Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the QT: The signs are not good

Tonight I have been out doing things rather art related (yeah I do try every now and then to do things in keeping with my day job), and so I don’t have time to do a full post on the glories of today (give me a break it’s 10:15pm already!).

In Question time the big deal of the day was that four Lib MPs, Dutton and Greg Hunt among them, and three ALP MPs got kicked in the first 20 minutes. Those numbers would have come in handy when Chris Pyne was “named” later in the session. The Opposition lost the vote to stop him being suspended for 24 hours by one vote. Silly boys and girls really.

Even more silly was the Opposition’s tactics. They had a gallery full of anti-tax, carbon price hating pensioners, and so they asked four questions on the issue before turning to asylum seekers!

Why on this day of all days would they do that? Maybe this pic of a sign taken by Latika Bourke at the event gives a hint:


or perhaps this one:


or this one:

pauline knows

It’s pretty obvious the rally was just a One Nation-redux, and with that kind of audience in the gallery it seemed odd that Abbott didn’t even move a censure motion on Gillard – because let’s face it he would have got lots of applause and cheers from his beloved clime change deniers, that would have played well on TV.

Instead what we see of Abbott is this:


Now look I don’t care too much about the signs – sure you don’t want to be on the side with the people holding the signs with “bitch” on it, or wearing t-shirts with Hitler – but it’s a free country, so long as the worst they can do is badly written signs with poor grammar, then fine. However, that doesn’t mean you need to associate yourself with them – especially if you are the Leader of the Opposition and it means you will be seen there talking in front of those signs.

Where the hell were his advisors? Let Bronwyn Bishop and the equally clueless Sophie Mirabella attend. Heck let Warren Truss and Barnaby Joyce do it – they’re talking to their own flock. But for a guy who in the latest Newspoll has a dissatisfaction rating of 54%, the way to win back the moderate supporters is not done by standing on a stage being framed by a sign saying “JuLiar is Bob Browns BITCH”

When I saw it I thought the same thing Richard Farmer mentioned in today’s Crikey – it reminded me of John Hewson attending rallies in the 1993 election yelling “Labor’s got to go”. As Graham Richardson described it – not only was it stupid, it was stupid often. It will be interesting to see if Abbott goes for the often bit as well.

And lastly, why is he standing next to Bishop and Mirabella? Where were his real deputies – Julie Bishop and Joe Hockey? Where was Malcolm Turnbull? My guess is they saw who organised the rally, saw who supported the rally (such as , and saw the signs at the rally, and made damn sure no TV camera would see them there.

MomI have one last question on the rally – who the hell is the fool who wrote this sign?

Mom?? Yeah in Australia we say Mum, but I guess if you really want to seem like the real Tea Party you need to adopt Americanisms as well.

But look, if your “mom” is cold, get her to put on a jumper, that should keep her warm at a rally on a coolish day in Canberra.


Miss Bailey Herself said...

I don't suppose Julie, Joe and Malcolm could have been having leadership conversations?

Greg Jericho said...

They should be Miss Bailey, they should be.

Anonymous said...

I noted on the news tonight that Greg Hunt, Opposition spokesperson on climate matters, was also absent, which he just confirmed on Lateline by saying he was in meetings with people representing several points of view across the spectrum of opinions on climate change. He's an intelligent lad - no way he was going to be caught on the same billing as Pauline and the Hansons.

zz said...

To put it politely Abbott today wrote his own death sentence

Miss Bailey Herself said...

My mother (Bailey's Mother)spoke with her mother about the rally and Abbott's conduct today. It's reassuring to hear an 82 year old say ' People my age do see through him dear. We're not all fools'.

Doug said...

Lucky you, Miss Bailey, to have been raised by such a smart cookie; and lucky Ma Bailey that she still has all her marbles. (Being serious here, not smarmy.)

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

I assume if her 'mom' is cold, she thinks it's proof that there's no global warming.

TP said...

It occurred to me today that Tony seems to be in election campaign mode, with his media stunts and sympathising with people about possible cost of living increases.

I'm going to get really sick of it if it goes on for the next 2.5 years.

The election's over. Our "representatives" are in parliament. That's where the arguments are supposed to occur. I wish the Gov't would get on with it.

