Labor’s scare campaign

Just a short post, brought on by one of the election campaign ads coming out of the Labor camp. As usual, they have nothing constructive to say, so they do what they best – talk shit.

I am referring to the ad that Labor are running in which they talk about Turnbull never having to use services like Medicare, implying that he is one of the Australian rich ones (which is true).
Interestingly, they conveniently forgot to mention that Billy Shorten isn’t exactly a poor man either. He attended Xavier College, where fees run in excess of $20,000 per year.
After finishing school and Monash Uni, he hasn’t done a day’s honest work in his life.
While doing his gig as a Union bully, he was married to Deborah Beale – a daughter of Julian Beale – a Liberal MP and a wealthy Melbourne investor. During this time, he was known to use his buddy’s Pratt’s private jet as his own.

Former Faceless Man, now in a running to become our next Prime Minister

Former Faceless Man, now in a running to become our next Prime Minister

But Bill is always looking only after one man – himself. That’s why at the first opportunity, he dumped his “Liberal blue blood” wife to throw his lot in with the glamorous daughter of the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.

So if anyone has no clue about how us, “regular” folk live, that would be Mister “I only look after myself and ready to stab my friends in the back” Shorten.

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Prime Minister is holding a vigil for a couple of convicted criminals

Now I’ve seen everything! PM of Australia Tony Abbott and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, accompanied by other MPs are holding candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, due to be executed in Bali. For those living under a rock for the past few months – Chan and Sukumaran are a couple of scumbags, who used to make money by destroying people’s lives

I wrote about the Bali pair last month here, and I argued that drug traffickers deserve the strictest punishment available under the law.  But at the time, I was only angry at all those little people living inside my TV and talking nonsense all the time.

Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

Today I’m absolutely dumbfounded by the fact that my Prime Minister displays same level of stupidity (and yes, I know that the accepted, politically correct word is compassion) as the talking heads inside of my TV. I am absolutely dumbfounded that the Opposition Leader found the issue of prosecution of a drug trafficker, drug kingpin, drug-ring leader the only issue worthy enough to show solidarity and support with the current Government. Not the issue of improving our economy. Not the issue of dealing with the raising terrorism threat, not any of the other real issues affecting millions of people of Australia. No. The one and only issue that united Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten is How we can save lives of people whose chosen life path is destroying other people’s lives?

I am speechless. I have no speech. Both Libs and Labor are very lucky that we are not going into an election any time soon, because even that Muir dude, the one that spends his time throwing faeces at his mates is looking pretty good right now.

I got my Crystal Ball out, and here are my 6 predictions for 2015

2015 is here, and looks like we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future. Some people like to look back and reminisce, but I prefer to look forward and get ready for what lies ahead.
So what is ahead? I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’m not particularly good at reading tea leaves – some people might say that I’m not particularly good at anything, but I think these people are just mean.
So I’ll have a go at coming up with the list of 6 predictions for the new year, and in a last blog of 2015 I’ll try see how many of my predictions were right.

unemployment

Unemployment to go up in 2015

1. Lets start with the sad and boring: Unemployment in Australia will hit 7.2%

2. With all the Wearables popping up, the time is almost right for this part of the market to explode…. Almost, but not quite. There won’t be any “out of this world” breakthrough in a next 12 months.

3. Speaking of “out of this world” – 2015 is set to be a year when we’ll see the advertising done in space, specifically; it will be placed on the Moon. Can’t wait to see the laser displays to rival the beauty of Aurora Borealis.

4. The sanctions on Russia will be relaxed, or removed completely. In part it will be due to the increased tensions between Turkey and Greece over the Mediterranean gas fields. (and yes, Russia will retain all the territories it “acquired” last year)

Parliament of Australia

Parliament of Australia

5. Closer to home – in September, it will be two interstate AFL teams battling in the Grand Final, but the Port wouldn’t have enough power when it’s needed most, and so it would be the Swans flying back to Sydney with the Cup.

6. Tony Abbot to lose his residence at The Lodge by 30th of April (this one is actually not my prediction, it’s a learned opinion of my friend-blogger Edward from The Mugwump Post )

 

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

There is this Russian saying that goes something like this: The way you’ll start a New Year is the way you’ll finish it. To make sure that I finish 2015 on a high, I better start it right…

Cheers, everyone, Happy New Year!

My Musings on Visiting Australian Parliament

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit Canberra. The main reason for the visit was to see the exhibition that is currently at the National Gallery of Australia – Gold and the Incas. A word of advice – if you are in Canberra before the 21st of April, do yourself a favour and find 2-3 hours to include it in your itinerary.

One of the days, while doing our touristy thing,  we had few hours to kill and so decided to visit the nerve centre, the brain of our government, the place where the decisions making Australia “The Lucky Country” are made.

