NOTE: I might come back to this blog one day. I can't be bothered right now.

PM continues to misrepresent the truth. He must go

There was a great article written by former Prime Minster of Australia Bob Hawke called "The PM continues to misrepresent the truth. He must go", published on November 21, 2007 by The Age newspaper.

Bob Hawke deciphers the arguments made by current Prime Minister John Howard on why we should not vote Labor, Hawke explains that each one based on a gross misrepresentation of the truth.

"I will now demolish those arguments, not with opinions but with facts." - Hawke

The PM continues to misrepresent the truth. He must go
Bob Hawke
November 21, 2007

JOHN Howard has advanced three arguments why you should not vote Labor, each one based on a gross misrepresentation of the truth. I will now demolish those arguments, not with opinions but with facts.

First, the trade union bogy. Every working Australian, and those dependent on them, is indebted to the trade union movement. Everything they take for granted that largely makes up their standard and quality of living — their pay structure, paid annual leave, long-service leave, sick leave, penalty rates, equal pay — was fought for and won by the trade union movement.

I can speak with authority on this because for many years I presented before the national Arbitration Tribunal the union case for improvements in wages and conditions. On every occasion when I walked into the court I was confronted with an array of bewigged senior counsel representing the Coalition governments in the states and Canberra, lined up with the employer organisations, to oppose the improvements that trade unions were fighting to obtain for working Australians.

So whose advertisements on industrial relations and WorkChoices are you going to believe? The employer organisations and the Coalition that have consistently used the independent tribunals to deny you any improvements, and who have now neutered those tribunals and the protections they provide for the most needy — or Labor and the trade unions who have argued the cases from which working Australians continue to be the beneficiaries?

As to TV advertisements and the trade unions: what an insult to voters' intelligence is Howard's "union thug" scam. The fact is that in an organisation as vast as the Australian trade union movement there will be some bad apples. (You may remember that when I was prime minister I finished off Norm Gallagher, a union bad apple of his day; Kevin Rudd has shown his readiness to be just as tough.)

But ask the question: what would Howard say if Rudd, in the context of attacking employers' support for WorkChoices, authorised a TV advertisement with a photograph of a businessman, jailed for criminal behaviour for defrauding thousands of senior citizens of their life savings, with the caption "Employer Crooks"?

I conclude my observations on this first Howard misrepresentation, by saying that no institution in this country's history has done more to flesh out and give real meaning to the concept of the "fair go" than the trade union movement.

Second is Howard's economic management myth, that only he and not Labor can be trusted with the economic management of Australia. Again, let me use facts to destroy this grotesque misrepresentation. Who, as treasurer, had responsibility for economic management for more than five years before I was elected on March 5, 1983? John Winston Howard. I knew that he was handing me the worst legacy in terms of unemployment and inflation in Australia's history; both were at 11%. But I didn't know exactly how bad the projected budget deficit was, because he had refused to come clean on this during the campaign.

On Sunday, March 5, I called in the secretary of the Treasury, John Stone, who told me that the projected figure for 1983-4 was $9.6 billion, the largest in our history; equivalent today as a percentage of GDP to more than $40 billion. Stone pointed out that "the budget balance is projected to deteriorate from near zero to more than 6% of GDP in a two-year period. The speed and magnitude of that deterioration is almost without precedent among the major OECD countries in the postwar period". Stone was no Labor stooge — he went on to become a Nationals senator — and his written judgement was that Howard's performance was virtually the worst anywhere in the developed world since 1945.

My government had to rescue an economy wrecked by Howard. We made the tough economic management decisions he had shirked — we reduced tariffs, floated the dollar, introduced competition into the financial and banking sectors and massively stimulated funding in industrial research and development. Central to all this was a great act of institutional self-sacrifice: the trade unions, in return for improvements in health, education and welfare, agreed to forgo increases in wages, and thus increase the competitiveness of Australian industry.

It is the judgement of economists here and in the relevant international institutions that it was the economic management and structural reforms of Labor and the restraint of the trade unions that laid the foundations for the strength of the Australian economy today.

Prime Minister Howard has squandered it again. With the strong economy we handed over and the enormous surge in demand for our resources from Asia, his Government has had unprecedented surpluses to invest in our future, particularly in education and training. But he has utterly failed to do so and thus our future is hamstrung by shortages of skilled tradesmen and professionals.

Third, and in some ways the greatest Howard myth, is his claim about foreign relations and security. Again, look at the facts: joining with his pal, George Bush, in Iraq (described by Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of the US-led forces there, as "a catastrophic failure"). It is the unanimous view of the Australian, US and UK intelligence agencies that the war in Iraq has increased the threat of a terrorist attack in our country. Thank you, Prime Minister.

When the facts are examined against the panicked rhetoric of Howard, I suggest there is only one conclusion to which you can come: it is time for him and his Government, with all their misrepresentations of the truth, to be gone.

Bob Hawke was prime minister from 1983-1991.

Source: The Age

Poll the readers, they like it

I was looking the The Age newspaper's polls page after voting on something and it was interesting seeing the questions asked and the responses:

This newspaper is more progressive and adult, smart, so the results are not uncommon:-

Minor parties: Would you vote for a minor party ahead of the Coalition and Labor?

Yes - 41%
No - 59%

, Sill Running - Poll date: 22/11/07

WorkChoices : Will the Government's industrial relations laws affect your vote?

Yes - 81%
No - 19%
Total Votes: 3234 Poll date: 20/11/07

Political advertising : Should parties be able to spend taxpayer funds on political advertising?

Yes - 7%
No - 93%
Total Votes: 3001 Poll date: 19/11/07

Climate for change? : Would a change of government help to combat climate change?

Yes - 84%
No - 16%
Total Votes: 2101 Poll date: 18/11/07

Swinging voter? : A week out from election day, have you decided who you will vote for?

