The case for keeping Julia

Robert Macklin’s latest column on the aftermath of the Leadership spill is here

IT seems I’m the only columnist left in Australia who thinks Julia Gillard and her excellent government have a reasonable chance of winning the September 14 election.

Should she stay or should she go? Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Should she stay or should she go? Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Call me quixotic if you like, but I just can’t believe that my fellow Australians would toss out a government that has done us such sterling service for an opposition led by Tony Abbott who threatens to undo so much of what we’ve achieved these last five years; and who wants to set us on a path to “austerity” that has done such appalling damage in Europe and the US.

Consider the Government’s achievements: it acted swiftly to save us from recession during the world’s financial and economic meltdown. But just as important, it resisted cutting the Budget to shreds when revenue fell, despite the immense political pressure to do so.

It transformed our schools and our schooling, thus setting us up for the future and giving our children the best possible start in life. It invested massively in tertiary education, including trades, to meet the needs of a growing and changing economy.

It created the National Disability Insurance Scheme from nothing. It raised the pension to a decent level. It introduced paid parental leave. It invested in roads, ports and other infrastructure that was holding us back because Howard ignored it. It improved relations with China while maintaining a strong US commitment. Indeed, in foreign affairs it didn’t put a foot wrong.

It fixed the Murray-Darling river system. It put a price on carbon that will lead to a transformation of our energy generation. It is building the NBN that will transform for the better the way we live and work.

And it did all this as a minority government in the face of obdurate resistance and schoolyard bullying from Tony Abbott. It tried desperately to stem the flow of boat people, but was blocked at every turn by an Opposition that revelled in the political mileage gained from it.

So why am I the last columnist to give them a fighting chance? Well, Julia Gillard has never been given a fair go. People still resent the way she made it to The Lodge after his party rejected Kevin Rudd. Had she been a man, it would have been a political coup and that’s that, but a woman couldn’t be forgiven.

The Murdoch press, and the miners, have vilified Labor for their own vested interests. Sadly, their campaign has set the tone for other media outlets. But that could only be effective in a political landscape where something fundamental has changed in the communication business.

That’s summed up this week in a memorable phrase from “New York Times” columnist Frank Bruni: “The sideshow swallows the substance”.

Policies are ignored. Instead, the “news” is all about fripperies, trivia and the seven-second grab. If you doubt it, aside from the gold-plated parental leave scheme – and slashing at least 12,000 public servant jobs – try to think of a single Abbott plan for Australia.

Oh, that’s right: “Stop the boats”.


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236 Responses to “The case for keeping Julia”

  1. mrharmony60
    June 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Robert, you clearly underestimate the power of large numbers of stupid people. Abbott will be PM, because only a small minority of people in Oz are politically engaged, and bother to drill down into the various policies of each party. it’ll be turkeys voting for xmas come Sept 14. The slogans have worked. People actually believe he’ll Stop The Boats, and that asylum seekers are the biggest threat to the country’s future prosperity. Its pathetic. And depressing.

  2. PeterF
    June 19, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Abbott said yesterday that if the coalition wins, parliament will be a better place, with better behaviour . Does anyone have a video of him making the same promise around the time of the last election?

  3. Michael
    June 16, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Tell you what Canberra – you keep her, and let the rest of Australia get on with living.

  4. pete path
    June 9, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    so labor “tried desperately to stem the flow of boat people” while the Opposition “revelled in the political mileage gained from it”.
    – but move your eyepatch over to the other side, and its the alp government that let politics get in the way of other objectives.

    Fact is, there’s only a hair’s breadth between the two big old parties on this issue, and they both seem more interested in corralling voters by overstating that difference than they are in addressing the issue.

    Though on the issues I care about I can’t see any difference between them, I think there may be a case to consider for keeping labor in power. But making that case would take a little more effort than simply applying whitewash.

  5. Nark
    June 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    * it acted swiftly to save us from recession during the world’s financial and economic meltdown.

    You mean Kevin Rudd. Kevin Rudd acted swiftly to save Australia from the GFC (by giving everyone $900 to spend on overseas manufactured Blu-Ray players). Then he was deposed. Apparently he wasn’t swift enough to spot the knives coming.

    * It transformed our schools and our schooling.

    Ummm… If you mean Gonski, then that hasn’t actually happened yet. In fact I think they’re still looking for funding… Mostly from the states who can’t afford it. If you mean the “School Halls” program, then I’m not sure how that “transformed” our schooling system. Apparently all our kids needed was large open spaces with roofs over them?

    * It created the National Disability Insurance Scheme from nothing.

    “The Government has committed $1.0 billion over four years for the first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), to be established in up to four locations from 2013–14.” That was the budget this year. They only legislated and introduced the Medicare levy increase after Tony Abbot insisted it be brought on before the election.

    By the way, the NDIS was born out of a Productivity Commission into “long-term disability care and support”… which it was asked to do back in 2009 by… the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

    * It raised the pension to a decent level.

    Kevin Rudd (Julia Gillard opposed the pension increase – and we know that thanks to Kevin Rudd too).

    * It introduced paid parental leave.

    You mean Kevin Rudd introduced paid parental leave. “PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has signalled his support for a national parental leave scheme, after a report recommended that taxpayers fund 18 weeks’ leave for working mothers and two weeks for fathers at an annual cost of $450 million.” That was back in 2008.

    * It improved relations with China while maintaining a strong US commitment. Indeed, in foreign affairs it didn’t put a foot wrong.

    Actually, this one was after Kevin Rudd stuffed it.

    * It fixed the Murray-Darling river system.

    Oh don’t get me started on that. You’re not talking about the draft to a report that was “just a plan” and not actually a course of action are you?

    * It put a price on carbon

    Yes, “the greatest moral challenge of this generation”. That was Kevin Rudd’s idea.

    * It is building the NBN that will transform for the better the way we live and work.

    The NBN proposed by Kevin Rudd. Meanwhile, the best they can do to sell it is to have Conroy talking about hooking up your washing machine to the internet.

    So you’ve got a wonderful list of reasons there as to why Kevin Rudd should be Prime Minister, but you haven’t got much for Gillard.

    The problem is Julia Gillard isn’t a leader. Not in the true sense of the word. None of what this Government has done has been as a result of Gillard’s “leadership”. It’s been as a direct result of Kevin Rudd’s ideas that, having booted him out for being such a bad PM, they continued to do what he wanted anyway.

    Even the Mining Tax (that didn’t actually raise any money in the end) was Kevin Rudd’s idea that Gillard was meant to “fix”.

    And where they do differ from Kevin Rudd, Gillard still takes no leadership over the decision. Take a look at Asylum Seeker policy. Kevin Rudd wants on-shore processing. Gillard wants a “panel of experts” to tell her what to do. These aren’t her ideas, she insists, this is what “the experts have advised” (we heard the same line during the creation of the Murray Darling basin plan – it wasn’t them, they insisted, it was the experts).

    At every opportunity she gets, she out-sources leadership. Her mantra is: “It’s not me, I’m just doing what the experts recommend / advise / suggest”. And then she proceeds to stuff up the implementation.

  6. Fed up
    June 9, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    I am sure our kids, as they say, will enjoy with pleasure, the fruits of what this government has invested in for the future.

    They will be glad for the cleaner environment in which they live.

    Yes, I do believe our kids will see, what their parents, are too stupid, in some cases to see today.

    Yes, one can talk about spending, but others would rather have investment which is needed to take us into that Asian Century that awaits us..

  7. Jack
    June 9, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    “fell swoop” not “foul swoop”

  8. Mark Woodley
    June 8, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Sorry mate but your’e dillusional the fact is that the labor government came to power with 70 billion in the bank , we now owe 360 the pink bats the grocery watch the cash for clunkers school building farce the love in in CBR where Rudd invited thousands to give us there best ideas what came of that. Nothing. That cost the country millions the only reason we didn’t go into recession cause we had money in the bank from previous good government not Swan’s policies remember Rudd said we’ll slash the public service- we’ve now got more than ever,but that’s what keeps CBR going that’s why you’re the only person that’ thinks Julia deserves another chance keeps you in a job eh? As to the illegals, your rotten government started all of this and has in one foul swoop sent us all broke but dont worry our kids will have to pay.
    Australians will remember this is the most decrepit time of our life under these amateurs you’ll be pretty lonely down there buddy

    • Bruce clugston
      June 9, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      Fundamentally you are wrong. If Abbott had been in power when GFC had hit we would now be broke as well as unemployment would be 15%. Fundamental to economics 101 is it the repaonsibility of good government to spend in downturns and save in upturns. Without stimulus then the disaster of 1929 would have been repeated.
      The fact the Australia had money in the bankin 2007 was a good thing but without spending and stimulus recession would have befallen Australia. Gillard has done a most remarkable job in the face of hung parliament and having to go along with polices they were not elected on to keep it together. Abbott would have prostituted himself equally and openly admits as much.
      I hope Gillard gets another term and the LNP dispose of Abbott. That would be the best for Australia. Because then we may actually get Turnbull one day.!!

  9. Ken Brown
    June 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    With apologies to Banjo Patterson, he gave a very good description of the current lot of Abbott and LNP supporters: “Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, they had no brains at all;”…………. every time they attempt an argument, they confirm it.

    May 31, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    In ALP’s list of achievements you’ve forgotten to mention:
    – Increased politicians wages 3 times in 12 months.
    – charities reporting a 200% increase in people needing assistance, generally for food as after paying rent & utilities as there is nothing left
    – increasing numbers of people living in poverty; 2010 report 2,265,000 people or 12.8% of all people, including 575,000 children (17.3% of all children), lived in households below the most austere poverty line widely used in international research
    – increasing number of homeless, especially women & children (HOMELESSNESS is not a CHOICE!!! That would be a myth spread by politicians to cover up for the fact they don’t care & are doing nothing about providing affordable housing or enough money in benefits to live in the society that the Government has helped to create)
    – under & unemployment increased to 19.7% as per the Roy Morgan independent report, not the fudged ABS figures that considers people who work just an hour a week as employed. Up a large 183,000 (1.9%) over the past 12 months since January 2012
    – Roy Morgan unemployment estimate of 10.9% is more than double the 5.4% currently quoted by the ABS for December 2012.
    – Newstart is recognised by the UN as being insufficient to live on & is 77% below the poverty line

    Seems to me that ALP has it priorities wrong… a countries people in distress should be given higher consideration.

    • Bruce clugston
      June 9, 2013 at 9:40 am #

      Not one thing mentioned is an issue Abbott has any interest in improving on. It is only a labor government interested in social fairness. So what is your point.????

  11. Louise
    May 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Ken what does that even mean?

  12. matt
    May 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Yay lets re-elect Gillard so she can become the first PM hauled off to jail.Entire Labor Party participates in questionable practices from Federal to State levels.I will see all supporters of the Party in lets say….3 terms.