Parliament of Australia

Parliament of Australia

I am referring of course to Australian Federal Parliament. The complex is impressive – situated on top of a hill it looks elegant and imposing at the same time. Once inside, it’s still pretty impressive, but it also all business – security staff checking people out, some foreign delegations being escorted in, Parliament staff move around with a purposeful look on their faces… The place positively pulsates with energy; you can almost hear Edmund Barton stressing importance of the strong defence in his 1901 speech, or Gough Whitlam telling the Parliament “Australia needs change. Australia needs reform. Australia needs idealism. Australia does not need socialism” in his speech in 1975.

So you can imagine the feeling of anticipation I had as the door into the visitor’s gallery of a House of Representative opened and we quietly stepped in….only to see an almost empty chamber. The Deputy Speaker was there, as were 1 (one) member of Liberal Party and 1 (one) member of a Labor Party. The bubble popped, the feeling of anticipation got replaced by the one of bewilderment.

After listening to the two of them having a go at each other for a while, we walked out and decided that surely in the Senate there will be more activity. We were right. There was more activity, but only marginally. There was a Deputy Speaker, 3 members of Liberal Party, 2 members of Labor Party and 2 members of Greens. What I found incredible, was the fact that one of the Greens was totally engrossed in checking out Facebook on his iPAD.

I walked out of there in disgust. Instead of a hive of activity all I’ve witnessed were few people pretending to care, and one who didn’t even bother to pretend.

Parliament at night

Parliament at night

Now, I understand that there might be a reason for all the politicians to be absent – some might be busy in subcommittees, some meeting their constituents, others researching something in a Parliament library. But that’s just it – we have no way of actually KNOWING what our elected officials are doing.

What we need is a system that will make them accountable. What we need is a system that will record how many times each of them was present during the sitting of the Parliament, and for how long. We need a system that will record how many times each of them voted and how did he or she cast their vote. I’m not really a whinger, but shouldn’t our elected leaders be accountable to us for everything they do? In my work we have such terms as KPI Key Performance Indicators and OLA Operational Level Agreement. We need something similar introduced for our politicians. If they are missing Parliament without good excuse, they automatically not eligible for re-election. If they vote in a way that contradicts their pre-election promises, they automatically not eligible for re-election.

To put simply, we need a system to keep the bastards honest.

Faceless men, or who is in control of Australian Labor Party.

The dust has settled on Federal Elections, winners are grinners, losers are licking their wounds, for the rest of us, it’s back to normal lives.

But before I put the issue of politics to rest, I would like to ponder one question which was bothering me for a while now. I blame Julia Gillard for it, for it was on her watch that the term, well-known in Australian politics since the early 60th found its way into the spotlight again.

I am talking, of course about the Faceless Men.

Faceless Men of Australian Labor Party

Faceless Men of Australian Labor Part

First of all, who are they?

Paul Howes      National Secretary of The Australian Workers’ Union
Bill Shorten      Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union
David Feeney  Transport Workers Union
Mark Arbib      Actively involved in the trade union movement during early career
Don Farrell       Former trade union leader
According to ABS, there were 1.8 million people in August 2012 who were trade union members. So my question is: how do 5 faceless men, representing just 1.8 million or less than 8% of Australians manage to twist and turn Canberra political landscape any way they want?
Well, these 5 men are all trade union activists through and through.

Former Faceless Man, now in a running to become our next Prime Minister

Former Faceless Man, now in a running to become our next Prime Minister

To truly understand Labor Party and where power lies, it is necessary to have a look at the party’s structural link with trade unions. Trade unions select 50 per cent of the delegates to the party’s state conferences. Delegate numbers are assigned to a union based on that union’s number of members. The delegation’s makeup is determined by the union secretary. At the conference, these delegates sit together and vote as one, as directed by the union secretary, enabling the secretary to bargain with other powerbrokers to win their hoard of votes.
As one of the Party’s former leaders Arthur Calwell once said,The Labor Party was founded by trade unions and nobody else. It has always been based on the trade union movement. It can never rest on any other foundation and still be the Labor Party”.

Now, I’m not a whinger, but…..if Australian Labor party wants to remain relevant it should have a look at the way it operates, and ask why in the last election they lost so many votes. It’s not because Liberal Party is so much better. It is because the people of Australia are sick and tired of voting for a party that exists not to benefit all of us, but to serve selfish interests of a few faceless men.

Comedy Festival started early, or My Recollection of last night’s Election.

It is coming up to 6 pm and all the channels on TV are doing election special. We don’t know any results as yet, they haven’t even started counting, but everyone feels qualified enough to make predictions and to tell us that Abbot is going to be the new king….I mean Prime Minister. Maybe it is just my male gene, or maybe it is my desire to get as many opinions as possible, but I keep flicking from one channel to another.