Yes - 97%
No - 3%
Total Votes: 6232 Poll date: 15/11/07

Labor campaign launch : Do you believe Labor can manage the economy effectively?

Yes - 87%
No - 13%
Total Votes: 3055 Poll date: 14/11/07

Coalition education policy : Should parents receive a tax-deductible rebate for private school fees?

Yes - 17%
No - 83%
Total Votes: 2398 Poll date: 13/11/07

Coalition campaign launch : Will the Coalition's campaign launch help its election chances?

Yes - 17%
No - 83%
Total Votes: 2474 Poll date: 12/11/07

Labor the hot tip? : Do you agree with bookmakers' predictions that Labor will win the federal election?

Yes - 80%
No - 20%
Total Votes: 2491 Poll date: 11/11/07

View "The Age" online poll results:

Federal Election advertising blackout started at midnight

Thankfully we have some peace now that the Federal Election advertising on television and radio ended at midnight ahead of Saturday's federal election.

The media blackout is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Advertising buyer Harold Mitchell said the combined cost of campaign ads was an estimated $60 million.

"I think this has been probably the biggest advertising splurge on election advertising by the parties and others that are not the two major parties," he said on ABC radio today.

"I think the number's going to come out at something like $60 million and that would be well ahead of the last election."


I must mention I saw a Family First Party campaign advertisement shown at 12:03am on Network 10 in Melbourne during David Letterman, which I asume would be breaching advertising blackout?

LIBERAL Party attempt to discredit 13 Labor candidates comes unstuck

A Liberal Party smear campaign fails, they had claimed that 13 opposition Labor candidates were ineligible to stand for office at Saturday's Federal Election, however their smear campaign was sourced solely on unchecked information on outdated websites.

With only a few days until the election, with every day the Liberal Party seem to get more desperate and are willing to say and do anything just to be re-elected.

Liberal frontbencher Andrew Robb produced a list of ALP candidates on Tuesday, which he said appeared to have retained positions on government boards, agencies and offices while attempting to run for Parliament - which is prohibited under the Constitution.

He repeated his claims on Wednesday, saying that a hung Parliament would inevitably be followed by legal challenges to candidates.

But the Labor Party described the allegations as "baseless, desperate and ridiculous" and accused the Liberals of a frantic last-minute tactic.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said: "These claims are completely untrue and clearly the Liberal Party is desperate.

"They have nothing left to say to the Australian people."

'Simply not updated'

Senator Wong said the 13 had complied with regulations and resigned from government posts, but the agency websites had simply not been updated.

The Herald Sun last night confirmed the Liberal Party claims were based on scouring websites, and did not involve any checks or phone calls to the respective boards, authorities and agencies involved.

Under the Australian Constitution - Candidates who are on a government payroll must resign before they nominate.

- from the Herald Sun's Gerard McManus and AAP

Howard Government spent almost $200 million on advertising campaigns

We all knew we would eventually find out how much of the tax payers money was being waisted on advertising by the Howard Government, a Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet report says that the Howard Government spent almost $200 million on advertising campaigns in the year to June 2007.

The annual report, was released on Monday, it showed how the Howard Government had spent $196.4 million on advertising campaigns across a range of issues including defence force recruitment, superannuation and the sale of Telstra shares.

What I find VERY scary is this report does not specify whether the Work Choices and climate change advertising campaigns were included. These were some of the loudest advertising campaigns, which we all saw hundreds of times leading up to the announcement of Federal Election date.

A further $84.9 million was spent on less controversial advertising for public service recruitment and tenders for government-funded projects.

The Ministerial Committee on Government Communications, which makes the key decisions relating to advertising campaigns before advising the Government Communications Unit (GCU), met 58 times during the year - more often than federal cabinet.

The report also revealed the GCU keeps a register of advertising firms willing to handle government advertising.

Almost 650 firms were on the register at 30 June 2007; 90 firms registered for the first time or updated their entry during the year," the report said.

Prior to the previous Federal Election the Howard Government also bombarded us with this type of advertising. Essentially using taxpayer funds to get a lead on political advertising by showing off services on offer from the government and fear campaigns regarding being ready for terrorism etc. The terror hotline fridge magnets were very effective... I know nobody who kept it, many people sent them back in disgust or trashed/recycled them upon arrival.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd responded to the report by giving a "100 per cent" guarantee that Labor would use taxpayer funds only for advertising campaigns deemed acceptable by the auditor-general.

He also accused the Howard Government of strangling the long-term interest of the nation for its own political advantage.

"This report ... reveals a staggering figure of some $281 million in government advertising," he said. "That figure excludes the amount on the meter (which) has been ticking over since 1 July this year.

"It's our belief that from 1 July this year until the issuing of the writs we've had close to a million dollars a day ... over 120 days, (that's) about $120 million of government advertising.

"That money ... could have been spent on close to a million dental consultations, 280,000 bed nights in hospital or 20,000 hip replacements."

It generally does feel like the Australian people have finally woken up to the Howard Government's pre-election stunts and now share anger towards the waisted use of taxpayer funds.

The advertising figure comes on top of a scathing audit report on the Government's administration of the $330 million regional partnerships program and criticism over the Coalition's $9.4 billion spending spree at its campaign launch.


Marriage of convenience

Prime Minister John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello have put aside years of personal bitterness to portray each other as a happy couple in a TV interview.

Image parody & report found on Herald Sun website on 20th November 2007.

* See they shouldn't have blocked gay marriage/unions! lol

** Hopefully these are the final days we'll see this couple in power in Australia, so we can finally progress and bring this country back into the future and stop going backwards into the past.

We need a new government for the people of Australia, and not this Liberal/National (coal)ition which is a government only for the benefit of big business.

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