Thursday, June 23, 2011

On the QT: The element of predictability

And so it reached 3:15pm. There was a sense of nervousness in the air. The House was restless; the gallery confused; the people on Twitter techy dishevelled and at a loss.

Surely on this the anniversary of the rolling of Rudd there would be a censure motion? Usually Abbott needs a pretty good reason to launch a censure motion – you know, like the day ending in a Y – so it was pretty clear there would be a censure motion today. But time was slipping by. It was now 3:20 and Jenny Macklin was responding to a question. Would Tony rise to his feet and move the motion? Everyone in the censure motion sweep sat on the edge of their chairs waiting, wondering. Could this be a fantastic day that would see a Thursday Question Time go all the way through uninterrupted.

Such a thing is so rare, so beyond the ken of the current political system, that one only hoped the galleries were full of young children. Of whom one could say – “Go find the youngest child in the gallery, because that's the only person here who will have a chance of seeing this happen again in their lifetime."

But alas. At 3:21 Tony did stand and sought leave to move a motion of censure against the PM. Why? Did this follow repeated questions that had Julia Gillard cowering and lost? Well no. Given all the questions from the Liberal Party were variants of the theme of what have you done in the last 12 months, she was able to talk about anything she wanted. And so Abbott moved this:

That this House censures the Prime Minister for her failure to achieve anything of substance in 12 months of government after supplanting her predecessor on the basis that the government had lost its way when it is clear on any assessment that things have just gone from bad to worse.

Used to be a time you censored PM’s because of serious things – you know misleading the house or allegations of corruption. Now it’s just “things have gone from bad to worse” (you know if you ignore the economic data which shows that things actually haven’t).

Censure motions used to be something to get the journos rushing back into the gallery. A hold the presses type moment. Now, under Abbott, they are jokes. The ALP MPs call out “I move! I move” When Abbott stands up. They know it’s coming. They don’t care. Gillard leaves, and Abbott makes a big deal about how John Howard would never have left during a censure motion, ignoring of course that under the ALP the censure motion was not reduced to the absurdity it has become under Abbott.

No one cares. The TV doesn’t even bother reporting it anymore.

The rest of QT? It too was hardly worth the bother. Oh yeah I guess you could say Gillard was “attacked”, if the Libs asking the same type of questions is an “attack”. The ALP had two main thrusts – the NBN deal announced today by the PM and Stephen Conroy with Telstra and Optus – a pretty key moment that will basically mean the NBN is going to be here regardless of who wins the next election – and Tony Abbott attending a conference at which climate denier fruit-loop Christopher Monckton will be speaking.

The issue with Monckton (aside from the obvious thing that everyone already knew) is that he recently compared Ross Garnaut to Hitler. And not in a subtle nudge nudge way, But with a bloody Swastika! Abbott still intends to speak – though he did condemn Monckton for his statements.

But in the end it was all a bit sideshowy.

In other real news the House and Senate sat later than expected because of this:


Messages from the Senate, 23 June 2011, were reported returning the following bills without amendments or requests:

No. 151—Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment 2011.

No. 152—Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 5) 2011.

No. 154—Appropriation (No. 1) 2011-2012 (without requests).

No. 155—Appropriation (No. 2) 2011-2012.

No. 153—Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) (No. 1) 2011-2012, 9:41:34 PM.

   29  MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE—Remuneration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011

Message No. 156, 23 June 2011, from the Senate was reported returning the Remuneration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 with amendments, 9:41:46 PM.

Mr Albanese, 9:42:13 PM, moved—That the amendments be considered immediately.

Question—put and passed, 9:42:22 PM.

Mr Albanese, 9:42:33 PM, moved—That the amendments be agreed to.

Question—put and passed, 9:42:46 PM.

That there was the Budget being passed. So much for the House being unworkable. So much for the Govt losing control of the house. So much for Abbott and Hockey amending and improving the Budget.

What was Joe Hockey doing today? Well he didn’t ask a question during QT – probably because he had been too busy this morning carrying on like a primary school kid getting his advisors to take a cardboard cut out of Kevin Rudd around to various embassies and places in Canberra. He then proceeded to tweet them :

  • After a long day of travel @KRuddMP decides it is time for a rest at Aussie's in Parliament House about 3 hours ago via TweetDeck
  • Then @KRuddMP pops up to Red Hill to look over the land he once controlled. "It should all be mine!" he excla… (cont) about 5 hours ago via TweetDeck

  • Then @KRuddMP decided to drop in to say hi to his friends at the Indonesian embassy. about 6 hours ago via TweetDeck

  • This morning @KRuddMP visited China.

