Not much self denial there now is there?

And like most retired people on a limited income I try to pay off my credit card and stay out of debt, so Joe’s grim expressions and frowns as he warned about the size of our national debt might have alarmed me more if I hadn’t read this article about the Coalition’s plans to slash thousands of<a href=”http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/halfbaked-relocation-plan-to-fall-flat-20130511-2jej9.html#ixzz2T8gR97XS”&gt; Canberra public servant</a> jobs.

<blockquote>Public servants have been an easy target for the Coalition for some time, with both Abbott and his shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, happy to talk about slashing as many as 20,000 jobs from the sector. For many Australians, Canberra-bashing is a good spectator sport and the opposition knows there are few votes to be lost – and possibly quite a few to be gained – by being seen to be tough on <strong>fat cat</strong> public servants.

Just how real a threat the mass axing is remains questionable, but the good citizens of the ACT still remember how their community was thrown into recession for some years following Howard’s public service clean-out between 1996 and 1998.
</blockquote>

Yes, I remembered John Howard’s public service clean out but most of the damage was confined to Canberra businesses after the downsizing of so many government departments, except defence. Back then too there wasn’t this obsession with debt and deficits amongst both state and federal politicians. So thinking about Joe and austerity, and that of other Liberal premiers, and the debate about Oz being able to afford Labor’s reforms at a time of great prosperity and low unemployment, this jingle started through my head. I really would like to read your answers too, especially now that <a href=”http://www.the adviser.com.au/breaking-news/8673-pm-praises-strong-economy”>John Howard</a> has given the thumbs up to the Australian economy, and agreed with the Treasurer and the Prime Minister! We are in good shape it seems and not on the brink of catastrophe!

Sorry about deciding not to comment on the last couple of horror years, bus at last I can

Post Script,  23/10/2015,   Celebrating downfall of FPM Tony Abbott,  and resignation from political life as an MHR of former Treasurer, Joe Hockey.   I regret though he seems to have exacted a price from PM Turnbull for ‘going quietly’  i.e. the Ambassadorship to Washington, replacing Kim Beazley, due to retire…….when……..?    No mention of it on the Embassy site.   Is PM Turnbull likely ask to him to resign so that he can be replaced a man the calibre of Hockey about whom there are many comments on social media and public feedback pages in the media, if not in MSM articles of the this quality by Greg Jericho.  I just have to add a couple of those comments here.  The first from Code Pink

This man must not be given a cushy, highly paid diplomatic position that allows him to continue to suck on the taxpayers teat. I don’t give a damn what ‘an affable bloke’ Hockey is, he is incompetent and incompetence should never be rewarded, particularly at this high level, we just end up with Australia in a muddle. Beazley has done a great job in Washington and to follow him up with this joke of a person will reflect very badly on Australia. I hope Turnbull thinks about that and not of the political expedience of getting him out of the country and keeping him in the privileged smugness to which he is accustomed.

And another from Westie

Well done Greg Jericho for a well researched essay. The Age of Entitlement is of course not over yet for Joe Hockey. He is now waiting for his ambassadorial appointment. No rigorous merit based test through the Department of Foreign Affairs just a nod from the government and a parliamentary pension matched by an ambassadorial salary, residence and expense allowance. How can the public ever take him seriously? Sadly both sides of government are complicit in these rorts. They feel entitled and to hell with notions of merit, fairness and equity.

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Son of a Gun! What Calibre is That?

Tony sticking to his guns! Thanks to Alan Moir for permission to use his cartoon

While throughout Australia most folk are in bed,
Tony Abbott is fretting over something he said.
Not “When you deliver, you’ll be fully paid.”
That is a promise he knows can’t be unmade.

Journos are crowing over lines they’ve been fed.
There’s even a ‘libber,’ not easily led,
Loves his planned six months paid maternity leave.
His polling’s improved like you wouldn’t believe.

The Labor scheme – for rich, poor, married, unwed –
All the same, even career gals powering ahead.
What Gillard has given they think no big deal
Because Abbott’s offering has far more appeal.

But those on the right think his plan’s far too red,
A shiver of doubt through some Liberals has spread.
They’ve told their dear leader he must face facts –
For businessmen levies are worse than a tax.

His IPA ‘mates’ want the policy shed.
“Close to Rupert now, Tony! Watch how you tread!”
Peta’d said firmly, with her usual advice,
“ Before you open your mouth, please, please, think twice!”

In Canberra now, wide awake, not abed,
Tony paces his room, feeling all muddlehead.
What had he been thinking of earlier today,
That some inner compulsion forced him to say?