    • Bruce clugston
      May 31, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Corruption is equal across political spectrum. If you think not then no one can reason with you. Just because you are blind doesn’t mean the lobs are corrupt.
      The right side of spectrum controls the press and hence you may only be getting or hearing one side of the facts.
      If you still think you know all then go back to 2GB.

    • jane
      June 4, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      Not so hasty with the jail sentences. Liealot’s actually got at least 2 people suing him, and his puppet master’s under police investigation AGAIN for using industrial espionage against a competitor.

      How will Liealot go without the wizened foreigner’s hand up his backside?

      BTW, have any charges at all been laid against the PM?

    • Anne Milligan
      June 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      It might be abbott hauled off to gaol.
      Involved with Ashby in the Peter Slipper Case.
      Involved with Kathy Jackson in the Craig Thomson Case.
      Involved with putting Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge in gaol,
      Plus Members of his wicked Party hauled off too. Take a read of the Independent Australia and get your facts right, instead of the msm
      AND Murdoch’s lies.

  13. Jack
    May 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    At last someone who tells the truth. The newspaper moguls distort the truth and promote negativity to sell newspapers. Wake up australia.

  14. Ken Longworth
    May 30, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I think Julia should go back to keeping herself rather than having taxpayers keep her. I’m sure she has a boyfriend who needs her legal expertise.

    • Mike Wilkinson
      May 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Errrr, Ken… I may be wrong on this, but I don’t think JG wanted to live in the lodge. She didn’t for the first three months but was finally convinced to do so by her security team.

      • PeterF
        June 2, 2013 at 6:56 am #

        As opposed to Howard who got to live in Kirribilli House even after his children had finished their education ( His stated reason for not living in Canberra). The cost of travel for public servants to attend meetings in Sydney was enormous.

  15. tk
    May 30, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    I’m not saying that Abbott should be voted in, but are you on drugs? You must live in a capital city or under a rock. Where did this money for the roads, infrastructure and schools end up? Seriously though, pull your head out and come for a leisurely drive up the old Bruce highway in sunny Queensland and then tell me what a wonderful achievement this government has made fixing the roads and infrastructure.

    Better yet, wait until the next wet season and you can spend a three week holiday on a hill in Rockhampton. Then you can tell everyone north of Brisbane that either of the political parties we are being force fed BS from deserve our support.

    I could go on with a list of the flaws in your argument, but by the sound of it you wouldn’t hear from all the hot air rushing past your head.

    All levels of government in Australia have a lot to answer for. And the sentiment of the voters won’t stay apathetic for much longer.

    • Miss
      June 1, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      I live in Cairns and the only infrastructure we have received last 10 years is from Labor. Major works on the Bruce Highway southern corridor, flood proofing bridge Gordonvale and highway widening at Wrights Creek. The facts are Labor have spent 4 times more on the Bruce than Howard in half the time. Facts are very different to what you suggest and I am sick of these lies. Does anyone actually check before they vote to get a far worse result for regional Australia?

      • tk
        June 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

        Yeah I checked. I check every day that I drive over the Yeppen crossing. Which compared to the mulgrave’s efforts to inconvenience the state by a detour of a couple of hours, the fitzroy has a detour of around 24 solid driving hours at full flood.

        The problem is bigger than just the lagoons here. It goes 6kms south and 9km west where most of the road is submerged. Not to mention the high way to the north gets cut too. The rail and the airport shut down too. All of which affects the whole state. Coal transport is affected, affecting the economy. People are cut off from essential services because hospitals, etc in the region have been closed.

        We’re getting a bridge too… that the politicians have said they won’t have any more funding for and is just going to turn into an island in the next flood.

        But as I said, I have the belief that neither party deserves a vote. I don’t trust a liberal as far as I could throw it, but I also don’t believe labour have done enough for ‘regional’ Australia.

  16. Fed up
    May 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Brad it is nearly six years and two governments later.

    Many say that Howard was lucky to benefit from much of the hard work and reforms of Keating.

    Why is it so hard to give Labor and this PM any credit.

    Maybe indeed they are not perfect, but they do have many runs on the board.

  17. Nick
    May 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    It’s easy to achieve when the previous govt actually leaves a surplus, something the labor govt seems to have trouble doing. Macklin says in paragraph 2 they acted swiftly to save us from recession, imagine if the Howard years had left the cupboard bare what would’ve happened. You pro labor factions have short selective memories. Robert Macklin, you’re a peanut of the highest order, no wonder you live in Canberra

    • PeterF
      June 8, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      If there had not been a surplus, they would still have been correct in spending as they did, but I don’t expect you to see that.

  18. Brad
    May 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Wow Robert, you have an interesting view on the meaning of achievements. Achievement usually means something that has been done successfully. I wouldn’t say the Murray-Darling Basin Plan or the Mining Tax have been a success. Any Government could have kept the country out of recession given the strength of the mining industry. Take the mining away and we would’ve been in a similar position to everyone else!

    • Miss
      June 1, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      FACT FREE. Mining is only 10-15% of the economy and it hurt more than it helped by pushing up the value of the dollar. We may have been better off without so much mining. The stimulus did save us, we were never were going to be as bad as Europe but it did save us a great deal.

  19. Bill Lord
    May 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Calmly, rationally and intelligently put. What a shame this quality journalism is fighting for it’s life in the world of Murdoch et al. Thank you Mr Macklin.

  20. Fed up
    May 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    “…“The Government ought to be judged by how well it meets its legitimate objectives”

    You be the Judge.

    ALP achievements/bills since they came to office in 2007.

    • NBN (the real one) – total cost $37.4b (Government contribution: $30.4b)
    • BER 7,920 schools: 10,475 projects. (completed at less than 3% dissatisfaction rate)
    • Gonski – Education funding reform
    • NDIS/DisabilityCare
    • MRRT & aligned PRRT
    • Won seat at the UN
    • Signed Kyoto
    • Signatory to Bali Process & Regional Framework
    • Eradicated WorkChoices
    • Established Fair Work Australia
    • Established Carbon Pricing/ETS (7% reduction in emissions since July last year)
    • Established National Network of Reserves and Parks
    • Created world’s largest Marine Park Network
    • Introduced Reef Rescue Program
    • National Apology
    • Sorry to the Stolen Generation
    • Increased Superannuation from 9 to 12%
    • Changed 85 laws to remove discrimination against same sex couples
    • Introduced National Plan to reduce violence against women and children
    • Improvements to Sex Discrimination Act
    • Introduced Plain packaging of cigarettes
    • Legislated Equal pay (social & community workers up to 45% pay increases)
    • Legislated Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme
    • Established $10b Renewable energy fund
    • Legislated Murray/Darling Basin plan (the first in a hundred years of trying.)
    • Increased Education funding by 50%
    • Established direct electoral enrolment
    • Created 190,000 more University places
    • Achieved 1:1 ratio, computers for year 9-12 students
    • Established My School
    • Established National Curriculum
    • Established NAPLAN
    • Increased Health funding by 50%
    • Legislated Aged care package
    • Legislated Mental health package
    • Legislated Dental Care package
    • Created 90 Headspace sites
    • Created Medicare Locals Program
    • Created Aussie Jobs package
    • Created Kick-Start Initiative (apprentices)
    • Funded New Car plan (industry support)
    • Created Infrastructure Australia
    • Established Nation Building Program (350 major projects)
    • Doubled Federal Roads budget ($36b) (7,000kms of roads)
    • Rebuilding 1/3 of interstate rail freight network
    • Committed more to urban passenger rail than any government since Federation
    • Developed National Ports Strategy
    • Developed National Land Freight Strategy
    • Created the nations first ever Aviation White Paper
    • Revitalized Australian Shipping
    • Reduced transport regulators from 23 to 3 (saving $30b over 20years)
    • Introduced NICS – infrastructure schedule
    • Australia has moved from 20th in 2007 to 2nd on OECD infrastructure ranking
    • Awarded International Infrastructure Minister of the Year (2012 Albanese)
    • Awarded International Treasurer of the Year (2011 Swan)
    • Introduced Anti-dumping and countervailing system reforms
    • Legislated Household Assistance Package
    • Introduced School Kids Bonus
    • Increased Childcare rebate (to 50%)
    • Allocated $6b to Social Housing (20,000 homes)
    • Provided $5b to Support for Homelessness
    • Established National Rental Affordability Scheme ($4.5b)
    • Introduced Closing the Gap
    • Supports Act of Recognition for constitutional change
    • Provided the highest pension increase in 100 years
    • Created 900,000 new jobs
    • Established National Jobs Board
    • Allocated $9b for skills and training over 5 years
    • Established Enterprise Connect (small business)
    • Appointed Australia’s first Small Business Commissioner
    • Introduced immediate write-off of assets costing less than $6,500 for Sm/Bus
    • Introduced $5,000 immediate write-off for Small Business vehicles over $6,500
    • Introduced Small business $1m loss carryback for tax rebate from previous year
    • Legislated Australian Consumer law
    • Introduced a national levy to assist Queensland with reconstruction
    • Standardized national definition of flood for Insurance purposes.
    • Created Tourism 2020
    • Completed Australia’s first feasibility study on high speed rail
    • Established ESCAS (traceability and accountability in live animal exports)
    • Established Royal Commission into Institutional Sexual Abuse
    • Established National Crime Prevention Fund
    • Lowered personal income taxes (Ave family now pays $3,500 less p.a. than 2007)
    • Raised the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,200
    • Australia now the richest per capita nation on earth
    • First time ever Australia has three triple A credit ratings from all three credit agencies
    • Low inflation
    • Lowest interest rates in 60 years (Ave mortgagee paying $5,000 less p.a. than 2007)
    • Low unemployment
    • Lowest debt to GDP in OECD
    • Australian dollar is now fifth most traded in the world and IMF Reserve Currency
    • One of the world’s best performing economies during and since the GFC
    • Australia now highest ranked for low Sovereign Risk
    • Overseen the largest fiscal tightening in nations history (4.4%)
    • 21 years of continuous economic growth (trend running at around 3%pa)
    • 11 years of continuous wages growth exceeding CPI
    • Increasing Productivity
    • Increasing Consumer Confidence
    • Record foreign investment
    • Historic levels of Chinese/Australian bilateral relations

    • First female Prime Minister
    • First female Governor General
    • First female Attorney General.”

    This person has taken the time to list some. Some might disagree with what has been achieved is good or not. To say nothing has been achieved, is plain wrong.

    • Bruce Clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      Excellent stuff. It would be hard to say many people would object more 50% of these “achievements” as being so objectionable that they need repealing. Yet Abbot want to reverse everything?? And all done having to negotiate with the independents all the way.. and having an opposition saying No to everything.. WOW what a great government we have had. the truth comes out.

      It would be wonderful to compare this list with the Howard years?

    • Patrick Whittaker
      May 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      Let’s reelect Julia again for pm keep blabbert and his lot out

  21. Fed up
    May 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    “under the impression that there are certain legal rights for partners that are not present unless it is a certified ‘marriage’ and that aside from the issue or recognition, this was one of the main reasons people were upset.