  • It was utterly juvenile, and only funny on a pull my finger kind of humour level. But what made Joe’s efforts so lacking in comedic timing and class was that he decided to string out the tweets over the whole day  and ended by tweeting a few of them at the same time that most political watchers on Twitter were absorbed in the SBS documentary series Go Back Where You Came From. Having Hockey tweet his “jokes” while the rest of the Twit stream was filled with people expressing horror at women in such appalling conditions that they would sing a joyful song about no longer being raped, showed a decided lack of political nous.

    Though he was only slightly less foolish than Scott Morrison who also tweeted during a program that forced people to confront the hell that asylum seekers have to endure each day:

    What a champ.


    An announcement

    And that my friends ends my regular blog posts on Question Time for a while. In fact it also ends my regular blog posts during the week on any topic.

    I have recently moved to part-time (Thursday and Fridays off) and am writing a book for the good folk at Scribe Publications on (rather coincidentally given the last parts of this post) on Social Media: Politics, Policy and Journalism.

    As it usually takes about 3 hours each night to write these posts I have decided I will for the next 6 months need to use that time to research and write the book instead.

    I will try to write a couple posts a week – but they will more likely be on a Thursday or Friday night and the weekends, and be more weekly summations than a review of the day’s proceedings.

    This is all a bit of an ‘I plan not to write so much”, but given this has been my addiction for the last 3 years (3rd anniversary 15th of next month) I probably will make a liar out of myself and bang out some words more regularly than once or twice a week – though the On the QT posts will probably take a back seat as they can be buggers to write – especially if I want to quote things said.

    So I will still be here (and as ever on Twitter), but I hope you will excuse my drop in regularity.

    I’ll keep you posted on the book progress. I have already lined up some very interesting people to interview, and hope to talk to many more as well.

    This blog and more importantly your readership and support has opened this door for me, so I thank you for that.

    Oh and by the way, by reading this post, you have just agreed to buy the damn book when it comes out!


    Space Kidette said...

    Congratulations Grog! I enjoy your posts, but will, reluctantly, defer the pleasure of your writing until your book is published.

    I wish you much enjoyment in your new venture.

    Michelle said...

    I feel like throwing an 'Abbott' (tantrum) and demanding that you keep blogging because I look forward to it every day and miss it when you dont blog on a day but will constrain myself and look forward to buying your book - I hope it will be available in a real live bookstore!

    lapuntadelfin said...

    The candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long.

    Glad you are doing what you are doing and all the best for the project

    Anonymous said...

    Will def buy the book! Good luck and best wishes Greg!

    Unknown said...

    Wow. I don't know how well I'll get on without your regular blog posts - their something of an addiction for me.'re writing a book!

    I'm very happy for you. I've been wondering for some time when you would take your brilliant writing to a professional level. I most certainly will buy a copy when it's finished.

    I hope it's a pleasant experience for you and a success. (Increasing the chances you'll write another) :)

    Anonymous said...

    Good luck grogs

    Unknown said...

    Sorry, did you imply that people still write BOOKS? I thought they just downloaded a program that compiled tweets. My bad.

    Janie said...

    Can we censure you for not writing your blog? Good luck with book - will look forward to it.

    BH said...

    Will miss your posts, Grog but will be first in line to buy the book.

    Happy writing!

    westwickate said...

    first no more derek guille, now grog's taking a drop... i really will get some of work done.
    Congrats to you - look forward to the product.

    Casablanca said...

    Best wishes for your professional book writing career. A very apposite topic for you to write about.

    Put me down for a first edition copy.

    I shall be bereft without your wonderful blog. Come back soon Grog.

    Allan said...

    Thanks for the time and effort you put in to these posts Greg - greatly appreciated. I am sure your book will be as insightful and interesting as these have been and look forward to reading the posts you are able to produce in the future.

    Rhiannon said...

    We will miss you very much indeed (I avoid twitter as I actually needto look after my kids occasionally) but thank you so much for your wonderful posts and I look forward to any in the future. Also look forward to reading your book, and congratulations.

    denise said...

    How sad and happy at the same time. Just as long as you are back before the next election is due to be called.

    macca said...

    I'll take a dozen

    Apathy said...

    Good luck with the book Grog and thank you very much for all your insight and scribes, they have been a rose amongst the thorns.

    See you at your book signing. I will be the screaming, inconsolable fan at the back of the queue ;-)

    P.S. – with the release of your book, I think you should do a box set with a T-Shirt which says “I (love heart symbol) my Grog.” I reckon it would drive Nicola nuts.

    Take care.

    Anonymous said...

    "Oh and by the way, by reading this post, you have just agreed to buy the damn book when it comes out!"

    Well given I do not have a proper book store any more just make sure it is available as an ePub :)

    wigmob said...


    "Like a broken pencil"

    Hillbilly Skeleton said...

