Tony “no friends” Abbott has suffered another body blow with traditional media ally Ray Hadley delivering an unflattering assessment of the Prime Minister’s recent performance.
D FOR DUNCE
The controversial shock jock lashed out at the PM on breakfast radio over his handling of the Sydney siege and subsequent decision to proceed with the mid-year budget update at the height of the critical incident.
“I thought until about a month ago, you were going B-plus, I think you’re now a D-minus,” Mr Hadley told Mr Abbott.
Mr Abbott said that he tried to avoid scoring himself.
“If I score myself high, people think I’m full of myself. If I score myself low, people think I’m lacking in self-confidence.”
He later added that it had been a “ragged conclusion” to the year for his government.
Mr Abbott conceded not everyone had agreed with the government’s mid-year budget announcement.
“I carefully considered it and I made the call that the ordinary business of government should go on,” he said.
“Some people thought it was a good call. Obviously some people didn’t and you’re in that latter group.”
The Prime Minister said that people should focus on the glass “at least half full,” noting his government had abolished the carbon tax and concluded important free trade deals in 2014.
“I think it has been a year of achievement for our country.”
The salvo comes in the wake of other Liberal Party loyalists Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones also delivering an abysmal appraisal of Abbott’s tenure in the top job.
Last month Bolt condemned the Coalition government saying it was making “the same blunders that killed Julia Gillard”.
Alan Jones also attacked Abbott on air, insisting that the so-called free trade agreement with China was “failing the pub test”.
Even the Murdoch mouthpiece “The Australian” has issued its own harsh evaluation with Janet Albrechtson slamming the government for playing “condescending word games”.
The Coalition ends the year badly behind in the polls, with the most recent Fairfax Ipsos poll putting Labor in front on a two-party-preferred basis, 52 to 48 per cent.
Global security expert Joe Siracusa has accused AFP officers of mishandling the hostage crisis in Sydney overnight.
In an interview on ABC Breakfast News this morning, Prof Siracusa from RMIT criticised the AFP for not taking a “kill shot” earlier when it became known that the perpetrator was well known to police and had a history of violence and sexual assault.
Man Haron Monis, 50, is a self-styled ‘sheik’ with a long history of run-ins with law enforcement.
Monis, also known as Sheikh Haron and Mohammad Hassan Manteghi, was on bail on a charge of accessory to murder, relating to the death of his ex-wife, who was allegedly stabbed and set alight in a stairwell of her Sydney apartment complex last year.
In March this year he was charged with more than 50 sexual offences including the 2002 sexual assault of a young woman which was allegedly carried out under the guise of ‘spiritual healing’.
Monis arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996 and first became known to the public when he was charged with sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the letters Monis called one Australian Digger ‘the son to a dirty pig, and to a dirty animal’, and urged the Diggers’ families to call on the government to pull troops out of Afghanistan.
In court Monis claimed he was a ‘peace activist’ and that his rights to free speech were being trampled.
It’s believed Monis lost a High Court appeal against his conviction just last Friday — an event which may have precipitated his decision to stage the Sydney siege.
Prof Siracusa has questioned why the controversial self-proclaimed “sheik” was allowed to walk free on bail given his extensive criminal history.
“The fact that this guy was on bail and known to police suggests there was a breakdown in communication” he said.
He criticised police for not taking a kill shot in the hostage situation despite multiple opportunities to do so.
“There’s no such thing as a lone wolf and it’s very likely this was a botched job.”
“You have to assume it’s botched from the very beginning” he said.
“Look when hostages die, it’s botched, okay. This is not a clean operation. This happens all the time when you go to rescue people. Sometimes you do it and sometimes you don’t.”
“I’m just wondering why they waited so long if they knew this was going to be lethal force.”
“You have file footage of him in his past life writing terrible letters to people. He is part of a conspiracy to kill his ex-wife. He was on sexual charges.”
“What is this guy doing out on bail… You know, it raises all these other questions.”
