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Support for Abbott Govt slumps in latest Newspoll!

October 21, 2014


From the files of “things you won’t read at News Limited today, “The Gutter Trash presents – Election Poll Armageddon for the Abbott Govt” (A tiny diversion into the realm of facts Production).

According to the latest Newspoll, support for the Coalition has slumped to its lowest level in three months.

Labor has increased its lead over the Coalition to 53% to 47% after preferences.

Labor’s primary vote remained steady at 34% while support for the Greens rose three points to 14% and support for independents and other parties was unchanged at 14%.

These figures translate to a two-party-preferred result of 53% for Labor (up two points since last month) and 47% for the Coalition (down two points).

Since the previous poll, the Abbott government has formally committed to military air strikes in Iraq (as part of its “humanitarian efforts”), pushed ahead with an expansion of security agency powers, issued “shirt-front” threats against Russian president Vladimir Putin, and rejected Labor’s pleas to send health teams to west Africa to help contain the spread of the Ebola virus.

The telephone poll of 1161 voters between Friday and Sunday shows the prime minister, Tony Abbott, and the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, each recorded a three-point decline in their satisfaction ratings.

About 38% of respondents said they were satisfied with Abbott’s performance while 53% expressed dissatisfaction, equating to a net approval score of minus 15 points.

Satisfaction with Shorten’s performance was 35% and dissatisfaction was 46%, or a net score of minus 11 points.

Asked to nominate their preferred prime minister, 39% opted for Abbott and 38% for Shorten.

In a one-off extra question, Newspoll asked voters whether they were in favour of Abbott’s intention to “confront” the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, over the shooting down of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July. About 63% expressed support while 27% were against a confrontation.




Senator Cormann and the Party of boy-men

October 21, 2014


The following article is by David Hardaker is a television producer and a Walkley award winning journalist…


It’s been a week or so of linguistic clangers in Australia, from the Prime Minister’s “shirtfront” threat against Vladimir Putin to the “in-joke” references to “Mussies” and “Abos” by man-of-words Barry Spurr, the (suspended) Poetry Professor at the University of Sydney.

But against this stiff competition, perhaps the most regrettable of all came courtesy of Mathias Cormann.

Memo to Senator Cormann: next time, leave the jokes to the comedians. The term “girlie-man” might have left us laughing when it was used in a US comedy sketch last century but today it’s, well, a little out of step with the times.

English may be the Belgian-born politician’s second language, but Senator Cormann has previously shown a more than adequate vocabulary, especially when it comes to words like “debt, “deficit” and “disaster”, often used all in one phrase.

So why did the Senator choose to use the insult “girlie” to slap Labor leader Bill Shorten around the head for opposing the Government’s budget?

His first excuse – that the term “girlie-man” has acquired a new meaning and no longer links being weak and/or stupid with being female – doesn’t hold up. I’m afraid the idea that somehow “girlie” doesn’t refer to the idea of a girl is a subtle linguistic shift that a lot of people won’t get.

His second excuse – that he was humorously playing on his German accent by adopting the insult first popularised by Saturday Night Live’s Austrian bodybuilder characters Hans and Franz and later adopted by Arnold Schwarzenegger – is too late and too inadequate.

Schwarzenegger’s “girly man” attacks on his political opponents went down badly with many then, so it’s hard to see why anyone would think they would improve with age. And the all-testosterone Terminator turned Governator at least had the defence of self-deprecation: call it a playful boorishness.

Stripped of this context, Senator Cormann’s comments are simply boorish. And it shows that the humourless should never attempt to break out of their box.

Labor’s Penny Wong has already pointed out the obvious hurt conveyed by the comment: “What are we telling our sons and our daughters about being a girl? You’re saying it is somehow less competent, weak,” she told Sky News yesterday.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who can always be relied on to address the politics above all, said simply, “I don’t think it is the most important issue floating past us today.”

So it appears this is a debate that will end as they always do. Critics of Senator Cormann will be told it is “political correctness gone mad”. Move on.

Yet this time, maybe we shouldn’t.

While at best it was a simply ham-fisted attempt at humour, at its worst, the Finance Minister’s comment (and the lack of a slap down from the Prime Minister) underlines again the well-traversed malaise at the heart of the present Government.

Despite years of research, sometimes by leading corporate entities, the nation’s leadership does not believe that women as a species should wield real power in public life.

Apologists, of course, will always point to the influential role of the PM’s chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin, but when it comes to the Cabinet, actions speak the loudest: there is, famously, only one woman at the table.

Smart businesses in Australia recognise an obvious truth: that if you cut out half the gene pool in your hiring and promotion policies, then your business suffers.

This is the commonest of common sense. And you don’t need to be a feminist to realise it: upright and breathing will do.

So why do people who use the rhetoric of the free market then not apply that when it comes to talent? Rather, they practice a form of protectionism based on sex (amongst other things).

