Sunday, 26 February 2012

Slightly barbed jokes are dangerous now

It's a dangerous thing in politics, apparently, to have a sense of humour; certainly a barbed one. Kevin Rudd discovered that this morning when a pointedly witty remark at a private function was blown up as if it was some kind of vicious attack on Julia Gillard. What a load of ...
The Labor leadership aspirant was at a party with then South Australian Premier Mike Rann after a performance at the Adelaide fringe festival when he happened upon a group of the Catholic God botherers who control Labor in that state and whose factional leader Senator Don Farrell had played a major role in his being deposed.
Judge the Rudd remark as reported in the Sunday Mail for yourself:

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Making fun of political pundits

From Paul Krugman's New York Times blog comes this salutary reminder:
I often make fun of political pundits who imagine that there are elaborate psychodramas going on in the mind of the electorate, that voters are parsing the president’s policy proposals to see how he shapes up to some kind of Platonic ideal; folks, voters are busy making a living and raising families, they get their news in snippets, and they have no idea what the White House proposed last month; what they mostly notice is whether things seem to be getting better or worse.
So it’s scary that WH political operatives actually seem to believe all this political-pundit nonsense.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A tick for the speech writer and the deliverer

A fine speech today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard commemorating the death of Sir Zelman Cowen. Both written and delivered well.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Reserve Bank's inclination to punish

It's as if there is an inclination to punish in those monetary economists. Here goes Australia, in the words of the official statement of the Bank after today's board meeting, " with growth expected to be close to trend and inflation close to target." Perhaps the only downside is that the "labour market conditions softened during 2011 and the unemployment rate increased slightly in mid year, though it has been steady over recent months."

But let's not worry about those 5.2% of people without a job, or all those working less hours than they would like to. Put in the background the statutory requirement we have for the maintenance of full employment in Australia." Let's just keep things exactly as they are and leave official interest rates unchanged.

They are a callous lot. 

And why? Is inflation going to become a trouble if rates are lowered? Well ... no, not actually.
CPI inflation has declined as expected, as the large rises in food prices resulting from the floods a year ago have been unwinding. Year-ended CPI inflation will fall further over the next quarter or two. In underlying terms, inflation is around 2½ per cent. Over the coming one to two years, and abstracting from the effects of the carbon price, the Bank expects inflation to be in the 2–3 per cent range.
And later in the official statement they even concede the point that an interest rate reduction would cause no harm. As they said in that wonderful language of central bankers
Should demand conditions weaken materially, the inflation outlook would provide scope for easier monetary policy.
So what's the reason for keeping the rate at 4.25% then? Well, it's just that that is the kind of rate we have traditionally had.
At today's meeting, the Board noted that interest rates for borrowers have declined to be close to their medium-term average, as a result of the actions at the Board's previous two meetings. With growth expected to be close to trend and inflation close to target, the Board judged that the setting of monetary policy was appropriate for the moment.
 We are bankers. We just feel happier being punishers.

With economy improving, Obama would beat Romney: poll | Reuters

From Reuters:

A Washington Post-ABC News survey of 1,000 adults found that, for the first time, Obama's prospects have brightened against his potential rivals as his overall job approval rating climbed on his handling of the slowly recovering economy.

If the election were held now, Obama would win 51 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and current Republican frontrunner, according to the poll. He would win with 54 percent compared to 43 percent for Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives who has vowed to continuing seeking his party's nomination.

'via Blog this'

The Daily Tele, rats and big cheese provide ingredients for a lively parliamentary opening

It's as if the editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph Paul Whittaker wanted to send a message to the Speaker of the House of Representatives with his front page today- Come on, I dare you!
Last year, after the paper ran a picture of Speaker Peter Slipper that was altered to include rats whiskers and a tail, the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives, Robyn McClelland, wrote to Paul Whittaker:
Published on the front page of the newspaper and online is an image of the Speaker, taken during proceedings of the House of Representatives; the image has been digitally altered. The modification of this image is in clear breach of the Guidelines for Still Photography in the Chamber and resolutions of 16 October 1991 and 1 May 1996 relating to the use of broadcast footage of chamber proceeedings …
The McClelland letter went on to say she would refer the matter to parliament’s “media review” to “clarify restrictions” and threatened “sanctions” to be taken against the newspaper ”such as suspension of parliament house passes or withdrawal of access to the press gallery in the chamber”.

The response of the paper was immediate.

And if that was not provocative enough, there was this editorial"

I wrote in Crikey back then that having put Peter Slipper onto the Speaker’s chair, the Labor Party will find it difficult to avoid coming to the aid of his sergeant-at-arms when the House of Representatives returns from summer holidays. "I can hardly wait," I said.