I saw Greg Hunt on Lateline. I don't know how he lives with himself describing his discredited "picking winners" scheme as a "market based mechanism".

Anonymous said...

According to Greg Hunt's website: "his preference was for rewarding those who reduce emissions (rather than punishing those who don't)".

Sounds like the traffic system where we reward those who stop at red lights rather than punish those who don't.

Sir Ian Crisp said...

We had a chance to observe the hotheads and clowns in Team Left and Team Right at yesterday’s rally. Some clowns were at the rally and others were looking on. The Team Right hotheads caused senator Brown to put together a written apology to PM Gillard for any offence she may have suffered because of the childish signs carried by some in yesterday’s crowd. Even ex-union heavy Greg Combet was offended. A union man offended by vulgar language? We must be approaching the time when the lion shall lay down with the lamb.

Greg’s and Bob’s track record indicates that parliament is in need of a high top tent as this item demonstrates:

In high spirits, the march moved onto the prime ministers office to highlight and condemn John Howard's support for the so-called war on terrorism, mandatory detention and neo-liberal attacks on working people. Protesters burned an effigy of the prime minister, chanting "burn, Howard, burn".
From Green Left Weekly, May 8, 2002.

And the chant “burn, Howard, burn” seems to pre-date the arrival on the main political stage of Sarah Palin.

kazann said...

I was a little surprised that a rally promoted with such vigour didn't attract a bigger crowd. Not so surprising was Mr Abbott's inability to show some commonsense. I believe these are the moments we see the "true" Tony Abbott. When he is surrounded with like minded individuals, when he forgets to follow the homogenised party line. Did BB and SM draw the short straws? Or are they really just that foolish?

Dave55 said...

Kerry Goldsworthy,

That or her airconditioner is on too high ...


I think you nailed the implications with the point about appealing to the moderates. The irony with Abbott's and the protesters claims about the tax = communism is that the Government's approach is market based and structured around liberal ideals while Abbott's is effective a command economy approach (as pointed out with great glee by Garnaut the last week) - the Moderates can't be liking that.

A couple more polls showing Labr pulling ahead and I suspect the moderates in the party might start getting some gumption (although it will be interesting to see how Hunt justifies another change of opinion if that does happen)

Hillbilly Skeleton said...

Thing I haven't been able to figure out is, what was Dr Ken Wyatt doing there at the front of the stage, right next to Abbott? Not to put too fine a point on it, I imagine that there would have been a goodly number in that crowd yesterday who would have had an equally intolerant attitude to our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters. Sort of like the guy in Dr Wyatt's own seat, who famoulsly said after the election, "If I'd have known he was an Aboriginal I'd have never voted for him."
I honestly thought that Dr Wyatt only ran for the Liberal Party because he thought they had done more for Indigenous Australians than the ALP, not because he was yet another WA Climate Change Denier.
All I have to add after yesterday's spectacle is that the next Newspoll will be very interesting for all parties concerned.

dag said...

Hi Grog, doesn't this rally of the absurd really raise questions about the true influence of the Radio shock jocks? I have to admit that I have listened in bewilderment at ranting loonies convinced they speak for all Australians. Shouldn't it be pointed out some people are being way over paid and their importance overinflated.

@AndySHastings said...

A bill to repeal the provisional voting restrictions and ID requirements introduced by Howard in 2006 passed the Lower House while Abbott was speaking at this rally (the Coalition voted against, of course).


Alistair Baillieu-McEwan said...

As a matter of interest Grog, yesterday I posted a comment here drawing your attention to some unheard (but not unread by anyone familiar with lipreading) language emanating from the Opposition.

I also drew a link between what I perceive as the bullying tactics often employed by some of the Opposition members and Alexander Downer's weak joke on their then proposed Domestic Violence Policy ("the things that batter").

I believe that drawing links between the language of domestic violence heard in Court most days with the language used some members of the Opposition and some of their supporters as I do, is a valid exercise, given also the misognyst references also made to the Prime Minister in many instances.

That comment seems to have disappeared into the ether. Can I enquire whether you deleted it and if so, why; or whether, perhaps, I did not complete the action of posting the comment?

emjar said...