    I think you will find, the same rules apply for those in a relationship, without the benefit of marriage.

    Used to be three years. Not sure what it is now. Yes, you will be force to provide by your children.In the olden days, one has to keep the women.

    There are very few benefits from marriage that I can see.

  22. Ben Coverdale
    May 29, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    You’re exactly right. However, Julia’s weakness isn’t with work ethic, intelligence, ideas, follow through, guts, regard, sensibility, success or qualifications. It’s not even that she’s a woman. Julia’s problem is that she cannot communicate all of the above to the working class. She is like the quiet nerdy kid whose ideas get shut down by the stupid but loud go-getter.

    It is hard to hear Julia’s message through the (mono) tone of her voice. Add in to the mix the fiasco about the ‘real’ julia and you have a perfect storm of mistrust and miscommunication.

    Most of the country realises Julia is good for their future. Sadly, though, we’re voting just to get her off my TV screen and her voice out of my life.

    • Bill Lord
      May 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      So, if I understand you correctly, the movie star good looks and polished presentation of, say, a Reagan or Romney is the arbiter on who you think should lead our government? I’m sad to observe that this seems to be as “deeply” as many want to think. What a pity for democracy.

    • Kl
      May 30, 2013 at 5:27 am #


  23. Max
    May 29, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Yeah, uh who?

  24. Max
    May 29, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    I applaud you for describing yourself as a columnist and not a journalist, as what you have written is as one sided as anything politicians (from both sides) try to feed us.

    Working in the employment industry since the start of 2000 I realise that things are getting harder no matter who is in government. Statistics that say otherwise are just a joke. An example, does anyone know what you need to do to be classed as ’employed’?

    • BoomerMMW
      May 29, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Max, if you want to clarify what the standard is to be classified I suggest you have a chat to John Howard or his leftover Tony Abbott, they are the people who thanks in a large part to work choices allowed any form of employment other than permanent to be classified as employed. If any government now used the status of permanent employee as the the standard to determine employment then the statistics spruiked by both sides of politics would only be moot.

  25. Reg
    May 29, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Perhaps we just have to accept that Australia is apparently filled with ungrateful whining morons who: cannot appreciate how good we have had it these past 6 years whereas much of Europe and USA have suffered terribly; who cannot criticise and think beyond the Murdoch-Rinehart-Fairfax media propaganda; who, come September, if they trash what we have, well they will get what they deserve; to be trashed by the Abbott administration through austerity for all but their rich mates.

    • Max
      May 29, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      How can you say we had it so good for the last 6 years and say that Australia is filled with ungrateful whining morons? Also I feel your argument lacks substance.

      • Tony Cascarino
        May 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

        Agree with you Max, reading some of the rubbish from the left, they are the one’s who appear to be unhappy, come December more happiness without the first female PM

  26. D
    May 29, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    “Created the NDIS out of nothing…”

  27. Bobby
    May 28, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    And she is ripping off the public, selling off Australia, and plunging this country further into debt. But that’s ok, just vote her back in!!

    • bruce Clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      This is total rubbish. How is she ripping off the public, and selling Australia.. This is the drivel we expect from 2GB. Wake up.

    • BoomerMMW
      May 29, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Bobby, you are entitled to your comment but lets have a least some verification of facts from you, I’m waiting to hear these, in the mean time selling of the farm is in the Liberal DNA, have a close look at what is now happening in the Liberal controlled states.

  28. Katie denlut
    May 28, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    here here !!!!!! I am so sick of hearing the results of something that hasn’t and may not happen yet by the msm ! their agenda is clear, to attempt to brain wash the mindless masses for someone else’s agenda….. a little clarity on what this government has achieved is long over due !

  29. grillzey
    May 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Julia didn’t fix the Murray. anyone in SA can tell you that much,
    and they caved in on the mining tax obviously. Much preferred Kevin.
    But yes, better than the liberals by a long shot.

    • PeterF
      May 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      grillzey: “they caved in on the mining tax obviously. Much preferred Kevin.” Don’t you remember that it was KEVIN who caved in on the mining tax, leading to the fiasco we now have. But wait, the importation of mining equipment is now slowing, while sales of minerals are rising again, which will mean less tax deductions and more income for miners. The mining tax, if not revoked, could still yeild millions.

  30. Liz
    May 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    So you think your comments are well put together and articulate or have I got it wrong and that insult “mad monk” was because you are an LNP supporter

  31. Liz
    May 28, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    their great big deficit was supposed to be the sentence. (maybe?0

  32. parabolic
    May 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    You’re not “the only columnist left in Australia ..” you’re the only left-columnist in Australia who seriously thinks this lying banshee has a chance come September.

    • Sue Ingleton
      May 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

      Banshee is it. watch out pal, we have a lot of magic power and theres a hell of a lot of us out there!

      • Mormor
        May 29, 2013 at 8:39 am #

        I think Julia is great. I will be voting for her come September.

    • Peter Robertson
      May 28, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

      Yes the banshee bothered me up until 3 months ago.
      Now she’s a sterling speaker of authority, calm, intelligence and completes thoughts and sentences with aplomb. Especially under pressure.
      “Babbalot ” on the other hand simpers, mumbles, whinges constantly and has the optimism for this country of an empty caravan site, that will be overflowing IF elected. How this Babbalot could ever have been a Rhodes scholar escapes me. Perhaps his fine cut of budgie-smugglers appealed to someone on the Oxford panel. To vote for him as our national leader says a great deal about the whimsey and truculent electorate.

    • Bruce Clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      OMG how short is your memory. Abbott has no idea whether climate change is real, man made, or scientific wish wash.. he contradicts himself every time he opens his mouth.. He will say anything to an audience to please them even if it means switching his views the next day…

      It is of course the kind of language we have all come to expect of the right wing to call Gillard a “banshee”. it is very sexist indeed and it troubles me when the discussion ends up there.

      If Gillard was a man what would “He” be called then… Certainly the challenge to Rudd would have been seen as a hugely successful coup. Rather than a ‘Banshee” on some mystical power trip…!

    • Bill Lord
      May 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Nice comment parabolic – full of facts, well argued ideas and mature restraint. Sadly your “Lying banshee” rather destroys all the good work you’ve put into your reply. Have you noticed that I’m being a bit sarcastic?

    • Tony Cascarino
      May 29, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      Agree with you Parabolic, there will be no future for Australians if the Banshee get in, all the crap about the good they as a labour party, say they have done, is well out weighed by the tons of bad Govt.and huge debt that has to be fixed,and soon..

      • Bruce Clugston
        May 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

        again this disgusting sexist view from right wing loons.

        Economics 101 will tell you that in times of expanding economy the govt. grows surplus and when the economy is doing it tough then the Government should spend and run deficits. This is basic.
        All economies around the world took the 1929 experience and when the GFC hit then the wise governments would spend to stimulate and prevent a wholesale collapse of economies.
        Abbott would have failed to spend and our unemployment would be over 10% now instead of 5%… we would be in severe recession like the Europeans.

        Keating moved the Labor movement to the right and the LNP had to go further to the right to exist. Now it is unable to have any progressive thinking at all. Stuck with old ideas in a modern world. On the economy the ideas even predate 1929…..!

  33. Unkle Cyril
    May 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Liberal = government of the you, by the rich, for the rich…

  34. I suppose if you only read the Australian and Murdoch’s other newspapers and media sources then you would believe most of the rubbish about the current government. Personally I think they have been a good government in hard times and people forget quickly the former PM John Howard and the hard times we had then and how we the people did not matter one iota!

  35. Simone
    May 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    I wouldn’t exactly say she fixed the murray-darling system. And the Carbon tax is definitely lacking. She did try though. it’s just a shame that neither of these efforts were realised to the extent that would actually help. The Lower Lakes are still ten times saltier than the sea. The Environment is still suffering. But, having said that, it’s definitely more than we could hope for under a Coalition government, so I’m willing to give her another shot to fix things better.

  36. Willum
    May 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    You the only gay in the village then?

    • Fed up
      May 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      I am sure, in time that will come. The same goes for the forestry problem in Tasmania.

      Nothing should be set in stone. They have at least got agreement.

      Changes can always be made. Does not mean the legislation is a failure, just means circumstances have changed.

      No one has claimed this government is perfect. None are. Things that are seen as right at the time, can be wrong gown the track.

    • Fed up
      May 28, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Simone, politics is still the art of the possible. That applies to all parties. even Howard did not get all he wanted from Land Rights to the GST. He had to make many compromises.

      That is the nature of an democracy.

      Look at what happens when a PM gets unfettered power, we have the disastrous WorkChoices. for one thing.

      A perfect answer, is the present cruel and inefficient asylum seekers laws we now have.

      A rebirth, a harsher rebirth of the Howard years, that does not work.

    • BoomerMMW
      May 29, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Willum, its a shame and says a lot about you that your only articulated response to this article is to be offensive.

      • Bruce Clugston
        May 29, 2013 at 11:36 am #

        Willum has shown himself simply by the stupid comment. I am not sure about the level of comments from some people. The vitriol is mindless sometimes.???

  37. Mike Hamer
    May 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    They are or they’re great – not their great …dope!

  38. outlandinstitute
    May 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I’m a little sick of people claiming this is misogyny when there would have been disquiet if it was a man too. More importantly, Julia caved in to the mining sector, voted against gay marriage when she can’t even claim it’s for a moral belief, and she continues to treat asylum seekers like criminals. She changes opinions based on polling data, and personally I can’t vote for her, on any ethical or moral basis. The recent spate of “Tony would be worse!” comments just underlines that Labor doesn’t want us to vote FOR anything, just against. I’ll be going Green until Labor gets some moral fibre again. And maybe a backbone.

    • Caz
      May 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Voting Green is a vote for Labor.

      • bruce Clugston
        May 29, 2013 at 10:49 am #

        Don’t think I agree. Voting Green will ensure Liberals win and therefore it is a Vote for the Liberals.

        • QUIT COAL NOW!
          May 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

          You are both wrong, actually. See this site:

          I want to vote Green, but I want a Labor government:
          Vote 1 for the Green candidate, then vote 2 for the Labor candidate, then number all the other candidates in the order of your preference.

          I want to vote Green, but I want a Liberal PM:
          Vote 1 for the Green candidate, then vote 2 for the Liberal/National coalition candidate, then number all the other candidates in the order of your preference.

  39. achbobby
    May 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    I think you’re all fucked in the head!

    • Fed up
      May 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      What has same gender marriage got to do with religious beliefs. In fact what has it to do with morality.

      The PM might just have other private reasons for her stand. What is important, she is not pushing her views on others.

      I suspect, like me, it might be marriage in general that she has problems with. Who knows, and whose business is it.

      I do not oppose same gender marriage. I have family, very close family that would welcome it.

      I, would ask them, as I do my other kids, why is marriage important.

      From my point of view, it is hard to push for same gender marriage, when one cannot see much point in any marriage.

      To me, it is the commitment that counts. One does not need a marriage ceremony for that.