    And there I was looking forward to your ritual humiliation of Abbott in Question Time after July 1, when he and the party/Coalition he leads becomes a whole lot more irrelevant to the political process and we actually start getting some real moves by the government and The Greens being implemented. Sigh.
    However, knowing you as I sort of do, I imagine you won't be able to resist the temptation and your once or twice, or if we're lucky, thrice, weekly updates and musings will continue to keep us entertained and informed.
    Now, back to Twitter in the hope I get a mention in the book. ;)
    Have fun writing it.

    the bogan whisperer said...

    grog is becoming who he was born to be

    Cam Manning said...

    Look forward to that book. All the best

    Anonymous said...

    I like to agree with hillbilly skelton,

    ~"I imagine you won't be able to resist the temptation and your once or twice, or if we're lucky, thrice, weekly updates and musings will continue to keep us entertained and informed."~

    in hope that she is right :)

    'Break a pencil..'
    debbiep - usually Anonymous

    Malcolm Young said...

    Good luck with book Grog - you'll be sorely missed.

    Dressy said...

    Damn! There goes my only chance of understanding what is actually occurring in government. Wish you well in writing your book. I certainly will buy and read it.

    2353 said...

    Make the book a bit "wetter" than Sidelines please!

    All the best & "see" you soon

    Anonymous said...

    Greg, like our buddy the bogan whisperer I wish you all the best with this new and exciting phase in your life.

    Luke V.D.H

    Greg Jericho said...

    Cheers all, much appreciated.

    Yes 2353 - I'll try to keep it out of the dry territory.

    The book is not going to be a "Grogs Gamut writ large", but I hope to keep the tone pretty chatty all the same.

    And yes I will no doubt cover the whole "outing" saga.

    Tom Fool said...

    Grog, I'm shattered. Have really enjoyed your blog over the past twelve months. Spoke to a mate only yesterday about what political commentary I read, and recommended your blog to him. Also told him that you would be no doubt snapped up by one of the broadsheets in the near future! Anyway, good luck with your book, you're right, I do owe it to you to buy it. Cheers

    Beth said...

    Congrats on the book, but who should I now turn to for the sort of political summary that has me punching the air and going "Yes! Yes!" and then quoting random facts to anyone who will listen.

    Come back soon!

    Caesar Wong said...

    That seals the deal. Yours will be the 2nd ever political book I've ever purchased in my entire life - having had less than zero interest in politics prior to discovering your blog. Sadly the honour of first place goes to Lindsay Tanner's Sideshow, but you can claim the credit for that too!

    Doug said...

    After writing to QandA and The Insiders several times suggesting they invite you and similar bloggers to participate instead of the usual airhead MPs and MSM hacks, I still hold out hope of seeing you on the telly. Probably just dreaming.
    I know you can't but it would be nice if, like Crikey, you could email your blogs when new ones appear.
    As it is, I will have to check every day and more often than not be disappointed, it seems.
    This is a very selfish move by you but I guess after your contributions to intelligent debate on Aust society over the last few years you are entitled to some "me time". Hope it all goes well mate.

    Anonymous said...

    Have never posted before but thanks so much for your blog. Can't wait for the book. I will definitely miss your insightful and often hilarious observations. Thank you.

    BennO said...

    I stopped reading the Australian after they identified you because I thought it was awfully petty of them. It was the final straw among many, but nonetheless a very important one. I don't miss it one bit. I am, however, grateful to them for doing so because I hadn't heard of you up until then.

    One of the first things I read from you was an explanation that you simply have to write since finishing your PhD (at least I think you wrote that!). I found that quite an interesting and inspiring comment. Now, having just finished my own PhD I am starting to understand what you mean. I'll not be joining you in political commentary but I have started writing my own blog for friends and family. So far it's been a fun way to use some left over creative thought at the end of the day. So thanks for your posts so far, and all the best with your book writing. I'm really stoked you've got an opportunity to pen something and look forward to reading it.

    Alistair Baillieu-McEwan said...

    And so it's come to this......... (as they say).
    Thanks very much for your efforts on this site to date. I look forward to the publication of your book (a good publisher by the way).

    Anonymous said...

    Possum put me on to you and I've spread the Grog around.
    So many scumbags and so few to shine a light on their bullsh_t. Now one of the best searchlights ever is off to earn a living. At least it's not cold turkey for us readers.
    Enjoy and I'll buy your book, I might even read it. ;)

    Anonymous said...

    Well done on the book deal, sounds interesting. Your temporary departure from regular blogging has probably disappointed both readers who value your observations and insight and some News Ltd scribes who scour your blog for incriminating evidence...

    Greg Jericho said...

    Thanks BennO - good luck with the blogging

    drillvoice said...