Mr. Abbott was reported as saying that the people at this protest were "representative of middle Australia".If that's the case we're all in serious trouble where I come from (yes...rural, middle Australia) who in fact I know would be completely turned off by this sort of grubby,desperate and very, very disrespectful politicking. I completely agree with dag - this is yet another result of lowbrow shock jocks and their inflated idea that they and their kind can influence and rule the world.
Ms. Gillard, and more particularly, the office of the Prime Minister,as I have said before in this forum,should be given much more respect by her parliamenatry colleagues and the public in general.
Not a good look, Mr. Abbott!!!
And I would love it if he didn't presume to speak for "middle Australia" wherever and what ever that is!!

2353 said...

If the confected outrage (been wanting to use that term doe a while) of Jones, Bolt etc can only get somewhere between 1000 and 3000 people to Canberra for a protest - either they've picked the wrong issue or Jones and Bolt really aren't as powerful or clever as they think they are.

Notus said...

I note THAT sign was missing an apostrophe however the ABC Drum site later included an apostrophe in their text report.
Your ABC, inaccurate reporting but getting the spelling right.

Patricia WA said...

emjar - I think the crowd I joined yesterday at Climate Action Now (CAN) gathering at the Perth Convention Centre was more representative of the kind of middle Australia you and I know.
At least some four hundred people were there, by the way but reported by the ABC as 'about the same size as an anti-Carbon Tax protest of about 150 elsewhere in Perth. There were no coaches bringing in groups either, but lots of youngish people with bikes, oldies like me on foot, or public transport and some very young mothers who may have driven themselves and babies into the city with strollers.

Lots of smiles and congratulations all round about the turn out, warm positive speeches about the renewed optimism about change and the opportunity offered by the hung parliament. People were urged to turn out again at gatherings like this, particularly next week when Julia Gillard will be in WA and in South Fremantle particularly! No nasty slogans or whinging about any particular pollies or party. And certainly no screaming about taxes and the cost of living.

I was ear bashed about the plight of cockatoos and given a pamphlet telling me that they needed my help! How could I refuse...? So I urge you all to find out about them by going to

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know whether anyone profited from selling bus tickets to the protesters.

Pip said...

Where was Alan Jones, one of the main instigators of the Great Big No Carbon Tax Rally? Nowhere to be heard, he's on "leave". Interesting timing.

Anonymous said...

Hunt is the worst kind of hypocrite and reminds me always of a yapping chihuahua as he prances around in his own little pool of smugness.

Abbott pranced around Inverbrackie with Frederic Toben too yet the good folks of the Adelaide Hills have welcomed the "illegals' into their hearts and minds in spite of Abbott's spiteful asscociation with a truly repugnant character.

Anonymous said...

And I wonder why none of the paid up rent a whiner stopped to think that they paid more GST on their bus tickets than they will ever pay on a carbon tax.

And that is Abbott's fault.

Chris Grealy said...

The image says it all really: Bronny, Sophie, and Tonee, three tired old misogynists; reduced to getting their thrills from applause by the lunatic fringe.

Anonymous said...

What do you have when you have a rally of people who are anti-semetic, support command and control economics, that are backed by business, with a tendency to use vitriolic language?


A different Craig said...

And where was Get Up's counter-rally for a Climate Tax.

Ah that's right their rally in Melbourne was for fund raising purposes only, why turn up in Canberra where they wouldn't get the same revenue ROI.

Unknown said...

Americanisms abound.. Labor?? surely should be Labour.

Temijin said...

Is it just me, or is there an asian looking lady in the second picture...brave lady?

Curi-Oz said...

Grog, I spoke with the media lad for Ken Wyatt this morning, who claimed that the most offensive of the placards did not get raised until after Mr Abbot started speaking.

I informed him that I was not overly happy with the behaviour of the Liberals in general, & Abbot in particular, and if they kept Abbot they would probably never realise that things were not the same.

I got the distinct impression that they are not looking forward to Monday in Canberra ...

big cuz said...

go crows, neil craig for PM

Jaeger said...

"My Mom is cold" - sounds like someone needs a hug!

tooeasymate - according to Wikipedia, you can blame King O'Malley for the change in spelling... Labor isn't labour, Liberal isn't liberal, National isn't national. (Green isn't green?)