He can’t remember; was it something he’s read?
He knows he’ll regret it till the day he’s dead.
That’s it! One word! Calibre! All about guns!
Not women and babies …… unless …… they have sons!

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NOTES

In the past that phrase ‘son of a gun’ was considered to be a term of abuse since it initially described the bastard sons of shipboard whores born beneath the gunwales and destined like their parents for a lifetime at sea. My sense is that nowadays there’s more than a touch of grudging affection in it much as the term ‘bastard’ can be used with a grin, meaning ‘old rascal.’ But ‘bastard’ can be used in an unequivocally abusive way too. Tony Abbott, with his many admitted failings, but obvious assets (ie the backing of Rupert Murdoch, MSM and big business) and uses to the Coalition is probably more often seen by them as ‘a son of a gun,’ who seems to get away with near murder. But to Labor and the left generally he is an outright ‘bastard,’ with no redeeming features.

All sorts of theories have been floated about Tony Abbott’s fitness to be Prime Minister. Today I realized that none of the theories about his misogyny or bullying character are valid reasons for arguing his unfitness for office. Nor his limited intellect. Nor suggestions that he is racist, or wanting to wage class war. Even that he has fantasies about conducting eugenics experiments if he does get into government. This last was suggested today when he talked about his paid parental leave plan being really aimed at women of calibre. Although he hadn’t initially explained that to Joe Hockey or to the businessmen who run the corporations he plans to levy for the funds to pay for his plan. I understand now why he hasn’t been able to do that adequately and also why he hasn’t explained how he came, almost by himself, to espouse a scheme which is thoroughly approved of by a strong feminist like Eva Cox, and likely to find support amongst the Greens.

This contradiction of his plan being approved by feminists and conservationists on the extreme left and much disapproved of by his traditional supporters on the right in the big business lobby is surely what has led to unhappiness in his own party and resulted in near mutiny in the ranks by a back bencher, Alex Hawke. This resistance to his leadership may or may not be unexpected for Abbott but no doubt has caused him considerable stress and even more so as it emerges that the Institute of Public Affairs has been encouraging Hawke and now Mal Washer and Dennis Jensen, both of WA, to oppose the PPL policy. And, I submit, added to what must be an already confused mental condition.

Imagine his state of mind. There are other pressures on him all the time, apart from leadership issues, and this week particularly so with the gun control issue being such big news in the United States and the conflict in Syria becoming so critical. At the same time he is expected to be across the economy, the looming Budget, Reserve Bank decisions and god knows what else! Right after he’s had to meet so many disabled people and their parents while listening to Julia Gillard go on about the NDIS and reminding everyone that what has happened to these poor souls could happen to any one of us. Does she think he doesn’t know that? He suddenly realised that this week! He could fall off his bike and suffer brain damage in the blink of an eye! The Polliepedal, always a great pleasure for him, could suddenly have become a thing to dread at the start of a week when he’s expected to smile and kiss dozens of babies while having tea and bikkies with their mums!

I think we should lay off Tony Abbott for a while and help him to find his way out of what is obviously a confused state of mind. So what if calibre is a word he’d normally use when talking about guns to other men. Guns are headline news right now in the States, after all. He knows you wouldn’t normally talk about women of calibre! That was just a slip of the tongue, a mixed metaphor, from a man showing signs of being under too much pressure pressure. If he were a Public Servant he’d be eligible for a year’s sick leave! Think about that, Peta!

COMMENTS:

gravel2, 08/05/13, Patricia, Another great pome, well done again. 🙂

Nasking, 09/05/13, GOOD POEM PATRICIA…BUT YA SEE…THEY WANT TO CREATE THIS IMPRESSION THAT AT TIMES ABBOTT IS TOO ‘RED’.

Ad Astra, 09/05/13, Patriciawa, That is such an apt pome. Thank you.

Anonymous 10/5/13, Brilliant, Patricia.

Migs 11/05/13, Your pomes are great. I love them. I saw not only irony in your last line but a real dig at Abbott’s misogyny. Well said.

Patriciawa, 12/05/13, Mother’s Day today so all we women of calibre will be getting recognition all over the world. But I just found this picture and asked myself was Tony Abbott thinking of these sort of women whom he meets all the time in his working life?

Real Women of Calibre – Penny Wong,  Tanya Plibersek,  Jenny Macklin,  PM Julia Gillard, Kate Lundy,  Kate Ellis,  Julie Collins.              (Photo for The Monthly by Tim Bauer)

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