Enough Is Enough

Apparently one in three Australians want convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby to go free, even though only one in ten believes she is innocent.

In 2004, Corby was caught with 4kg of cannabis at the Bali airport. While this is not a hanging offence in Australia, it almost is in Indonesia. She got twenty years. Repeated appeals have faltered, her living conditions in the Indonesian prison have been well documented, yet her crime of smuggling marijuana is unproven.

Corby’s appeals to the Australian government have gone unheeded. Howard washed his hands of the whole affair, citing international protocol, “I hope justice is done and it’s a fair and true verdict”. The Labor Party agreed with him. Only Bob Brown dissented.

Meanwhile back in Australia, Tony Abbott, speaking at a public forum in Rooty Hill on Wednesday told the audience that he ‘had inhaled’ when at uni.

Enough is enough. If it’s good enough for middle Australia to enjoy a toke or two, how hypocritical are we not to demand Corby’s release into Australian custody? Even if she was guilty, she was only doing what our suppliers do on a regular basis for us.

Enough is enough. Bring her home.

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Fence Sitting

While we wait out the remaining two weeks of the election campaign, words really seem wasted waxing any further on the attributes of either side. For every inch Gillard and Abbott gain, they each lose a mile the next day. Julia with her inconsistencies, and Tony with his continued ‘foot in the mouth’ affliction. It’ll be down to the wire, almost too close to call. I barrack for the Libs, not necessarily Abbott, but I reckon the crown will go to Labor.

That’s not fence-sitting, it’s an analysis of the electorate I live in, the media I read, and the mainstream blogs I visit. Sadly, I don’t hope that Tony takes the prize. Should his party gain the ascendency they’ll need to do a much needed overhaul of policy and cabinet ministers that could perhaps be better done in private. On the other hand, should Labor win, they’ll need to get quick smart back on that steep learning curve. The one where a political party learns how to go from being a populist choice to a stable government.

A Blowtorch to The Belly

Neville Wran’s classic line ‘a blowtorch to the belly’ could not be more apt now that Julia Gillard is experiencing a backlash against her honeymoon of approval. While enjoying overwhelming support from women and Gen Y voters, the media are biting at her heels to prove she has a chequered political past. It seems she was vociferously against parental leave and pension increases, belatedly for the cost, but in reality, because they were vote losers.

Not a good look for the new PM who uses the ‘jazz hands’ to ensure us she has the interests of ‘all Australians’ at heart. While these shenanigans by the dirt diggers may not be entirely ethical, they certainly open the curtains of a Cabinet that needs exposure if we, the general public, are to get beyond the spin that is this election.

Today Peter Hartcher, Herald journo, throws in with the suggestion that Labor have asked Kevin Rudd to campaign outside of his electorate for the Labor Party. It belies belief that they would do this, but given their desperation for re-election nothing is surprising.

A Sporting Chance

Possibly the strongest, most detailed speech Tony Abbott has ever made came in the form of a ’12-point plan’ delivered yesterday at the Liberal party’s federal council meeting. Obviously prompted by the Shakespearean-like shenanigans that have overwhelmed the Labor Party this week and given Australia its first female prime minister, he has rallied to the call and told us what he will do if elected Prime Minister.

While continuing to lambast Labor, and Gillard, for the failures of the past two years, he has nonetheless put some teeth into the Liberals’ strategy.

His programme is a pragmatic, archly conservative short list; strong on substance and devoid of spin. Given Tony’s well publicised beliefs, and the direction the Liberal Party has taken recently, this initial outline of policy is unlikely to meet with overwhelming support from the general public.

Polls on Friday showed that the electorate is in a honeymoon period, a euphoric afterglow following the decapitation by Labor of their esteemed leader in favour of his deputy.

Tony Abbott has an uphill climb ahead of him this week and throughout July. With the election fated for late August*, he has a slight window of opportunity to level the playing field.

Is that time for the euphoria to wear off? Is that time for Labor to once again fail to deliver on both services and outcomes? Only time will tell, and as Booker T once said, ‘Time Is Tight’.