The proof is that you use “girl” to denigrate someone – and then say you didn’t really mean it that way.

So forget the girlie-men. What about the “boyie-men” who have their hands on the levers of government power? Is there not a reasonable expectation that the boy-men who purport to lead us might grow up a bit?

Might they not by now recognise the simple truth that ability is not handed out according to your sex (or race or income level, for that matter)?

And this brings us to the final point about Mathias Cormann.

If none of the above applies to him, as he has asserted, and he really is a straight-down-the-line, equal-opportunity-for-all kind of guy, then why would he use words like “girlie-man” that are so capable of causing offence and thus risk alienating half the voting population?

Only a fool of a politician would do that.




Gough’s Gone

October 21, 2014



Gough Whitlam, who was prime minister for just three years but became a defining political figure of modern Australia, has died aged 98.

Whitlam’s family said in a statement on Tuesday: “Our father, Gough Whitlam, has died this morning at the age of 98.”

“A loving and generous father, he was a source of inspiration to us and our families and for millions of Australians.

“There will be a private cremation and a public memorial service.”

The election of his government on 2 December 1972, with the famous “It’s time” election campaign, ended 23 years of conservative rule and its dismissal by the governor general Sir John Kerr on 11 December 1975 remains one of the most controversial events in Australian political history.

But in just three years the Whitlam government instituted sweeping changes that transformed Australian society as the baby boomer generation came of age.

In a rapid program of reform it called “the program”, the Whitlam government created Australia’s national health insurance scheme, Medibank; abolished university fees; introduced state aid to independent schools and needs-based school funding; returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people; drafted (although did not enact) the first commonwealth lands right act; established diplomatic relations with China, withdrew the remaining Australian troops from Vietnam; introduced no-fault divorce laws; passed the Racial Discrimination Act; blocked moves to allow oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef; introduced environmental protection legislation; and removed God Save the Queen as the national anthem.

The former Rudd government minister Lindsay Tanner has written: “Whitlam and his government changed the way we think about ourselves. The curse of sleepy mediocrity and colonial dependency, so mercilessly flayed in 1964 by Donald Horne in The Lucky Country, was cast aside.”

But the Whitlam government’s economic record is more controversial. It came to power at the time of the first oil shock and failed to contain wages inflation. In 1975 it was embroiled in what became known as the “loans affair” when the minister for minerals and energy, Rex Connor, sought to borrow money for resource projects, outside normal treasurer processes, from Arab financiers using a middleman called Tirath Khemlani.

No money was borrowed but the scandal deeply damaged the government.

Whitlam won a double dissolution election in 1974, with a reduced majority. But from October to November 1975 the parliament was deadlocked, with the opposition using its numbers in the Senate to refuse to pass the budget.

When Whitlam visited Kerr to call for a half Senate election, Kerr instead withdrew his commission as prime minister and replaced him with the Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser.

Whitlam lost the election to Fraser after the national upheaval of the dismissal. He stood down as Labor leader and retired from politics in 1978.

A towering figure at 1.94m, with a deep resonant voice and an eloquent turn of phrase, Whitlam inspired a generation of progressive politicians and was widely referred to by just his first name.

His is remembered forsome of the most famous quotes in Australian politics, including while standing on the steps of the old parliament house after news of his dismissal. He said: “Well may we say ‘God save the Queen’ because nothing will save the governor general.”

He was a graduate of Knox Grammar and Canberra Grammar and joined the airforce after university, before studying law and being admitted to the bar. He married Margaret Dovey in 1942; they had four children.

He won the western Sydney seat of Werriwa in 1952 and was elected leader of the Labor party in 1967, succeeding Arthur Calwell.

After leaving politics he worked as Australia’s ambassador to Unesco, accepted several visiting professorships and, along with Margaret, received life membership of the Labor party in 2007.

Margaret died in 2012. Whitlam, by then using a wheelchair, had moved into an aged-care facility in 2010. He described her as “the love of my life”.






Rostrum: There’s a moon in the sky called The Moon Edition

October 16, 2014


TB took this pic.





Abbott Vows “Shirtfront” Showdown with Vladimir Putin

October 14, 2014


Australia’s tough-talking Prime Minister and self-declared Captain of “Team Australia” Tony Abbott, has vowed to “shirtfront” (whatever that is) Russian President Vladimir Putin at the next G2) Summit the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Abbott issued the dire warning on national television, vowing that when Mr Putin visits Australia as a guest at the summit next he month, he can expect a diplomatic showdown that will be the Russian president’s “toughest conversation of all”.

“I am going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet we are – you bet I am – I am – I am – I am going to be saying to Mr Putin  – Australians were murdered,  – they were murdered by – murdered by – Russian backed – Russian backed rebels,” Mr Abbott said.


