Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Election 2010: Day 26 (or rooty toot toot)

While watching the health debate between Nicola Roxon and Peter Dutton as the National Press Club during lunch today I bit on something hard, which was rather disconcerting since I was eating a ham and cheese toasty. simpsI quickly realise a filling in my back tooth had fallen out. I thus felt like I was actively getting into the spirit of the topic, but it did mean I didn't pay as much attention as I normally would have because I kept saying to myself “Dental Plan!… Lisa needs braces… Dental Plan!… Lisa needs braces”.

The debate was again a good one – these portfolio debates are generally good things because they don’t have the attention that does the leaders debates, and because the ministers are supposed to be across policy, the debate is very policy heavy and not so big on the waffle and motherhood statements. The debate was also moderated by The Daily Telegraph’s Sue Dunlevy who is hands down the best journalist on health policy in the country, and truth be told, we’d probably be all better off if it was she who was Health Minister.

Both Roxon and Dutton did well. Dutton, by virtue of the fact he didn't start drooling and mumbling incoherently exceeded expectations.

The problem with the ALP’s policy is it is a more wide ranging than the Liberals – the Liberal Party’s health policy is more targeted at doing small thing well – or more to the point focussing on which ever lobby group is in ascendency – and at the moment the mental health lobby is strong. Now I have no problems with people saying we need more spent on mental health, but the way the Liberal Party is paying for  their mental health by taking money away from things the ALP is doing. Dutton and Abbott would have you believe they are spending $1.5b in addition to what the ALP is spending on health – they’re not. The problem for Roxon was she was trying to sell a plan whereas Dutton was talking more about specific projects, and ignoring the piecemeal aspect of his policy.

100811_election_fp_4The leaders meanwhile were doing their thing in South Australia and Melbourne. Abbott was down at Lake Alexandria talking about putting more water into lower lakes. It sounded nice and got an okish response from the media – The Advertiser front page wasn't that bad, though it smacked a bit of “he’s not doing quite as much as Julia said she’d do”. And The Advertiser's editorial was pretty equivocal about it:

The Government has made a promising start by purchasing more than 900 billion litres of annual entitlements. Now it has committed to buy back all the water recommended by the scientific assessment contained in the MDBA guidelines. It is a game-changing move.

The Coalition has responded with a plan that promises immediate action where it is needed most - at the mouth.

It may be hard to decide which is superior but that is infinitely better than having no choice at all. Which ever side wins this election, the river may have finally got a score on the board.

Julia meanwhile was in Melbourne talking up welfare and also then whipping off to Sydney to pledge $2.1b for a rail link between Parramatta and Epping.

Now for some (especially the Liberal Party) this is just another promise that won’t happen, for others it is about time. It certainly got good coverage in the Sydney papers:

100811_election_fp_3   100811_election_fp_2Whether or not the voters will “buy it” remains to be seen. But someone certainly did buy it, because one punter slapped down $200,00o on the ALP to win, and the odds for an ALP win moved in from $1.55 on the weekend to $1.36, and the odds on a Lib victory blew out from $2.45 to $3.10.

After the morning’s announcements both leaders trooped along to Rooty Hill RSL for no good reason to indulge in a little Sky News/ Daily Telegraph bit of piffle. Basically is was a Sky version of Q and A.

Rather oddly Sky decided not to allow the feed to go out to other networks, meaning probably around 44,000 would be watching – ie it is meaningless.

The audience was supposedly “undecided” but in reality it was about as undecided as the Tony Abbott household. Julia Gillard got a noticeably tougher line of questions – but she did handle them with aplomb. Abbott – who was smart to go and stand with the “people” rather than stay on the stage – was given a long line of slow long hops . One woman essentially read out the Liberal Party’s broadband plan and asked if he agreed with it.

Big-Brother-2007s-Joel-5455802Another supposedly undecided voter was quickly identified as former Big Brother contestant Joel Scalzi –the son of a former Liberal Party candidate in SA , and whose Big Brother bio lists:

Joel is an elite athlete, a neat freak and a Young Liberal.

It was a joke forum that won’t change a vote. Yeah The Daily Telegraph will run it – they did sponsor it, but these things don’t change votes unless you;re actually there, or at least watch it – and not enough people watched it. 