On 7 it’s rather a small affair, with only Alexander Downer showing any sparks of intelligence. On 9 my favorite is Amanda Vanstone-she’s quite witty, quick with a joke and doesn’t mind a bit of tongue lashing. Another almost iconic presence  is Laurie Oakes, who looks like it’s all just a tad too fast paced for him. He used to be almost brilliant, but I think it’s about time we let the old war horse rest. Peter Costello is also there, looking like he’s struggling to keep up. Hard to believe that he was one of the best treasures this country had ever known. Moving on to channel 10, it’s The Project. I’m not their biggest fan even on a good day, and on a day of election they are even worse. Producers should seriously bring some one to the show whose IQ is higher than their shoe size. I’ve attempted to watch ABC coverage as well, but for some reason I can never get it to work on my TV. So I’m just going to assume that it had its usual left-wing aligned coverage.

election 2013

image thanks to news.com.au

Now, I’m not a whinger, but can some one please tell me: I understand that election is an important day on our political calendar, but why do all the channels feel the need to start broadcasting hours and hours before we even start counting? No sane person can possibly maintain interest for that long. My mind switched off after about 30 minutes of speculations, as did the sound on my TV, at which point I got a bottle of Brown Brothers Moscato out, and settled down to read Daniel Silva’s Moscow Rules.

Clive Palmer

Image courtesy of news.com.au

From time to time I was turning the TV sound back on, to get the updates on voting, and to check footy scores (sorry to all the Collingwood supporters, btw). Highlights of the election coverage for me? Palmer’s interview with Chanel 9 (I really hope he gets a seat in Parliament, for entertainment value, if nothing else) and all the losers being fed to the sharks by Chanel 7.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. My bottle of Moscato is empty, all the professional comedians are getting ready to run this beautiful country of ours, and I’m waiting for all the amateur comedians to descent onto Melbourne next March for the Comedy Festival 2014.

Election, or A Right to Lead a Country

Australia’s election campaign is in full swing, and all the politicians are out there, trying to win as many votes as they can. Or at least to stop their competitors from winning extra votes. I think that was the main reason behind the statement made by Palmer with regards to experience (or a lack of) of current cabinet members of the Labor Party.

Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

Palmer said something along the lines that all the Labor politicians combined only have about 15 years of real life work experience. His criteria were – any Union or Government related job wasn’t counted as experience, and neither anything in legal profession.

It sounded too far-fetched to me, so I’ve decided to check it out myself. Here’s the result of my investigation….

The break-down of Labor Cabinet:

Anthony Albanese            Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and the Deputy Leader of                                                     the Labor Party. He is also the Minister for Infrastructure and                                                   Transport, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and                                                     the Digital Economy and the Leader of the House of                                                                     Representatives.

Years of prior experience:    2 years  Commonwealth Bank

Kevin Rudd                        Prime Minister of Australia

Years of prior experience:   0 years

Kim Carr                              Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research and                                                     Minister for Higher Education

Years of prior experience:  9 years secondary school teacher

Brendan O’Connor             Minister for Employment and the Minister for Skills and                                                             Training

Years of prior experience:  0 year

Richard Marles                  Minister for Trade

Years of prior experience: 4 years Slater and Gordon

Julie Collins                         Minister for Community Services, the Minister for Indigenous                                                   Employment and Economic Development, and the Minister for                                                   the Status of Women

Years of prior  experience:  Not clear, but no more than 5 years customer service and                                                           business support roles in real estate and energy environments.

Tanya Plibersek                 Minister for Health and Medical Research

Years of prior experience:  0 years

Joel Fitzgibbon                  Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Years of prior experience: Up to 5 years automotive electrician, electorate officer, part                                                      time technical education lecturer and small business operator

Gary Gray                           Minister for Resources and Energy, the Minister for Tourism,                                                     and the Minister for Small Business

Years of prior experience:  2 years BHP steelworks, and then at the Savings Bank of South                                                  Australia.

Mark Dreyfus                     Attorney-General of Australia,

Years of prior experience:  17 years lawyer

Mark Butler                        Minister for Climate Change and Minister for the Environment,                                                 Heritage and Water

Years of prior experience:  0 years

Bill Shorten                         Minister for Education and Minister for Employment and                                                            Workplace Relations.

Years of prior experience:  1.5 years lawyer

Catherine King                  Minister for Regional Australia, Local Government and                                                               Territories

Years of prior experience: Possible 2-3 years? social worker, research officer and public                                                       servant. social welfare sector in Ballarat

Tony Burke                        Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship

Years of prior experience:  7 years posible work

Bob Carr                             Minister for Foreign Affairs

Years of prior experience:  2 years ABC radio

Jenny Macklin                    Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous                                                        Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform

Years of prior experience: 2 years researcher at the Australian National University

Stephen Smith                   Minister for Defence.

Years of prior experience: 4 years lawyer

Chris Bowen                      Treasurer of Australia

Years of prior experience:  2 years maybe in something related to economics?

Jacinta Collins                   Minister for Ageing and Mental Health

Years of prior experience: 0 years outside of Unions

Penny Wong                      Commonwealth Minister for Finance and Deregulation

Years of prior experience: 0 years

Australian Government

Politics is a funny business.

So here is the verdict:

Total of 65 years of work experience outside of politics spread between the 20 Members of Parliament (and I’ve been VERY generous). This is just over 3 years of experience per politician before we let these people to run the country.

Now, I’m not a whinger, BUT….Is it any wonder that our country’s economy and domestic and foreign policies are up the proverbial creek?