    Such bittersweet news! Good luck with the book, I look forward to it. Please go in for such rhetorical flourishes as made the second paragraph of this post so enjoyable.

    Anonymous said...

    Best wishes Grog. You are compulsory reading as far as I am concerned - you leave most opinion writers for dead. We need more like you. Look forward to your book - while waiting for it I am going to enjoy the performances of the news limited crew, Abbott and Co, Jones and Hadley etc. etc. now that the Green's control the Senate.
    Even started my own Blog, after many readings of yours.
    Good Luck!!!!!!!!

    Anonymous said...

    I am bereft.! :(

    So are my Facebook friends with whom I share your blog entries.

    I look forward to the book. As Blackboard used to say - "Hurry up!" ;)


    emjar said...

    I was very excited about your great opportunities when Uncle Roger told me the other day.Well done you!!And well deserved.Now I've realised the implications for me and ......I'm devastated.How am I supposed to make sense of everything in politics now? I mean ....I am blonde and you always made things so clear.
    Good Luck,thank you for the last three years of required reading, and hope to still read you regularly.
    And, yes,put me down for a copy or two.Make sure it's published at Christmas and you'll really clean up.I would think that your book would be required in every thinking man and women's Xmas stocking!!

    The Rev Mountain said...

    Glad to hear, Grog! Not the smaller number of posts, of course, but very much looking forward to the book and I can't think of a better person to write on the subject.
    Have always loved your blog, and you are a major reason I started writing more on Dickhead Frenzy.
    Good luck, looking forward to reading the long form Gamut.

    Craig Thomler said...

    Btw Greg did you see that you were called a 'moonlighting screen bureaucrat' over at Unleashed by Ben Eltham

    Maarten said...

    Thanks for your probing insights and additional information to make sense of the hyperbole. The Oz will breathe a totally unjustified sigh of relief.

    Good luck with your book. I am sure it will show the same qualities we appreciate so much in the your blog.

    Notus said...

    Always knew you were too good to stay on this side of the pay wall.
    The quality of your blog has been an embarrassment to overpaid journos.

    Greg Jericho said...

    I saw that Craig - straight on the CV!

    kazann said...

    Congratulations Greg. My first thought was wow, my second "Oh! F#ck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole!" Who is going to inform me about QT now?
    Again congratulations and I look forward to the book and possibly some hints on the title down the track.

    Anonymous said...

    "Oh and by the way, by reading this post, you have just agreed to buy the damn book when it comes out!"

    Contract accepted.

    Bushfire Bill said...

    Your many fans will miss your must-read posts Greg.

    All the best for the book.

    Bushfire Bill.

    L said...

    This book had better be damned good, because it looks like now I'll have no choice but to get my fix of political musings from Gerard Henderson's Media Watchdog.

    Patricia WA said...

    Ditto to all the above, Grog! I tried to think of a small token of appreciation for you. This came out in response to your recent plea for someone to throw a wreath to Peter Reith. Will this do? I'm sure you and your readers don't need the explanatory notes I've posted elsewhere!

    A Gamut of Emotions About Once ‘Honorable’ Peter Reith

    Typical of Liberals to say “No!” to Peter Reith,
    They should have honored him, not kicked him in the teeth.
    A man like him, so deserving of reward,
    Instead has been discarded and then thrown overboard.

    He more than others deserved the laurel wreath.
    Modern Liberal spirit shows how much he has bequeathed.
    His party should be grateful for all he’s done,
    Not lock him out, reject him by a majority of one.

    How must he feel, hounded out by such a pack of dogs.
    Does he regret his political life, so full of paradox?
    This, a simple tribute, to the patrician Peter Reith,
    Hides a depth of feelings and my meaning underneath.

    hilary-edwards said...

    Good luck and I know it will be good but boy o boy I am going to miss your blogs.
    They centered me, they made me giggle, they gave me hope that there was an honest man out there, sigh

    Hughie said...

    Did you notice this item in the Weekend Oz?

    The pertinent bit in full:

    Cut it out

    ACCORDING to Liberal MP Stuart Robert, Joe Hockey's jolly Twitter japery with photos of a travelling cardboard Kevin Rudd (Strewth, yesterday) was an example of "how you can use social media to make your point". When the ABC's Latika Bourke launched Robert's observation into the Twittersphere, some of the responses were so unkind, they momentarily deflected us from the pressing question: What point could Hockey have been making? Perhaps it was like true art and, to borrow a Blackadderism, like a box of broken pencils: pointless.

    Vic said...

    Congratulations and good luck with the book Greg. The blogosphere will be poorer for having fewer posts from you, one of the few voices of reason.


    Autocrat said...

    Need more blog entries. Keep nassssty book.