      • J.M
        May 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

        I think the reason it is linked with religion is because the majority of people opposed to it claim so on religious grounds.

        While I agree with you that an individuals opinion on marriage is their own business, when you are the leader of a country where the majority of it’s citizens support a change in legislation, refusing to examine the issue because you personally don’t approve of it is a problem. I feel like it is a case of her ‘pushing her views on others’ in that, because of her personal view (whatever it may be), there hasn’t been an opportunity to look at possible legislative change.

        I also agree that it is about commitment, more than ‘marriage’, but I was under the impression that there are certain legal rights for partners that are not present unless it is a certified ‘marriage’ and that aside from the issue or recognition, this was one of the main reasons people were upset.

    • Mike Wilkinson
      May 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

      Your comment tells me all I need to know about you. Baaaaaa!

    • Bruce Clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 9:57 am #

      Ahh some intellectual comment to lift the tone… I just hope you are not old enough to vote.

  40. Steven
    May 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    While the author makes valid points, I am sorry to say that he is misguided in thinking Julia has a chance at the next election. Unfortunately, any positives this government given us are only available to those with the will to research it for themselves. Inversely, any perceived failing is rammed down our throats by the value laden media.

    The saddest part of this is that the number of intelligent, fact seeking questioners are far outnumbered by those having their political views moulded by what they see in between episodes of Masterchef.

    • Max
      May 29, 2013 at 9:33 am #

      Fight fire with fire eh? Love your work.

    • Bill
      May 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Good points, well put Steven

    • Mike Wilkinson
      May 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

      We’ll just have to wait and see then Steven. I think there are still some bombshells to be dropped… the Ashby case will reveal the LNP for what it is one way or the other and Tony Windsor still has his mobile phone. I’d love to know what is on it, and perhaps we will before September. 😉

  41. Cass
    May 28, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    “problems beyond reason? Yes I think so, we went from a surplus to significant debt and we have nothing to show for it (the point of my comment).”

    Well, we do have something to show for it. We have a functioning economy.

    And why is a deficit a problem beyond reason? It couldn’t matter less.

  42. Cass
    May 28, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Europe is doing well? OK. Germany might be, but I’m not sure that Greece, Portugal or Spain (or the UK) would necessarily agree with you. And that makes up a fair portion of Europe, hardly an exception as you allude to.

    I’ve not had to worry for my job under this Government (I do worry if the LNP are elected). I’ve not had to work two jobs to make ends meet and I haven’t been put under pressure by the rising cost of living (my wages have also been going up – Australians on average have high wages). I’m not saying that there aren’t people for whom these are real issues, but employment in Australia is still very low, so I don’t think losing your job has been an issue (in fact another thing Labor has done is made it harder to lose your job under the FWA). I also think that as you live in Germany you might not be fully qualified to comment on cost of living and employment market issues – because you also run the risk of making emotive statements not backed up by facts.

    In regards to the author’s comments on education – I don’t believe he is talking about the BER alone, I think he is talking about the combination of the BER and the start of the implementation of the Gonski recommendations.

    I think this Government’s achievements and failures should also be put into perspective. A worldwide global financial crisis happened – they didn’t make it up. It happened and Australia did very well to get through as well as it did.

  43. Steven
    May 28, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    I find it quite telling that the informed, well put together and articulate comments are most often delivered by supporters of Labor/Gillard. On the other side of the fence you have insults and rhetoric (not to mention terrible grammar, prose and spelling – possibly why they are not in favour of school funding). If I have to listen to one more “AM talkback” repeating robot shouting about “pink batts, carbon tax (which isn’t a tax), boat people or bloody surpluses I’m going to lose it. For the record, if any government refuses to spend my tax dollars on the country’s future and/or nation building projects and decides to hold a surplus, I’ll have it back to invest myself that you!

    It is truly remarkable how the 1% can so easily influence such a large number of people into not only believing, but believing passionately that we are in such a precarious position thanks to Labor and that the only salvation is the Mad Monk. Some of them even think that the LNP care about the average Australian AS WELL AS big business.

    • Rachelle
      May 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm #


    • Max
      May 29, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      I presume you will lose it some some sort of intelligent and superior way however. (Also, just a hint, but your words would have more credibility of you had spell checked it first – just something to think about in the future.)

      • simon
        May 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

        ‘if you had’…and spell check will not pick up most grammatical errors. I think the point is rammed home here in reverse!

  44. Fed up
    May 28, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    What i am a little sick of, is statements, asking why this PM has not been able to do everything at once. The PM is condemn for not introducing Gonski earlier, for spending on infrastructure and up grading omn of infrastructure instead of teachers.

    This is plain stupid talk. The PM has spent the last five years working to this point. Yes, the spending on infrastructure and bringing the school into this century was the place to Begin.

    This government haws spent much more on tertiary education, which I would say, includes improvement of teacher training. Yes, it has cut back a little on universities, but spending is still at record levels.

    The PM set up Gonski, to find the best way to proceed. Gonski is about three things. Firstly how to fund, and the best way to spend the money. Secondly, how to improve teaching methods. Thirdly how to meet the needs of the individual child. Yes, for the first time, a wholistic approach being taken to eduction.

    The PM has put in place my schools, and has gathered for the first time, what is being spent on schools and where. That little fact was not known before that.

    The PM has worked, setting up trials with the states, making sure they way forwarded is successful.

    Yes, the PM has been working hard, in a planned way to get to this point.

    There is still more to do. Much more.

    And lastly, there has been extensive work on building a National curriculum. Yes, one that relies on education experts, not the whims of PM’s or politicians.

    Yes, the PM has addressed education, as she does all other policies, ia calm and planned manner.

    Yes, in the business of dotting the eyes, and crossing the Tees..

    Yes, this PM plans ahead, and lets nothing swerved her from her path.

    The same has occurred with NDIS and even putting to bed, the Murry/Darling problems.

    I believe that NDIS, NBNCo, CEF and Gonski are a part of the PM’s vision for this Nation. One that will equip us to be a part of the coming Asian Century.

    The question I ask, how will the demolition man, dismantling all that has been achieved by Labor, lead us to that exciting future.

    How does lowering our working and safety regulations, lead to a better environment for business. Do we want to be a low cost manufacturing country. CAn we compete with countries, with lower standards of living. Do we have to,

    I say no, we should be aiming to be leaders in the technology of the now and future. Yes, high tech manufacturing.

    We hear the miners complain. The pact is that labour productivity has risen. Why, they even no longer need humans to drive there trucks, for starters.

    The mining countries are facing bigger problem. The rest of the world is getting together, to ensure they stop ripping off people in third world countries,. Yes, they are being reined in across the world.

    Yes, this PM has made mistakes, as all that went before her, has done.

    Why not also look at the positives she has achieved. One might be surprised, that the positives far out-rate the negative.

    All I ask, just listen to Mr. Abbott and assess what he says. I know it is hard to do this, as he changes with the weather, like the weather vane, he once said he was.

    • Dasha
      May 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      Dear me, brown nosing PM’s rear end to such extent is very nauseating.

      • jack
        May 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

        you are nauseating .

      • Jim
        May 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

        Wow Dasha. You’ve really covered yourself in glory with that snap of wit. Three cheers for you.

      • jane
        May 28, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

        Better than having your head stuck up Rupert’s wrinkly rear end, followed by Gina’s backside. they must think they’ve got piles.

        • BoomerMMW
          May 29, 2013 at 11:15 am #

          Jane, good comment however they are both pains in the rear end.

      • Bill Kelly
        May 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

        Dasha: So ur brain stopped developing at 4 years

        • Dasha
          May 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

          Bill, then I must be a child genius with a deep insight compared to a shallow ” grown up” like you.

  45. Mac
    May 28, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    The only people making any sense (and can write , ….. and spell) in this conversation are those in support of Julia. I have huge respect for a woman who not only survives years of Abbott-bullying, but who actually achieves many successes for Australians and Australia. She has not been given a fair go at all, but she is strong, determined, resilient and smart. Go Julia!

    • Julie Cork
      May 28, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Congratulations Robert for an honest ‘say’. In terms of big positive courageous reforms this government is excellent. It saddens me that Australians have become so vulnerable to media manipulation and keen to pull public figures down. And women are the biggest targets. Your observations are spot on and it is a very painful truth for we women. History will reflect our shame at the treatment of our women leaders…

  46. Scott
    May 28, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    “It transformed our schools and our schooling” that will do me. It’s like saying Obama has made inroads into gun control.

    • Conor
      May 28, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      There’s nothing like equating, made a start on, with fixed is there?
      This is something that has always irked me about political writing at the moment, no one ever, presents anything more intelligent than the the babbling defence of a thirteen year old One Direction fan, and this is true for either side.

    • PeterF
      May 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      I am not sure what “it’ refers to in your comment, but if the BER is included, you obviously have no understanding of what was achieved. Your comment is therefore wasted.

  47. beth
    May 28, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    So sure everyone is entitled to their opinion, but unless opinions can truly be backed with facts, they are not worth much.

    I fail to see the “austerity” that has done such appalling damage in Europe. Except in countries that lied about their means and spent far above them, Europe is doing well and has maintained stably throughout both recent recessions. The Australian government reacted by circulating cash that was inevitably spent elsewhere, the european governments reacted with long term savings plans. In Germany, where I choose to live, I have not had to fear for my job, work two jobs to make ends meet, my grocery bills, electricity bills etc. have not increased in the past 5 years. Can you say the same?

    The schooling transformation that you claim exists is a ridiculous farce. Spending on buildings whilst not changing teacher training, infrastructure for real learning tools, a focus on individual learning needs rather than testing to creating a situation mirroring only the states with its love of standardised means of measuring success, these are all panaceas and you will see the results of this amazing learning environment in the years to come.

    I am hardly claiming that the opposition or any other party has all the answers. I merely ask that you at least verify your emotive statements before publishing them. Or maybe you are the product of our amazing education system…

    • Peter H.
      May 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      One reason for your grocery bills not going up I would think is that most of the European Union has been in recession for 5 years. Spain, Italy, Greece, France England etc some with record uneployment rates, get real. With regard education Australia has dropped by 10 or more places in standards since Howard came to power, why because that Goverment cut education funding and spent no money on school infrastructure, fact.. The spend on school building during the GFC was to help the economy stay out of recession and a catch up from the Howard neglect. The Gonski report if you’ve heard of that back in Germany is a plan to fix the funding problem and therefore improving teacher skills and other non infrastructure requirements so improve standards, a Gillard Policy, Abbott will scrap it of course.
      What’s with I have not had to fear for my job business, our unemployment levels are at record lows, as well as if I may point out are our mortgage interest rate levels saving the average mortgage payer thousands of dollars a year.
      The Carbon tax is an essential beginning for a later ETS, the increase in power bills was compensated but again get your facts straight the majority of the increase has been due to the cost of replacement of aging infrastructure, nothing to do with Ms Gillard and correct me if I’m wrong doesn’t Germany have an ETS.
      All I can say is having spent time in Germany, I know which country I prefer to live in and I dont pass judgement on Ms Merkel.