And because it wasn't a debate Abbott was able to get away with an inordinate amount of bullshit. He was able to talk about the NBN being like the government building a really fancy car, and he just sprouted away about how much debt there had been built up etc etc.

He was asked about R18+ ratings for computer games, and he expressed ignorance on it, and suggested he was in favour of it, which is kind of interesting given the Liberal Party is not exactly in favour of it. But still I’m sure he’s happy to have publically supported a policy advocated by The Greens.

He also ended by saying that these type of forums where fantastic and that politicians needed them to keep it real. Which is rather interesting given one of the first cuts he made in this election was to dump the community cabinets. Guess he doesn’t like them when The Daily Tel isn't picking the audience.


Yesterday I had a bit of a quick go at the Liberal broadband policy. But for a real take down of it. Head over to Andrew Elder’s blog, and see him take it down line by line.


Lis Petersen said...

Spot on once again, tooth crisis not preventing succinct analysis of an otherwise ho hum day at the stump. Ironic too that most online viewers interested in watching the #rooty forum screened live probably had dodgy internet that prevented a decent download! Was interesting though how quick Sky News Aust were to point out Galaxy were responsible for the audience selection, not them. Abbott's working of the audience was curious considering he's been acting like he's on Ritalin to date (or perhaps the mercury in his fillings is settling?), whilst Julia G once again showed intellect and ninja hands CAN fend off rabid pensioners in Sydney's western suburbs. Wax on... wax off.

Dave said...

If you need a good dentist to redo your fillings then give my mother at Evatt Dental Care a call.

Jaeger said...

The Rooty Hill sham doesn't surprise me a bit. No doubt there will be a coachload of Young Libs ferried in to Q&A next week to make sure Tony isn't asked any difficult questions.

Labor should run hard with the "sliding in without scrutiny" line, especially after Robb announced they wouldn't get Treasury to cost the policies they've announced in case they are leaked. WTF? Either they've messed up their estimates, or the policy isn't what they've announced - or both. Voters have a right to know!

Jaeger said...

Bad form to reply to my own comment, but from the ABC's Election Live page this morning:

"The Coalition is looking to offer the public more transparency when it comes to government spending.

They will today announce a plan to provide taxpayers with receipts to show exactly how their tax dollars being spent. The receipt would also show the level of net government debt from current and previous years."

Presumably this won't involve the leaking Treasury?!

Towel said...

Actually I think if Tony Abbott wins this election it might not be so bad ...

He'll be such a disaster that in 3 years Labor will waltz back into power.

I don't see how it's possible for Abbot to deliver, lets look at it:

Boats: The policies Abbott wants to implement are the same that eventually came undone under Howard. The same thing WILL happen again, and God forbid the boats keep coming - wow!

Economy: He'll still have the debt, he'll still have to spend money, he'll still have the states to deal with, and if he rushes into his spending like he's promising then he will waste money!

NBN: This is a HUGE risk because the bush have always complained about poor service and the National party are meant to be fighting for them. This will come back to hurt Abbott badly.

Apu said...

Re Joel
Fran Kelly this morning was spruiking the coalition water launch as Real Action and then played bits from Rooty Hill. One guess as to what was included - Joel!!!

Is there no limit to the bias/stupidity/laziness/intellectual compromise?

Pip said...

A tiny point, it's Lake Alexandrina. Apart from that I agree with every word. On the other hand the Daily Telegraph is such a credible organisation.....

Anonymous said...

The Rooty Hill thingie was clearly a setup (see Bob Ellis' story on this at ), and it's likely from the exit poll interviews that many attendees had made their minds up prior to going. Abbott gets 35.5% of the audience to Gillard's 29.5%, and 35.0% *still undecided*. Hardly a decisive victory for Abbott.

Anonymous said...

I'll try that link again....

Anonymous said...