The absence of any tangible facts or credible information hasn’t prevented The Daily Telegraph from insinuating that the so-called ISIS DEATH CULT is behind the hostage siege situation currently unfolding in Martin Place, Sydney.
While more level-headed minds await categorical facts before jumping to conclusions, The Daily Telegraph didn’t let the opportunity to ramp up fear and hysteria in the community and scaremongering of Muslims to one hundred and eleventy.
Meanwhile, shock jock Ray Hadley claims he has spoken directly to one of the victims taken hostage in the Lindt chocolate shop.
Hadley said on 2GB that the male hostage was “remarkably calm” while relaying information from the gunman over the phone.
The gunman wanted the hostage to speak live on radio, a demand that Hadley said he refused.
“I wouldn’t allow that to happen,” Hadley told his listeners.
Hadley claimed the gunman was talking about “other operatives being involved” however Federal Police are yet to verify Hadley’s claims.
A number of hostages were forced to hold an Islamic flag against the shop window shortly after the siege began at 9.45am.
The following article is very funny and is written by Ben Jenkins……
On Monday morning, David Koch discussed shopping-centre Santas with no fewer than five pundits, got annoyed with a plush cow wearing a Hawaiian shirt, read out a riddle about a stapler and obliterated the 28th Prime Minister of Australia in a six-minute interview.
This surprised many because David Koch is a serious journalist in the way that a picture of a horse is a viable Melbourne Cup champion.
Of course, adding to this was the fact that Tony Abbott, only one week previously, had been taken to task by Today Show host and bar tab enthusiast Karl Stefanovic in a short film titled Tired Man Is Uncomfortable In Front of Big Christmas Tree.
Being Frost/Nixoned by a man whose previous interviewees include a literal cat is not a great look, and these poor showings have only fuelled leadership speculation, with suggested candidates for the top job ranging from Julie Bishop to an ice sculpture of Bob Menzies chiselled from a block of frozen tears.
So what’s going on here?
Was the PM ambushed by two usually sympathetic interviewers?
To use the boxing parlance so often adopted when talking about the PM, did Abbott “let his guard down” only to be “question-punched” in by these two “featherweight word-boxers” in some kind of “interview ring”?
Not really. Neither man asked any particularly pointed questions. It’s actually just a case of the PM suffering from a phenomenon political scientists call “being extremely shithouse at interviews”.
While Abbott tries valiantly to smash the ship of state through the iceberg of public opinion, it’s easy to forget that our prime minister is, and always has been, a terrible interviewee.
His complete inability to change tack renders any interview a stilted exchange with a distressingly sinewy random word generator, in which an answer matching a question is purely a matter of chance.
True, it’s better than his previous strategy of “wordlessly stare into Mark Riley’s soul until he leaves you alone out of pure awkwardness”, but not by a huge margin.
Abbott is so unwilling to back down on any matter at all that when he calls David Koch “Chris” for a second time during the interview, the PM doesn’t even acknowledge it, let alone apologise.
In fairness, this takes an impressive amount of chutzpah. Imagine any other politician on either side of the house doing this. Anyone.
You can even envisage Scott Morrison – a man who gives off the aura of a malevolent entity forged in a volcano – pulling up and acknowledging his mistake. It wouldn’t be hard.
“Sorry, it’s that time of year, David!” or “Sorry, David. It’s early and some of us have been up all night drawing a pentagram of runes over the hellmouth.”
The issue is not that Stefanovic and Koch are having their Network moments.
Abbott’s strategy of remaining heroically disconnected from reality is what makes these interviews likely and magnificent trainwrecks.
The truly remarkable thing about these two exchanges is not that they happened on breakfast television, it’s that they haven’t happened more often elsewhere.
A Victorian council has banned christian prayers at its meetings.
The Mayor of Surf Coast Shire, Margo Smith, said the ban by the council to keep up with changing views in society.
Cr Smith said the decision was not about rejecting religion.
“The purpose of that was actually around inclusiveness,” she said.