      • Max
        May 29, 2013 at 9:51 am #

        So recession = stable grocery prices. You sound like you could make a real contribution to the next labour budget. Abbott will scrap Gonski. How do you know that because he said it? At least we know where he stands. What will labour scrap if all their miraculous income projections over the next 5 years some how fall short? Mortgage rates are low, saving money? Two sides to that story though, just ask self funded retirees. Unemployment rates at record lows? I would like to see those records. Even so, part time employment has dramatically increased and fall time jobs are a little more scarce. Manufacturing is taking a hammering as are other industries. Be careful of trusting statistics. (Also be careful of your phrasing and punctuation. I don’t have a problem with it, but the way some of the other contributors on here are proclaiming the mystical abilities of labor supporters when it comes to the quality of their writing, you just might get exorcised!)

        • Mike Wilkinson
          May 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

          Max, you know as well as I, that you cannot have low mortgage rates and high interest on savings . If mortgage rates are low the retirees hurt, if interest rates are high the retirees are happy but people default on their mortgages and they get hurt. You cannot have it both ways. Damned either way, but better perhaps to help the young establish themselves in an increasingly difficult property market. More to do with greedy banks than poor government.

  48. Monica
    May 28, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    What I find so difficult, is the market research that indicates that much older men’s attitude to Julia Gillard is “that [expletive] is not going to tell me what to do.” Women in politics, no matter their political ilk, is up against this before they open their mouths.

    • Max
      May 29, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Wow, yeah, that is interesting. Just out of curiosity, what is the source of this market research?

  49. North Queenslander
    May 28, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    There’s an old saying that Canberra is 40 square miles surrounded by reality. Herein lies the proof…

  50. Scott
    May 28, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Some of the points passed as facts in this article are too funny. Do you moonlight as a sketch comedy writter?

  51. AndrewSuds
    May 28, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    I’ve struggled through that column… and then some of the comments.
    If we lived the way the columnist and the pro-Labour people wanted us to, we’d have huge debt, weakened industries, a tax on air and we would have nothing to show for it… wait a sec.

    • PeterF
      May 28, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Andrew, your ‘….wait a sec’ implies that you believe that we have problems beyond reason. This shallow assessment flies in the face of the facts. Industry might be struggling in Australia, but compare that with the struggle of industry in countries with an economy which IS in difficulty. The actions of the Gillard government have brought us to the situation where we are the envy of the world. You do not have to believe the facts if you would rather believe the lies of the opposition.

      • AndrewSuds
        May 28, 2013 at 9:33 am #

        problems beyond reason? Yes I think so, we went from a surplus to significant debt and we have nothing to show for it (the point of my comment).

        Compared to other countries, we are doing well (in terms of debt), but we should be doing so much better. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to GFC affected countries – not when we were protected from the GFC through tort/financial reform!

        The fact you are now comparing us to GFC affected countries is a weak point. Take note!!

        It says a lot about labour too, the way they spin words, the way the author spun his words;

        “it (labour) acted swiftly to save us from recession” —- no, no, no, financial reform did, way before the GFC hit.

        “it resisted cutting the Budget to shreds when revenue fell” — revenue didn’t fall, it increased 8%. Projected revenue fell – poor economic management. Even if we met projections we’d be well off a surplus.

        “It tried desperately to stem the flow of boat people, but was blocked at every turn by an Opposition that revelled in the political mileage gained from it.” — wow, straight from a column in communist China.

        • jane
          May 28, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

          AndrewSuds, a very appropriate name. The reason we are not in recession is thanks to the stimulus payments, the BER & HIP programs and a government prepared to invest in this country and its people.

          Financial reform did not save this country from the GFC, it was the quick response of this government. Regurgitating Murdoch’s spin is not credible evidence for your argument.

          WRT surpluses, If Howard hadn’t squandered $300bn on welfare for the wealthy, the budget would be in surplus and there would be no debt. You can mark the current debt situation down to Howard’s profligacy.

      • Max
        May 29, 2013 at 10:05 am #

        Yes, and this line of thinking is TOTALLY supported by facts. Except that industry is slowing investment in Australia as it is too expensive here, oh and some industries are actually moving TO other countries. But yes, if we consider a struggling country is one which is worse off than our own, then yes, we are better off than those struggling countries. That makes a lot of sense.

    • Grumpypa
      May 28, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      The Tax on Air is coming and your mates the Liberal are bringing it in.They sold all Government assets at “Fire Sale” Bargain price. What else are they going to sell, oh hang the Mums are up for Sale…

  52. Mary lawson
    May 28, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    I think everyone is ignoring the power of social media. The election isn’t over yet and I would be surprised if the majority of young voters would opt for the coalition. I think they’re smarter than that.

  53. Arthur Kapantzian
    May 28, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    I hope that Australia will stop Tony Abbott in his intention to move into the Lodge! Go for Julia! I admire her strong will and determination. She demonstrates the highest quality of Leadership! SEE BEYOND! She is a true achiever, inspiration to all and regardless of political views.

  54. Mo Hornibrook
    May 28, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    At last an honest report without using somebody elses agenda. Well done.

    • Colin Wardrop
      May 28, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      Indeed. Absolutely refreshing to say the least..

  55. Yvonne Thomsen
    May 28, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Thank you for reminding us of what
    journalism was once,a reporting of
    facts!Not just trying to mould
    Australian opinion to the wishes of
    selfinterested industries, be it
    Media,mining etc.regretfully putting the
    facts before the public is harder every
    day ,so thank you again

  56. Babs
    May 28, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    I hope when ‘Julia’ is a 2 part series on some Sunday nights the music choices aren’t such a ‘clanging cymbal’ as poor old Gough got. I think JG will be judged very favourabky by history. And I hope Murdich enjoys a Shakespearean Act V in these ladt years of his life

  57. Derek Williams
    May 28, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    I wholeheartedly agree. I have been living in Scotland completing postgraduate study for the past several years, and the strengthening of the Australian dollar under Labor’s management has dramatically cut my living costs abroad.

    I also don’t approve of the Coalition’s cheapo broadband policy, which I consider a very false economy indeed. When it comes to social policy Labor is likewise far stronger on LGBT issues, and even though the Prime Minister herself is opposed to Marriage Equality I still respect her as a committed Australian with the smarts to continue to lead the country in an internationally respected direction.

    Based on its record, Labor should be returned to office with Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.

  58. Adam
    May 28, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    I have followed parliament on ABC for some time.. And one thing that frustrated me was the liberals CONSTANTLY shutting things down! Just to be ass holes it seemed..abbot govt is no alternative. Just cheap game players with no real worthy alternatives.

  59. k hop
    May 28, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    What you forgot to mention in the article is that most of those things happened because of the Greens. They were the ones that pushed for a price on carbon. Oh and the Government didn’t fix the Murray Darling basin. The Basin is still very much broken – ask any of the community groups involved.

    Labor has lost its way. I take my hat off to the Greens and throw all my support behind their efforts.

  60. Benson Rogers
    May 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Dont give the government credit for the weather, thats a moronic statement to make. Rain temporarily patched up the Murray Darling basin, the buyback in terms relative to 3 years of major floods has cost millions and had no real impact.

    • k hop
      May 28, 2013 at 12:41 am #

      Totally agree!

  61. Heather (@HEB2205)
    May 27, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Thanks so much for setting the record straight. So good to read in comparison to all the bile and misinformation out there.

    Be positive everyone out there. She CAN win this election!

  62. pirate
    May 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Don’t complain to me when the liberal government does things that you don’t like. Once we end up with liberal governments in all the states the GST will go up. How are they going to stop the boats, how are they going to stop the dollar from going down. Which war are they going to involve us in next.what are they going to do to stop multinational companies ripping off the farmers and the general public. These are all questions that need to be asked.

    • Bruce clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 4:20 am #

      I think I can answer all your questions ;))
      1. No need to complain as it was all because of previous government.
      2. Can’t comment but if Abbott promised not to then it is a real danger. Again it would be previous governments fault.
      3. Sink them.
      4. Well dollar going down will be good for the country. But any bad side effects will again be previous governments fault. Benefits will be Abbotts doing of course.
      5. Lets take on New Zealand will be the cry.
      6. Abbott would not understand this as multinational companies support the liberals and do wonderful things like CSG.

      Coalition motto is.. Undo everything Labor has done good or bad regardless as if labor did it then it must be bad.

    • Max
      May 29, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Well, you have asked them well, nice job. Uh, but as there is a government currently in power maybe you could ask them? Perhaps you don’t think they are up to it. And by the way, who am I supposed to complain to if not you. Very disappointing.

  63. kgb16
    May 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Labor has done a great job, as have the independents including Windsor and Oakeshott and achieved great things like the NBN that takes the Country into the future for many years to come, and that is very unusual for governments that tend to think in terms of short election cycles.

    If Abbott wins it will be a disaster for this Country.

  64. David P
    May 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Yeah their great ! We are not in a recession at all !! Our industry and manufacturers are all Booming ! Employment is abundant !

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

      You are quite right.
      We are not in a recession at all !! Some industries, especially those relying on exports, are struggling due to the high dollars. Employment is healthy -unemployment at 5%! Interest rates are low, inflation is low, and economic growth is healthy. The biggest problem with our economy is the mad monk- he continually talks down the economy and tries to convince people like you that it is being destroyed somehow. Abbott knows that confidence is the main driver of the economy and he is trying to destroy it. Abbott should be charged with treason

    • marybperth
      May 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

      Hi David, no we are not in a recession yet, and are very lucky not to be. Our economy is the envy of the USA, UK and Europe. I think, given what is happening around the world at the moment, it is inevitable that we will end up in a recession. I think Wayne Swan has done a great job steering us through very turbulent waters financially over the last 8 years. But we are very insulated here from the problems in Europe and the USA, so he is not appreciated. We are a long way from 26% unemployment (Spain), debt 180% of GDP (USA) or 245% (Japan). Here unemployment is around 5% which is close to full employment and debt 40% of GDP. We are in good nick for what is coming.

  65. marybperth
    May 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    Great article! I think Julia and co have done a great job, especially as they are working with a hung parliament. I want the Labour NBN, enjoy that the Carbon tax has reduced emissions, love the plain cigarette packaging, and think Wayne and Kevin did a great job avoiding recession here when the GFC hit. Why is none of this mentioned? Tony Abbott spent the first two years of the last election cycle having a tantrum because he didn’t get the balance of power. No policies, just personal abuse from him. Meanwhile Julia and co have calmly set a course and followed it. Kudos to her and co. If Labour is not reelected, then I think Australia will live to regret putting the Liberal lightweights in charge.

    • Bruce Clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 4:31 am #


      How can we forget the Abbott tantrum. Imagine if labor win…. I believe he will implode and have the biggest spit in history.
      Abbott is a policy and idea vacuum and does not have a vision of the future. It scares me. …
      The austerity policies of UK, Europe have left their economies in tatters, and that is what Abbott would have done. The australian economy would be shattered by now under an Abbott cut and burn approach.