Today's defiant ignoring of the warning letter will make matters even more interesting. If Peter Slipper is anything like the man described in this editorial he will surely be looking for revenge.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

And a welcome back to The Insiders

  1. And all of us political tragics welcome back The Insiders - with mixed views
  2. Share
    Great to see Meet the Press and Insiders back for another year
  3. Share
    I'm disappointed that #insiders was dominated by speculation about a leadership challenge - again. It's a self-fueled media feedback loop.
  4. Share
    #insiders was pretty meh, bit like a chat show focussed on discussing Neighbours plot
  5. Share
    Cassidy needs to be removed from #Offsiders and #Insiders. He is so #outoftouch he's #boring
  6. Share
    I've watched my last #Insiders for 2012. Maximum tedium and press gallery self absorption.
  7. Share
    @LizzieA01 You're so right. I was very disappointed with Insiders today. Very shallow. #insidebusiness panel was much more interesting.
  8. Share
    #insiders you are BORING
  9. Share
    #Insiders today shows what's wrong with political reporting in Aus. Mindless blather over non-existent challenge/spill in Labor.
  10. Share
    #auspol #Insiders #Gillard Insiders was a waffle about rumors-nothing intelligent there! And all those "stings" as if we didn't know already
  11. Share
    Sad day for journalism when #Insiders follows lazy herd mentality instead of setting the tone for serious policy analysis. #sameoldsameold
  12. Maybe they're all just made lefties on The Insiders
  13. Share
    #insiders once again reinforces the perception that 90% media are labor felating scum. #auspol
  14. Share
    Ah, good old #insiders another panel of leftist useful idiots blindly parroting ALP talking points.
  15. And please let Nikki Savva have more of a say!
  16. Share
    Shock of the day. Insiders gangs up on one conservative for defending abbott. #auspol
  17. Or maybe we should just have more sport
  18. Share
    How about less #insiders & more #offsiders until there is something interesting happening in politics
  19. Share
    I know they carried on about the non-existent leadership challenge for 10 minutes too long, but the real stuff hasn't started yet. #Insiders
  20. I suppose it's natural for the haters to be more vocal than the supporters but there was a special criticism about the absence of any Queensland election comment.
  21. Share
    Why was there no discussion of Qld election on #insiders and they had @dwabriz on???
  22. Share
    Insiders all about Gillard leadership - nothing much on Qld election or Clive for that matter
  23. While others were worried about the influence of Kevin
  24. Share
    Should I watch Insiders or is it so full of Rudd nonsense as to make me throw things at the tv (again)?
  25. Well, not full of it but he did get a mention ortwo
  26. Share
    Lefties still saying Krudd problem is a beat-up! Deniers! #Insiders #auspol
  27. Share
    Word is Julia Gillard is worried about a leadership challenge from KRudd. Well, ain't karma a bitch Missy! #AusPolitics
  28. Share
    Simon Crean wasn't a team leader either. Kevin Rudd is a dud and certainly not a leader either #Insiders.
  29. Share
    Surely Crean's rebuke of Rudd was planned & intended as a public warning to Rudd, not a personal spotlight on himself for leader? #Insiders
  30. And why not a bit more criticism of the Liberal Party leader?
  31. Share
    I wish I lived in Tony Abbott land. Money just grows on trees and you get whatever you want just by saying it often enough. #auspolitics
  32. Share
    If we are going to talk about the dire nature of JG's polling let's talk about Tony's huge disapproval rating. #Insiders #auspol
  33. Instead of all the criticism of poor Treasurer Wayne
  34. Share
    Swannies performance on #Insiders this morning would have made Comical Ali proud #Auspol
  35. Share
    Wayne Swan needs to pull his head out of the sand, dead duck PM leading a dead duck government #auspol #insiders
  36. Share
    @SwannyDPM - "WE demonstrate fiscal discipline" | His comments just get more and more laughable & ridiculous every time he speaks. #Insiders
  37. Share
    Listening to insiders this morning, why does Wayne Swan answer questions like he was insulted by the point of the question?
  38. Although he does have his admirers
  39. Share
    Swanny was marvellous on #insiders today. About the only part of the show worth watching.
  40. Share
    Swannie is on fire and he's doing it without being shouty. #insiders
  41. Share
    Wayne Swan on the #Insiders this morning sounded like a leader himself. "I love the Labor Party and I love this country." Watch this space.
  42. Share
    #insiders Good one, Swanny: Opposition will give tax cuts to Palmer & Rinehart but won't commit to disability insurance
  43. And a final verdict
  44. Share
    Message to the #alp just get it over and done with! voters will boot you out whoever is the PM at the next election #auspol #insiders
  45. Share
    At least cartoonists are excited about the political year ahead! #insiders