If you missed it in the Sunday debate, or yesterday on social media, here’s the 30 second summary of Tony Abbott’s transport policy.
A few thoughts on Federal politics from the last few days.
I think Gillard did some great stuff. Carbon tax (some don’t like it, but it works), National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Royal Commission into child abuse, and (along with her predecessors on both sides) keeping the economy afloat in dire economic times — and all while dealing with the challenges of a minority government, making it difficult to get anything done at all.
Rudd is apparently a control-freak and difficult to work with, but has a small chance of winning. Small is greater than zero. And even if Labor can’t win, it’s better to have an Opposition that works than an Opposition that’s been almost totally destroyed.
Why is this important? Because the Coalition under Abbott is regressive on key points. For me, the two biggest are that they won’t fund urban public transport, only roads; and they will abolish the carbon tax even though it works.
And of course there’s Abbott’s half-baked (but most of the cost) version of the National Broadband Network — completely lacking in the vision to see the types of emerging IT-based industries that could help drive the next economic boom, as well as bring benefits right across the country, especially in regional areas, such as much better (remote) access to medical services and advice.
(I fully suspect that if Malcolm Turnbull hadn’t lost the Liberal leadership vote by a single vote, the Coalition would have a much more enlightened view on these three issues.)
One more thing: Abbott and others are criticising Rudd because he wasn’t elected by voters to be leaders. Abbott didn’t have such criticisms when Napthine took over from Baillieu in Victoria. Reality is, us voters don’t directly elect leaders. Both Rudd and Napthine are legitimately leaders.
Update 29/6: Added picture of ad for “Despicable Me” that I saw on the side of a bus earlier in the week.
I don’t necessarily agree with Tony Abbott’s policies, but I don’t think what he said to the soldiers, taken in context, was unreasonable.
Colonel Creighton says of the Digger’s death: “Was it tragic? Absolutely. But we’re all in the knowledge that all the stuff (firepower support) you see here and more was available on the day.”
In response, Mr Abbott says: “It’s pretty obvious that, well, sometimes s— happens, doesn’t it.”
Immediately, Major General Cantwell replies: “It certainly does, yeah.” — AAP report
So they’d been discussing the death of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney, and whether the troops had enough support on that operation. The conclusion seemed to be that no matter how much support, how good the equipment, how good the planning, sometimes, unfortunately, soldiers die.
It’s an inherently dangerous job, after all.
It was probably a cheap shot from Channel 7 to use the footage — but perhaps hardly surprising, given the release of the full footage under Freedom Of Information had been blocked. Mark Riley must have figured someone had something to hide.
Abbott’s response — the 25 seconds of dead silent seething anger — made the story much, much worse for him. It made it bigger. It made it a talking point around the country.
Any response would have been better. Say you won’t answer the question because it’s unreasonable. Say the original comments had to be taken in context, and explain that if necessary.
It’s like those guys who get filmed coming out of court, and decide to attack the cameras, guaranteeing them a much more prominent place on the evening news.
From the sounds of it, Abbott’s office let him down, and despite Channel 7 giving advance warning as to the nature of the interview, he simply wasn’t prepared for it.
As a commenter on the Herald Sun web site notes: I’m so pleased that Tony Abbott glared at Mark Riley, the normal human reaction would have been to grab Mark by the hair and call him a few unprintable names. Abbott showed his control, and actually had just come from a very emotional session in Parliament where they reflected on the human tragedies in the floods.
Perhaps it’s a plus that he didn’t lose his temper, but then again, shouldn’t senior politicians be prepared to face this kind of stuff?
MediaWatch returned on Monday. I’ll be very interested to see what they make of it.