Okay, can't get my fingers to work... the last bit is .htm

Sorry about multi posts!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The 'Shaggers Ridge Showdown' will go down in annals of Australian Political history as the turning point for when the Australian public saw in all it's glorious bastardry the depths of mendacity Mr Murdoch and his Liberal Loving patsies have descended to. There was the PM, given a perch and then grilled by halfwits, fuckwits, smart arses, young Libs, morons, bogans and the generally mentally challenged. Oh, what a cavalcade of statistically selected at random 'typical' Aussie swinging voters…..1. Throw in a 'my name is Lesthley and I am a Lethbian from Organ' and you get the picture. Bravo your recitation young lady on the changes to the penal codes through the ages. WTF? 2. Well done too the soccer mum from Botswana who verballed the PM and sounding like a whining Dr's wife from Central Casting. Ask the question, sit down, shut up. 3. And you too, you poor nuffy, who got the last question in to the PM about the George Benson - I'm sure the Centrelink media team have already done their work and are wondering if you'll declare the paltry appearance fee you got from Galaxy on your next quarterly review. I’m sure Patrick McGorry will worry when he sees the depths of the Liberals desperation to have selected and preyed upon a member of society clearly a few votes short of a branch stack to hopefully generate a potential media-moment to embarrass the PM. (Newsflash newshounds – she is used to dealing with the disadvantaged – and gets paid well to do so in Question Time). 4. And what of our baby-faced, bespectacled economic illiterate having to have debt as a proportion of GDP explained to him in terms that even an eleven year old could grasp and to still have the cheek, the gall, the Latham in him to verbal the PM and persist. Lay off the junk food Little Lord Fauntleroy. 5. As for the Latin Lothario, the faux-fluro with the DVD collection and the uptight school teacher - give yourselves a big pat on the back and have a wallop as you watch yourselves on tape over and over and over and kid yourselves that you speak for your fellow citizens, but you don’t, you have done the bidding of the Silken Master, Mr Murdoch, and his mendacious malefactors at the Daily Telegraph. You pathetic, rude, impudent, half bred idiots! As for the PM - well, handle them with aplomb she did. Harsh lighting, a lone figure on an empty stage, not even the decency to have had a glass of water provided to her on a table beside her - this was the bride stripped bare and a politico-psychological media assault of the highest order. But she just hit you all out of the park for six with grace and bon-homie, why she even wastes her time on things of this ilk tells me she is SERIOUSLY in this for idealistic reasons, not naked power grabbing and born to rule like Mr Rabbit. And Mr Rabbit - playing the right wing libertarian straight from central casting, all man of steel, jaw jutting strength, staring each inquisitor down, spitting and umming and lizard licking his way through marshmallow puff questions to the rapturous applause of the paid up Liberal rent-a-crowd. He hit his chalk line, lighting right, authentic Tone, Captain Catholic, Iron man, budgie smuggler, hero that he is. And didn’t say a fucking thing of any consequence, any substance, just the same old mantra. He has to be medicated, surely? And they lapped it up - for the measly $50 bux and finger food they all got, shitting themselves as they read from their scripts, hoping for some social rub off and bragging rights that they, Mr and Mrs Swing Voters of Australia have become the plimsol line of political debate in this country and speak for all of us…. No you don’t, and neither do you Speers – you have a good look behind you as I am sure there is a big pole stuck up your arse that has LiberalLube written on it. A disgrace.

Anonymous said...

It's not just this event but the whole shooting match that has got my goat.

The process of telling us repeatedly that Good is Bad and Bad is Good is mind numbing. Perhaps it is directed to TV audiences who are used to this sort of value transfer - Big Brother is Reality TV.

The Libs are "stable: (after 3 leaders in less than 3 years). Labour is unstable after one change of leader.

BER is a ripoff and waste of funds when ALL evidence by objective parties says otherwise. At 97% efficiency it would put almost all other Government programs to shame.

Government debt is "out of control" when all the world wishes they had debt at just 6% of GDP.

The list goes on and on.

No one seems interested in facts.

The PR machines have as their focus the problem of how to present the unelectable as electable.

Despite all the known faults of Abbott, he is being presented in a cloak of prudence and sound behavior. Anyone who has examined his history of public contact knows this is not how he operates and will operate when the artificial situation of an election campaign is over.

We are being sold something that is NOT true.

It is said countries deserve the governments they elect.

If the Libs get up on 21st August, then there will be some very sorry people soon after.

If the world economies slow down again, recession in Australia will follow as the Libs will not spend to stop it. For the new home buyers who will be out of work in the recession, remember which the political party got your votes on Saturday 21st August.

Greg Jericho said...

Actually Anaon if the Libs get back in and there is a global slow down, they'll probably do what Treasury tells them to do and provide some stimulus and with more front than Myer will say that going into debt is the prudent thing.

Checkers said...

At 97% efficiency it would put almost all other Government programs to shame.

And most private ventures.