  66. Chris
    May 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Well written, concise and to the point – shame the government can’t outline its achievements in similar way – not perfect but progressive! The vacuous alternative is a real concern – an oppositional party.

  67. Hugh marquis
    May 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    It transformed our schools and our schooling, thus setting us up for the future and giving our children the best possible start in life. It invested massively in tertiary education, including trades, to meet the needs of a growing and changing economy.

    How come we need gonski ?

    • Peter
      May 27, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      Because the Howard government and their predecessors made such a massive mess of our education system!

  68. Dasha
    May 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Yeh, let’s keep her in public domain. So we can see how she is to be tried for treason for her economic vandalism.

    Pink batts, school hall – hundreds of millions wasted;

    Carbon tax, mining tax – hundreds of billions investments killed off and job lost;

    NBN – $ 90 billions white elephan will saddle future generations no end;

    Open border policy – $6.9 billion wasted;

    Years of ever increased debts and deficits, yet again she still wants to spend other people’s money on Gonski and NDIS for her ” legacy”, as if $19.4 billion deficit is not big enough for her;

    if she has done so much for education, why Australia’s ranking went backwards under her watch?

    • Peter
      May 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Dasha, stop and think for a few minutes about the bile you just spewed. There is no rational reason for any of that rubbish to be believed, you are simply demonstrating your own ignorance of economics, politics and common sense. Unfortunately you may well get what you think you want in september, but the rest of us will have to suffer the pain of your ignorance!

    • Phil
      May 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      Dasha most of the 1st world countries have hit the wall, we did not, why.. because our goverment acted quickly and got the money out there, pink batts,etc etc. what the heck, IT GOT THE MONEY OUT THERE..
      Mining tax? if that lot actually paid the tax due then this would be a very rich country and YOU would be far better off.
      Stop swallowing the garbage the “Their” media give you, question the news, the media, understand who controls it and why.
      Abbots boat people… it has a very very small impact on this country, best you learn what happens at airports instead.

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      You have also been foolish enough to believe what you read in the paper – the Murdoch press no doubt.
      Pink batts, school hall – hundreds of millions spent on constructive projects and saving our economy from recession in the GFC
      Carbon tax, mining tax – emissions reduced and new jobs created in renewable energy, mining tax sabotaged by wealthy miners
      NBN – investment in future nation building technology, a plus for regional areas
      Open border policy – asylum seekers should be processed onshore as this is more humane and cheaper. We can take 30,000 a year and we should welcome them.
      Finally some equality for public schools instead of the Howard model which wastes millions of dollars on wealthy private schools.
      Debt – not even an issue. Our debt is small and at this point in the economic cycle a surplus would be irresponsible.
      Labor cares about people – Liberals care only about money

    • Marion Wilson
      May 28, 2013 at 12:19 am #

      Speaking of treason – John Howard sent our Defence personnel to murder civilians in a country that was no threat to us. He and all members of his Government should be in The Hague being tried for crimes against humanity. .People who say that the home insulation policy was vandalism should explain exactly why greedy and unscrupulous employers sent untrained, inexperienced workers, unsupervised into dangerous workplace situations. My local Public school was transformed by Julia Gillard. Money spend improving educational facilities is an investment not an expense. The Price on Carbon is not a tax – it is a penalty on polluters and it is working. The NBN will solve the tyranny of distance that has been a problem for Australians for more than 200 hundred years… Our Government does not have the Constitutional right to stockpile our money, having a surplus is illegal. All taxes collected must be spent on the well being of the whole nation, not on the middleclass welfare and pork barrelling practiced by Howard/Costello. Labor’s fight against Big Tobacco was a monumental success and will save millions of lives and save hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years. Your complaints against the Gillard Government demonstrate that you lack vision.

      • Mike Wilkinson
        May 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

        Well said Marion. The fallacy of the pink batts / school halls spending being failures gained too much traction thanks to Abbott and Co. So did “Carbon Tax” as opposed to “Carbon Price”. As for the NBN, it is an investment that will return Australia much more than it will cost.
        Seems to me that Lib supporters want immediate gratification, no thoughts past next week or next year.

        • Bruce Clugston
          May 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

          Mike, I agree the NBN will be the envy of the World.

    • Bruce clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 4:40 am #

      This is rhetoric spewed by the right wing. It is a formular of attention grabbers, even though there is no evidence to justify them.

      Most is such drivel I won’t comment but on the NBN.. We are the envy of the world having such a visionary government. Saying money is wasted is like saying build roads is a waste of money. Or building the Barbour bridge was a waste of money or the harbour tunnel… These are basic infrastructure that future generations have benefit of and the NBN is also.
      Most of the liberals want the NBN and Turnbull desperately wants it as shown in the launch of the pathetic version Abbott came up with… Abbott does not understand technology and cannot grasp its benefits.

      Dasha, you are not free thinking, but listening to 2GB too much.

  69. Fed up
    May 27, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Carmel, I for one would rather a redhead than a dickhead.

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Well said!

    • Rod Slater
      May 27, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

      Yes, me too!

    • marybperth
      May 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      Yep me too!

  70. Peter
    May 27, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    How is it that so many people can’t see what a threat an Abbott government is to our country. Why can’t people see that the BER was a long overdue exercise that will pay dividends for decades to come, that the pink bats program was pure economic genius because it pumped money into the economy very quickly with little or no leakage out of the country while also making significant improvements to many people’s lifestyle and reducing energy consumption and pollution. It also led to a dramatic improvement in the safety record of the insulation industry, despite the much publicised and unfortunate negative outcomes for a very small minority of participants. The carbon levy has seen a 7% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the power industry and a 10% reduction of overall power consumption which points to a major shift in our industrial energy efficiency which no doubt will help us be more competitive in the world markets. Striving for a surplus for the sake of having a surplus is just sheer stupidity, and the consequences can be seen in any number of countries, Abbott and his band of private school bullies very nearly bluffed the Gillard government into going down the same path and thankfully failed. And as to the plonkers who keep on claiming that Gillard stabbed Rudd in the back, I’d recommend they do a little more research. Everyone knew what Rudd was like, and then they were surprised when he didn’t change. He wasted the political capital he was given and rubbed everyone the wrong way. Instead of relegating her to second fiddle, the labor power brokers should have dumped their religious baggage and given the job to the obvious candidate despite the fact that she was a childless, unmarried female atheist living in sin, she may not be perfect, but she was and still is the best option this country has in the federal parliament at the moment.

    • Rod Slater
      May 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm #


  71. patriciawa
    May 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm #


    Is this a ‘harsh old dowager queen?’
    Well, that’s how the Oz says she’s seen,
    Describing her as ‘tough as teak,’
    Inflexible, hard, in Newspeak.
    I’d say she has a heart of oak,
    Warm, likeable as any bloke.
    Often described as a hard head
    Our PM is far from heart dead.

    She is strong, forthright, no fibber;
    Role model for any Libber.
    Though no militant feminist,
    Or an environmentalist,
    She’s progressive and does care.
    Attempting always to be fair,
    Embracing those who need a hand,
    Never afraid to take a stand.

    Questions on why she’s not married
    She has very lightly parried,
    Echoing another Welsh red head,
    A dowager queen who stayed unwed.
    PM Gillard’s no Tudor, born to rule,
    But she sure comes from that gene pool.
    Hang on to her Australia,
    Her big heart of oak won’t fail yer.

    • sherylgwyther
      May 28, 2013 at 7:15 am #

      Very clever poem, patriciawa. Deserves to be spread far and wide! 🙂

  72. Rob Luxford
    May 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    NBN, Clean Energy Fund, NDIS, Gonski, Carbon Price, direct Chinese currency trade – these are massive, heroic and future shaping reforms on top of surfing the biggest world wide cash crisis in most people’s living memory.

    When people focus on the pennies they are clutching in their hands at the very least they could be thankful that there is someone thinking about the big picture for them.

  73. Jason
    May 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    In my opinion on the surface both leaders come across as communicating with us like we are in grade two, the difference between them is with Julia Gillard there is no danger that she’s going to stand ovcer you & take your lunch money for the rest of term…

    My motto – if you drink & drive OR earn under $150 000 a year & vote for the Liberals, you’re a bloody idiot

  74. Elmore
    May 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Sensational start for the Guardian Aus. Three cheers! The Gillard/Rudd Government is not without it’s criticism. No Government ever is, but it is so frustrating to hear people bang on with the same old stuff when the large majority of it just doesn’t hold up, has been long myth busted, or is just an outright lie. Gillard has been the best prime minister in my life (no I’m not young). History will regard her very highly. The opposition is the one that been so divisive and if anyone is ruining the country it is them. Her achievements are made even more remarkable given the circumstances. She has certainly wow this swinging voter over time and time again this past year or two especially with her performance, speeches, bravery and vision. If Australia “ditches” her in September, they will be ditching the best thing they’ve had in a long time, but something tells me for all the rhetoric we hear now, the purse strings and achievements of this Government will triumph over the negative and visionary lacking opposition come September.

    • marybperth
      May 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

      Hey Elmore I do hope you are right! I agree with you and wonder why people don’t see what a good job she has done. Hung parliament? No problem, talk, conciliate, get the legislation done. Plain packaging for cigarettes, a Carbon Tax (at last! Why don’t the Libs see the sense in that?), NBN, best network available, worth the cost. I used to be a swinging voter, then Green voter, now I only vote Labour. Julia also give fabulous speeches in Parliament, you should catch her some time on Question Time on TV.

  75. Kevin
    May 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Cool story Bro. Pity things like the NDIS aren’t properly funded, the BER was cocked up, the boat people cost us billions as the numbers have increased (and they aren’t budgeted for either) and we spend more than we have and more than we get. So yeah, let’s keep her – because it will certainly get worse whereas the other mob will probably make it better.

  76. Carmel
    May 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Keep her??? why so she can further lie and talk to us like children in prep!!!! she is a dangerous woman who will do and say anything to stay where she is and the rabble that are with her are prepared to go down with her!

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      So you’d prefer the snake oil salesman who cares about nothing except that he becomes PM. He will simply be a puppet for the wealthy Liberal party donors

    • Julia
      May 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Yeah, it’s a no-brainer. Give me a ‘dangerous woman’ any day over a mad monk.

    • Phil
      May 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Dear Carmel,
      Which lies are you referring too? I have never felt like a child in prep when she addresses us Australians on tv, I feel sorry you feel this way. It is ok to support the Liberal party but to do so blindly I would consider the “dangerous” thing to do, that goes for any political party. The little pommy Abbott thinks he is an English Lord entitled to be Australians Prime Minister above us ordinary folk. Please look beyond the media driven rubbish from his mates. Please

    • Mike Wilkinson
      May 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

      Ha! Dangerous woman? Dangerous because she can think for herself, negotiate in a hung parliament and make things happen. I can see how the libs would find that dangerous. 😉

    • PeterF
      June 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

      Carmel, if you really are concerned about politicians lying, try to google ‘Tony Abbott lies’. I dare you. You might see a few interesting interviews: some are even on the MSM.