A guide to the Shirtfront – what Tony Abbott has vowed to do to Vladimir Putin

The government has confirmed Putin will be attending the world summit in Brisbane after G20 countries agreed “by consensus” that Russia should not be sidelined.

It is alleged Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July by Russian-backed rebels, killing all 298 passengers and crew, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.

Mr Abbott said while Australia was the temporary president of the G20, it could not make unilateral decisions on behalf of the body.

“It has to be by consensus and the G20 consensus is that Russia should come,” Abbott said. “I think there will be a lot of tough conversations with Russia and I suspect the conversation I have with Mr Putin will be the toughest conversation of all.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, acknowledged Australia had no control over the invitation list but took a swipe at the government for “laying out the red carpet”.

He also accused Mr Putin of knowing “more about what happened with MH17 than he’s let on”.

“It’s an international conference, not a conference run by Australia, so if Putin has the arrogance to turn up to visit a nation whose nationals died in this plane crash, he can,” Shorten said.


“But I am like most Australians, I wish that Putin would at least show enough conscience to be able to not come to Australia, because he’s rubbing our faces in it.”

“Also what I happen to think is that when you deal with international bullies, the way you do it isn’t by laying out the red carpet.”

Neither Bill Shorten or Tony Abbott would be drawn on the question of whether Mr Putin was “a baddie,” but a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office told The Gutter Trash, that “Most bullies are baddies, so by inference yes he could be a baddie but you didn’t hear it from us.”




Hillsong Preacher Brian Houston Implicated in Child Sex Abuse Cover Up!

October 10, 2014



  • Hillsong preacher didn’t report paedophile dad to police
  • “I knew it was a crime”
  • Paedophile preacher received ongoing financial support from church

Frank Houston, the father of Hillsong preacher Brian Houston, who helped to build Australia’s pentecostal movement, confessed to sexually abusing a boy four years before he died in 2004 at the age of 82.

Brian Houston stands accused of giving his father preferential treatment in the wake of the revelations, allowing him to “retire” from the church with no reports made to police over the criminal conduct.

Brian Houston is facing a royal commission enquiry into the way he, and the so-called “Australian Christian Churches,” formerly “the Assemblies of God,” handled the allegations.


Brian Houston, who was in the process of founding Hillsong at the time the abuse, said he knew the accusations amounted to “criminal conduct”, but did not go to the police.

“All of the information I was being given by different people was that the man is 35, 36 years of age, and if he decides to go to the police he can,” he said.

“If this was about someone under 18 we would have gone to the police then and there …”

He defended referring the matter directly to the church’s national executive rather than beginning an independent process to investigate the allegations.

“The victim, the survivor, he was absolutely not interested in anything that related to a formal investigation,” Houston said.

“You don’t agree that there was a conflict between your position as the son of the perpetrator and the national president of the Assemblies of God?” counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, asked.


“At the time, I did not see that as a conflict of interest,” he replied.

Minutes from a meeting of the church’s national executive held in December 1999 show that, contrary to its policy of banning admitted paedophiles from preaching, a “restoration” was discussed for Frank Houston that would have allowed him to resume his “preaching” after 12 months.

Brian Houston denied he attended the meeting intending to influence the national executive’s decision on his father’s fate.

“I reject it completely” he said.


“At that meeting, I was completely emotional, I was in the room, but I was a basket case,” he said.

When Frank Houston formally left what was then Hillsong Church in 2001, the church leaders issued what the church called a “simple announcement concerning Frank’s retirement”, which failed to mention his offences.

Frank Houston received financial support from the church after his retirement, which Brian said was aimed at “looking after” Frank’s wife, who had “given her whole life to working for the church”.

A year after the initial allegations of his father’s abuse were raised with Houston, another man approached the preacher with claims Frank Houston had sexually assaulted him in New Zealand while he was a child.


A subsequent investigation by the Assemblies of God unearthed allegations Frank Houston had abused up to seven more boys in Australia and New Zealand, but none of the claims were ever referred to police.


A letter to the organisation’s member churches from Brian Houston said there was “no reason” for the new abuse cases to be announced, as they could be used by critics of the church to further their agendas.



The Weekend Arts Show with ToSY!

October 10, 2014


ToSY asked nicely for an occasional thread where we could post pictures and other artistic stuff so here it is.

Gilbert and George are an artistic couple who live in London.  Despite their conservative appearance they have gained notoriety for large scale artworks, called “The Pictures” which often feature street kids and other aspects of youth culture.  Their artworks often feature images of themselves and often ridicule the establishment.

One painting called “Money and Shit” featured dollar signs and depictions of human faeces made from real human excrement.   The international buyer who paid a multi-million dollar figure for the painting demanded his money back when he later discovered what the painting was made from.

Gilbert and George gladly refunded the money remarking that “the buyer was happy.”

“He got his money back….”

“… And we got our Money and Shit back.”

















Over to you ToSY….(I’ll be expecting you to write the next Arts post … :) )






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