“We want to make sure that no-one – none of our councillors, none of our community – feel uncomfortable with either the language we use and the procedures that we take.”
Eight councillors voted to support the motion and one voted against it.
Cr Smith said the support for a secular pledge reflected a growing view in her community that religion had no place in civic life.
“It was actually about taking the religion away from it, it wasn’t about rejecting religion,” she said.
“It was about let’s make this commitment that if you want to make it a religious thing then you can do it quietly.
“But in terms of what we say in front of the community, we felt that it was better to take the religious part out of it.”
The Municipal Association of Victoria does not keep figures on how many councils open meetings with a Christian prayer, but many councils do, especially in regional Victoria.
The City of Greater Geelong, which shares a border with the Surf Coast Shire, begins each meeting by acknowledging the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has today announced that Peter Dutton has been replaced as Federal Health Minister by a plank of wood.
The move follows the Abbott government’s decision to dump its controversial $7 GP co-payment plan in favour of an “optional” $5 co-payment plan which will be imposed by medical practitioners at the discretion of the GP.
Mr Abbott and Mr Dutton defended changes to the proposal yesterday, arguing that it was not a “policy backflip” but rather “revised implementation arrangements for a budget measure.”
The decision to dump Mr Dutton as Health Minister follows criticism that the policy was poorly handled from the outset with voters unconvinced that they would be better off under the new system.
A spokesman for Mr Abbott, Peta Credlin defended Mr Dutton’s performance, arguing that the decision to replace the beleaguered Health Minister was not a reflection of his capacity in the role.
“Look Mr Dutton has done a fine job as Health Minister, and I reject absolutely, any suggestion that this change in circumstances is in any way a reflection of his performance” said Ms Credlin.
“We just felt that at this particular point in time, a plank of wood would probably do a better job, and mount a more convincing argument to propagate the merits of the system amongst the Australian public,” she said.
“Mr Dutton agreed with this approach and we reached a mutually amicable agreement to part company.”
The plank of wood was unavailable for comment at the time of this release, but we understand it offered its commiserations to the talking duck who was also considered a strong candidate for the role.
It’s a masterstroke!
In the wake of the government’s abject failure to win public backing for its controversial “GP Co-payment proposal,” Prime Minister Abbott has dumped the unpopular plan and instead replaced it with “GP Co-payment proposal.”
After seven months of political pain, Abbott finally dumped his $7 co-payment scheme after conceding it had no chance of getting through the Senate.
He unveiled a radical new policy that would see a co-payment of up to $5 levied against patients over the age of 16 who did not have a concession card.
The plan will see the Medicare rebate paid by the Government for those patients reduced from $37.10 to $32.10 from July.
Doctors would then have the “discretion’’ to raise prices by up to $5 to cover the reduced rebate, virtually guaranteeing costs will rise.
Labor indicated it would not support the new $5 payment, meaning that it could still be ruled out by the Senate, depending on crossbench support.
In a remarkable sleight of hand, Tony Abbott and Health Minister Peter Dutton passed the onus for collecting the new tax on to doctors, insisting that the co-payment is optional, and that doctors could instead simply absorb the reduced income.
“Whether the patient faces a price signal is the choice of the doctor,’’ Mr Abbott said.
However Victorian AMA president Tony Bartone said the Government was “absolutely blame-shifting.’’
“The reduced rebates represent a real and progressive reduction in doctors’ real wages,’’ he said.
The Government will also freeze the rebates for four years from July, with Dr Bartone warning that would cause a further erosion in doctors’ abilities to cover costs such as wages.
“The Government it asking us to collect $5 and saying it’s at our discretion,’’ he said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said despite Mr Abbott’s efforts to paint the co-payment as a dead proposal, it lived on.
“This isn’t a back down — this is a GP Tax through the backdoor,’’ he said.
“It’s still a tax, it’s still a broken promise and it will only ever rise as long as Tony Abbott is Prime Minister.’’