  77. Kim
    May 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    Fantastic article Robert. A crisp, concise summary of both the achievements of the current government and what is diabolically wrong with media/political commentary in Australia and large chunks of the world.
    So what do we do to turn the tide? Seriously.
    Accent on we because news ltd isn’t going to change their tune and fairfax’s capacity to moderate the national conversation in the face of slagging and slogans has become strangely ‘compact’.
    I don’t know the answer and I’d act on fair dinkum suggestions

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Speak up in defence of the government whenever and wherever you can

  78. Marlo Croft
    May 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    I have a son who has ASD – who attends a special school. I can say this very evidence and my experience the LABOUR Government has been the worst government ever for children/people with additional needs. Tony Abbott and his wife came to our school and want NDIS and explained the process. Where is our PM or her partner?????? Their is a record breaking 2 to 4 years waiting list for speech therapy!!!!!! We need help – the system is broken. Tony Abbott I believe talks the walk and doesn’t tell lies – Unlike the “play on words” and all the excuses……. I WANT LABOUR OUT!! I want help and Labour has left me high and dry. I want government that looks after all. Not MP who rack up credit card bills…… Please help me and vote this PM and her government who will live off there over paid superannuation and help the real strugglers – people living with disabilities.

    • Jack
      May 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

      What on earth are you talking about? The Gillard government brought in the NDIS!
      You have no idea what is going on and who is doing what. You can’t even spell “Labor” never mind understand what is going on . It’s people like you who vote for a change of government and end up wishing they hadn’t. AS IF Abbott cares about you and your family and others like you ! What is wrong with you!??

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      You’ve been conned by Abbott – he’s a snake oil salesman. Promise the world and do what his wealthy party donors want once elected. Abbott doesn’t lie? What planet are you on? They said in 2010 their election costings had been ‘audited’. The accounting company concerned admitted they didn’t audit the costings, merely checked the calculations. Isn’t that a lie? Abbott says the current education funding model is fair. That’s a lie. Abbott was in favor of a carbon tax a few years back and now denounces it simply to oppose. If you want someone to look after the vulnerable and those on lower incomes, Abbott is NOT your man

    • Richard
      May 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      So let me get this right Marlow, you want to vote for Tony Abbott because of the NDIS, which was introduced by the Gillard government and not supported by Abbott until opinion polls showed strong public support for, and you think the Labor government has been the worst government ever because of a 2-4 year waiting under a disability assistance program that received no additional funding when Tony Abbott was the health minister?

    • daveOponic
      May 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      If Abbott is so concerned about the NDIS, why wasn’t he present when the bill was introduced in Federal Parliament. only 2 LNP members were present.
      Julia Gillard has a genuine commitment to the disabled, she is a leader with integrity and a passion for our country. Tony Abbott wants desperately to be PM but has no policies, no vision, no integrity and no concern for Australians apart from the wealthy.

    • Bruce clugston
      May 29, 2013 at 4:53 am #

      Karlo you are confused. Labor created the NDIS and introduced it in a parliament which the coalition boycotted the vote and stayed away. Not one coalition pollie was present. They fought against it and rubbished it and it is Abbott who is totally against Government helping the disadvantaged. He believes in the individual looking after him or herself. He is the worlds biggest hypocrite. Don’t be fooled because Abbott will not help you.

  79. foza
    May 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    not that i like to get into political drama’s too much,but i cant stress enough that this is not a balanced argument, nicely written but not ballanced, there are quite a few good things that julia has done, nbn , ndis and a few others, but i cant help but say, lots of broken promises doesnt create faith or loyalty, and seriously no one voted enough for these two bumbling fools to lead this nation, well julia has never been voted by the public to lead our country at all which tells you something there, i do see that labour tried to look like they where pleasing everyone but alas in the end all they have done is said things to help there vote, and cause they havent followed through with their promises it has lead them to there current situation, well played tony abbot you are going to win by default, a piece of string tied onto a brick would win the next ellection for the liberals. doesnt mean the brick will do a good job but labour have them selves to blame.

    • Ritz
      May 28, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      Mostly sensible comment, I don’t necessarily agree with you but that’s just the way it is. I am concerned though that many posts, yours included, contain a basic lack of understanding of our electoral system, relative to the election of the Prime Minister.
      We, the public have never elected a Prime Minister and never will while we operate under our current constution. The party elects its leader, who may or may not become Prime Minister (Haydn/Hawke spring to mind). Sitting Prime Ministers may lose their seat in a General Election, the ultimate insult, I reckon.
      Fairly obvious what the electorate thought of the Howard Brothers.
      Bottom line, we can eject & reject a Prime Minister but we cannot elect One.

    • nigel
      May 29, 2013 at 3:58 am #

      Australia is a Parliamentary System, not a Presidential System of politics. The people do NOT vote in the PM, the party does. Despite what the opinion of the people may be, it is the party who choses who the PM will be. The party may thus change the PM as and when they wish. Australians seem to forget that.

  80. RV
    May 27, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Firstly, I should point out that I do not follow Australian politics very closely. However, I believe my reason for this is justified, seeing how frustrating it is to observe Australian politicians. To make it worse, it is too hard to criticize any one parliamentary party because there is no promising alternative offered by anyone. I certainly do not support the alternative proposed by Abbot. So for that, I wish not to cut down your opinion that you are entitled to, but simply wish to voice another objective opinion. Because at the end of the day, as one who is about to vote for the first time, I could not think of a more horrible year to have to cast a vote. I cannot believe that an individual such as Mr. Abbot or Ms. Gillard would have been considered a leader by their respective peers, colleagues and now critics before entering the world of politics. As a school student, my belief is that they would not have been the strong and influencing moral high ground that I’d look up to – and currently, I certainly do not expect from either of them a promising future.

    Whilst I commend the Labor party for their efforts during the recession, other arguments you have raised seems misguided. And I fault these not out of “expert” knowledge, nor out of biased affiliations with any party. Whilst there may have been some heavy emphasis on schooling, it is ludicrous to suggest that tertiary education has been protected. Why invest so heavily in schooling, so that students may reach university and tertiary education (afterall, this is where careers are generally made, are they not?) if their immediate future after school is to be thrown down the well? And whilst the intentions of the NDI scheme are indeed altruistic, do not for a second suggest that it is created “from nothing”. Funding can only be provided by compromising another source of funding.

    And sure, all these things sound fantastic, theoretically: infrastructure, schooling, pensioning – but in practice, what has really held Labor back is not the Howard government, but Labor themselves. Now it would be too of an argument to refer to the Prime Minister’s entry into government, but I refer to something minor – yet nevertheless symbolic to me. How disappointing it was to have a newly constructed freeway, only for it to be closed for the most petty of excuses – so that all the members of government could be there to open it. Pathetic.

    What is most alarming though, is your comment that they should be praised for completing what you believe is so much “as a minority government.” In an Australian system of government, if they are not in the majority, then should they really be government in the first place? As for the gender argument, to me, that seems like far too easy of an assumption. Regardless of the opposition, regardless of how she came to power, I’m disappointed that what should have been a celebrated occurrence, the first female Prime Minister of Australia, will forever be shadowed by the unfortunate disappointment Julia Gillard has become.

    For all purposes, I would love if Labor could prove my thoughts to be absolute nonsense – and for some, you may believe that they Labor already has proven me wrong, (of course, there is the strong possibility I have done that to myself already) – but until such a time, I remain very concerned about the lack of promising direction that has been provided for Australian citizens.

    • Peter Boland
      May 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

      RV – you need to cut out the verbal diarrhea. Your rhetoric is overly verbose and reflects only your opinions and immaturity. Fact is that the Labor government under Gillard has achieved passed many bills through parliament with support of the opposition. The government has delivered a considered budget, delivered the NDIS and presented the future with it’s NBN. Under Rudd with Gillard a key minister the Government steered this country through the GFC.
      “but in practice, what has really held Labor back is not the Howard government, but Labor themselves.” Fail. The “Howard government”?

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Re ‘Minority government’. A shame your education didn’t explain our system of government to you. Fact: Under our constitution, the party which can obtain a majority on the floor of the House of Reps forms the government. Fact: Neither party achieved a majority of seats. Fact: Gillard was able to persuade the Greens and the independents to vote with Labor in the House of Reps, thus Labor became the government and has maintained this majority for nearly three years.
      That’s how it works and it has worked well – except for Abbott trying to reduce the parliament to chaos

      • Bruce clugston
        May 29, 2013 at 5:02 am #

        Well said.
        RV.. I fear you are mixing messages. The major consequence of a minority government is that to make things happen Gillard has had to negotiate with the independents and Greens every single policy. And this has been extremely skilfully done by Gillard. Some great policies came out of this process like the NDIS and NBN.
        The alternative if Abbott had had to work with the independents and greens is that he would not have had the skills or the desire to negotiate compromise.

        • PeterF
          June 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

          Bruce, you are correct: Abbott did not form a government because, to quote you ‘ he (does) not have the skills or the desire to negotiate a compromise’

    • NormanK
      May 28, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      “Firstly, I should point out that I do not follow Australian politics very closely.” Everything you wrote after that statement proved that admission to be accurate.
      I gather your main objection is to the recent slowing down of the increase of funding for tertiary education. The university sector was told to sink or swim by Howard – privatised so that only the wealthy could afford it. It is on its way back to being available to all, regardless of their socio-economic status. Do a bit more homework before you launch another ill-informed rant like this one.

  81. LilianDon
    May 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Many people thought Kevin had lost the plot when he told people to tighten their belts – he was only married to a millionairess.

  82. rwthorne
    May 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Excellent article. You might be the only journalist that is saying this – in the mainstream press that is – but there are plenty online journalists who get it. How interesting that you can clearly write about this government’s achievements, and people like Beau and Bec still reply with such rubbish. I don’t suppose they read the article. We can only hope that although they’re loud and ignorant of the facts they are in the minority!

    PS If you read this Bec, that is absolute rubbish about pensioners. And asylum seekers get a lot less than Newstart; they are helped by charities to get the basic necessities. That is, much kinder people than you put a lot of work into helping these unfortunate people.

    • Peter Wright
      May 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      Brilliant piece. We need to ask why this viewpoint is so rarely featured in the media – yes we can understand that Murdoch and Reinharts papers don’t mention it, but how often have I heard it on my ABC lately?

  83. bec
    May 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Ur an idiot mate! I work in retail and the amount of poor pensioners that have to buy a tin of homebrand dog food for dinner because there pension is crap , while gillard gives asylum seekers twice the amount of money and tvs and furniture . These are the people who fought for our country and they are not freezing and starving in there homes. Shame on you, why don’t you live on there pension for a month and see how you go!