Instead of budgie smugglers and running shoes, perhaps the Bovver Boy needs to put his skates on.

#spill – well that’s what twitter calls it

There has been, as of 8pm tonight, a move on the leadership of the Federal Labor Party. While Julia Gillard hasn’t formally challenged Rudd, the right wing faction are supporting her. As I write this, there is turmoil, not only within the Labor camp, but also the Liberal Party. This challenge will, in an instant, change the landscape of the upcoming election.

In one fell swoop, by installing Gillard as PM, Labor can erase its past mistakes, blaming them, perhaps unfairly, on Kevin Rudd. Equally, in one fell swoop, Tony Abbott has lost most of the ground he has recently gained. Labor will have cleaned the slate, and gained another chance. Gillard is undoubtedly a more convincing leader than Rudd ever was. Rudd’s job was to oust Howard. He did that with alacrity and aplomb. However his subsequent performance has been lacklustre to say the least.

On the other hand, by installing Tony Abbott as leader, the Libs have put all their money on returning a government along the lines of the Howard government. This has been a mistake of massive proportions. There will never be another long-serving conservative government along the lines of the Howard regime. He was a fitting end to an era.

Like Obama, Rudd was a herald of the new century, yet, unlike Obama, perhaps Rudd is merely a seat-warmer. The hours will decide.

The leadership challenge has been posted. Rudd has given a press conference.

Soon after 9am, we’ll all know who is going head to head with Tony Abbott.

Highly Opinionated

Look in the Herald on any given day and you get a range of paid opinions. Leaving out salaried analysts, most opinions seem garnered from whichever out of work celeb or high profile professional needs the bucks or the kudos most.

Charles Waterstreet has to be one of the worst. Though he is a barrister, his articles sound like he ingested too much LSD in the 60s and is only now working out which way is up.

Lisa Prior, a GenY journo yet to reach twenty five, has the audacity to propound on issues that only affect people much older than herself. This is comforting to older people who are glad she’s a journo and not in the Labor Party.

Miranda Devine, on the other hand, presents a severely right wing solution to every situation. Whether or not you agree with Miranda, at least she doesn’t write drug addled commentary or speak in three letter syllables, lol.

And you thought this lot were boring…..

On the supposedly entertaining side of commentary, the dross takes over from the droll and presents us with ‘celebrity’ opinions. These are opinions formulated by any celeb who can spin two words together and needs a buck. It’s a marriage made in heaven for both tabloids and unemployed celebs; a guaranteed eye-catcher is an article expounded by anyone who has ever been on the front page.

This isn’t journalism, this isn’t even reporting, it’s called feeding the chickens*, it’s chaff for the masses, it sells newspapers, captures eyeballs on TV, gets clicks on the web, outrage in the letters columns, and very little else.

A vacuous conduit behind which the real world of politics, business and creativity function unhindered and unheard of. Is this a bad thing?

I don’t think so…

*euphemism

Down By The Schoolyard

A schoolboy in short pants attempting a man’s job, who could that be? I’d hazard a guess that our milquetoast PM fits that bill. Along with his schoolyard playmates, Swanny, who can’t do his sums, despite being our Treasurer, and their gal pal, Gillard, the carrot top who reckons that by erecting a few overpriced shelter sheds, minus the walls, constitutes an education revolution, we’ve got a debacle that can only be exacerbated by inviting the only cool guy in school, the one who sings in a band, to actually do something. Unfortunately, Knucklehead was only ever good at cavorting on stage, not climbing into the roof to check the insulation.

Fortunately the triumvirate realised this and enlisted Lindsay Tanner to complete the Gang of Four. As Finance Minister he proposed a tax on the only sector of Australian business that is actually prospering after the GFC.

Killing the goose that laid the golden egg is certainly one way to achieve a windfall, but certainly not the way to ensure Australia’s economic future.

While the previous regime shackled us with an unworkable ‘Work Choices’ policy, yet left us with money in the bank, this group of political neophytes seems intent on leaving us with a Whitlam-esque sized debt, an open border policy, and a complete lack of concern for any in the community who aren’t classified as ‘working families’.