    • Bec's a Racist Bitch
      May 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      “The amount of poor pensioners that have to buy a tin of homebrand dog food for dinner…” BULLSHIT !!!

    • Jack
      May 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

      The Gillard government implemented the first pension increase in about 8 years .

      UR an idiot Bec!

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Another case of ‘don’t believe the lies in the Murdoch papers’. When an asylum seeker arrives in Australia, they do not get any Centrelink benefits. While their status is being processed, and if they meet certain criteria, they can be eligible for financial support from the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme, administered through the Red Cross. This amount is 89% of the basic Centrelink allowance. This means approximately $405.84 per fortnight – over $260 less than a pensioner.
      Get your facts straight

    • Ali
      May 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      No, it is you who is bordering on idiocy. The propaganda put out about asylum seekers is absolute lies – they don’t get as much as a pensioner from the Government nor have I heard of an asylum seeker being given a television. I know some asylum seekers get help from welfare organisations – but that help is also there for pensioners and people on a health care card. The general state of our economy is pretty good and if we had had a Liberal party in power their obsessive cut and burn strategy may well have plunged us into the same chaos as many other industrialised countries.

    • geoff pearson
      May 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      you gotta be kidding PM gave pensioner pay rise the only government to do it 15 years Abbott wants it back and don’t tell me he said they can keep it because Abbott has a huge agenda you aint seen yet

    • Andrew Owens
      May 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      I think you’ll find the asylum seeker stuff is a hoax which didn’t even originate in Australia (it’s based on a misunderstanding of Canadian law!) has an excellent writeup on what refugees actually do receive.

      Also, while I’m a critic of the government on other issues (single parents, Newstart etc) this government has raised the aged pension more than any other.

    • Snowman
      May 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Bec start talking with some facts, instead of quoting you racist rubbish, Pensioners are poor but not so poor that they need to eat homebrand dog food, they would have bought that for their dog! Labor raised the pension, Tony Abbott wouldn’t care less. I think you need to do some homework on ideology of the parties. Asylum seekers don’t get TV;s and furniture, it is all donated by the community by people who care ( I am quite sure that is a word you don’t understand).The “people who fought for our country” where people who cared about freedom, human rights and common good, they did not fight to fill the place with racist, selfish, ignorant people like you!

    • tony Bishop
      May 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

      Bec I am a pensioner and we have never had it so good . And no the government don’t give stuff to asylum seekers like you think they do .And if anybody buys pet food for dinner in this country they are simply stupid .

  84. Shirley Smith
    May 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Thank you this exposé. I have been feeling I am the only one who had thought the budget was a mature and responsible approach.
    My question is what would it mean if we thought about the strength of the $ was a strength and an international opportunity? How would our our economy look like and flow ins that would generate. The model is the Swiss frank.
    Thank you again for a terrific review.

    • Peter Bowlay
      May 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Seems like we have 19 idiots out there so far!!!

  85. Daffyd
    May 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Pink batts, boats, Craig Thomson, union rorts, NO carbon tax lie, Rudd knifing, huge debts, MASSSSSSIVE wastage, school projects, cash for clunkers, cattle export bans…yeah just brilliant!!!!

    • Richard
      May 27, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

      As the man says, fripperies, trivia and the seven second grab. No one complained long and loud about Howard’s “never ever” GST promise, the loss of $2 billion dollars in currency transfers by Peter Costello, or the numerous ministerial shenanigans that occurred in that time. Howard’s government was judged on its economic management.
      Here’s another list for you: growth at 3% (above the OECD average, which never occurred under Howard), unemployment at 5.5% (well bellow the OECD average), third lowest debt as a percentage of GDP in the world, AAA credit ratings from all 3 international credit rating agencies for the first time in Australia’s history, lower taxation rates, interest rates and inflation rates than the previous government and the NDIS.
      I could name quite a few other things as well but as you’re clearly a supporter of the Coalition it’s unlikely you’d pay any attention.

    • mludowyk
      May 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

      You’ve been reading too much Murdoch press. All your points are incorrect.
      Pink batts – delivered great energy savings to homes, with a few cowboy small businesses ripping off the scheme and exploiting unskilled workers. Overall a great program
      Boats – should not be a political issue. Asylum seekers should be processed quickly and welcomed. Abbott won’t be able to stop them anyway – the Indonesians know what a fool he is.
      Craig Thomson – innocent until proven guilty,
      Union rorts – no case to answer. A beat up by the opposition and the media
      NO carbon tax lie – another media lie. Gillard always said she was going to legislate a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism. Her preference was not for a ‘carbon tax’. A policy change – not a lie ( Not a core promise anyway!!)
      Rudd knifing – media beat up. When a leader loses support of his party they change them. Even John Howard said ‘I’ll be leader of my party for as long as they want me as leader’. Was Baillieu knifed? What’s the difference? Only the press bias.
      Huge debts – coalition beat up. In the current economic climate surplus would be bad for everyone.
      MASSSSSSIVE wastage – another coalition lie. Spending on worthwhile reforms and projects is not wastage. Wastage is giving tax cuts and welfare payments to wealthy people.
      School projects – another great project. 97% of schools had no issues and gained excellent teaching spaces. A program of this size rolled out so quickly – 3% of issues is pretty minor.
      cash for clunkers, – not worth discussing
      cattle export bans – so the cattlemen don’t like it – too bad for them. They should regulate their own industry better.
      You need to check the facts and don’t believe everything you read in the paper

    • geoff pearson
      May 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      Pink batts was blown out by Abbott real report show 2% fault by bad installers
      Boats Abbott has been blocking 22 point plan to gain votes
      Craig Thompson not guilty of anything yet
      Cattle ban saved the bloody industry
      get facts on schools every school was happy once again the was 2% over charging by idiot business
      PM said there would be no carbon tax but she would implement a carbon price
      Oh and by the way PM did not win election she negotiated a hung parliament

      Abbot also could have negotiated a hung Parliament but he had was caught out with a $11 billion dollar black hole in his costings

      Today Banks said if Abbott puts his paid Parental plan in they will increase Interest rates and credit card rates plus there re is a blow out of $3 billion blowout in his costing of Paid parental plan
      do you know what Direct action will cost because last year Turnball said it was $80 billion a year business backed it up google it

      Abbott has not put out one fully costed policy

    • john edwards
      May 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Grow up Daffyd, you sound as silly as a wheel.

    • mrharmony60
      May 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      low interest rates, beat the GFC, low unemployment, triple A rated economy by the 3 top agencies, carbon pricing, low debt, plain paper packaging for cigarettes, Murray/Darling agreement – first time in 100 yrs, new dialogue with China, NBN, Gonski, DisabilityCare, raised pensions, 400 odd bills passed, ….yeah just brilliant!!!!

    • Anna
      May 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

      Why has everyone forgotten that Rudd got in on the promise of pricing carbon (ah, that would be a carbon tax) and got kicked out after opinion polls collapsed when he reneged and didn’t bring it in… AUSTRALIA (and the Liberals at various times) WANTS A PRICE ON CARBON!

  86. Maddie
    May 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Didn’t put a foot wrong in foreign affairs? So the 2009 White Paper didn’t view China as threat, Bob Carr didn’t threaten sanctions against Papaua New Guinea and Bob Carr didn’t apologize to a dead Brazilian orphan’s ‘parents’?

    • James
      May 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      ….did you just say an orphan has parents?

  87. random7830
    May 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    excellent article; the current polls make no sense to me – her govt has a record of astute thinking in adverse global economic circumsances and it defies belief that the Australian community can’t recognise it. I just don’t believe the polls.

  88. Mike Wilkinson
    May 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Excellent summary! I still think that the Murdoch stench over the LNP, and hopefully a resolution of “Ashbygate” before Sept 14th will see another term for JG and the ALP.

  89. Beau Wetini
    May 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    LOL – here is the thing – the REASON why Europe and the US are either in full blown Austerity or heading into full-blown Austerity is because of WRECKLESS government spending – our current debt levels give an illusion of safety, because most Labor supporters think “well, we arent that bad – we can handle an increase of our debt” – thing is, we can handle an increase of our debt, because Australia is not lead by people who know how to implement policies that will have the debt be paid down.

    But thats ok – because the sun shines out of Gillard’s rear end!

    • Ffransis
      May 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      The REASON why Europe and the US are “in full blown Austerity” is because they bailed out financial institutions which had for years understated the risks associated with some financial products. In this manner unsustainable private debt became public debt, and nothing in this process represents reckless government spending.

      Another REASON is that economic orthodoxy argues that high government debt leads to decreased economic growth. Whether this is true is irrelevant — it might be hard to swallow, but there is no “fiscal emergency” in Australia. As mentioned above, we have the third lowest debt to GDP ratio on the planet. We are nowhere near the levels seen in the US and Europe, not even close.

      There is no illusion of safety, the only illusion is that moderate deficits or surpluses have any real bearing on economic well-being. So long as government has at its disposal the ability to implement fiscal policy, to define which side of 0 total revenue is on is arbitrary. I would even argue a surplus simply represents short changing tax payers.

      ALL of your comments are misinformed. You’ve bent reality in order to justify plainly false views.

    • Medge
      May 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      I’m sorry!
      The GFC is from reckless government spending, and Gillard’s governement spend recklessly, so we have suffered the fate of the full GFC?
      Triple A rating, economists the world over agreeing on only two things: 1) Australia’s economy is one to strive towards and 2) Kevin Rudd’s stimulus package was the right amount, in the right way at the right time.
      Lowest unemployment, interest rates, inflation?
      Australia suffers from economic mismanagement when the USA went into melt down and people lost their houses and several groups of people in Europe nearly lost their countries?
      We’re in trouble?
      Austerity measures are a policy that came from an analysis of a spreadsheet that was shown to be wrong by an economics student. The reason other countries are in trouble is because of the austerity measures they have introduced. Abbott wants to do the same thing here.
      In fact our economy is so screwed that the Aussie dollar is rated really highly.
      400+ policies passed, and economy in great shape.

      You keep using Austerity, I do not think it means what you think it means. The word you are looking for is recession. We are not in a recession, the US is, Lots of countries in Europe are, and the could drag us with them, if it wasn’t for the correct, in every important way, spending by government.

    • Andrew Owens
      May 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      A significant factor in the European and US economic crises were that banks in those countries were allowed to get away with things that banks in this country can’t – these things were put in place by Paul Keating but even Costello refused to lift the regulatory requirements on them despite a lot of whining from the banking sector. The end result – at one point the Commonwealth had a higher capital rating than Citibank, a global bank! I think you’re confusing the issues of public and private debt, which are quite different things.

  90. mludowyk
    May 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    I’m sure you are not alone, Robert, but just shouted down by the ignorant rabble supporting Abbott in their own self-interest. I agree Gillard has achieved a lot of good reform in spite of the minority government. Sadly, the right wing nutters have more money for marketing and advertisements because of their wealthy party donors. I am also pinning my hopes on the young who do not have land lines to be ‘polled’ and those who do not read the msm. Howard was bad enough, Abbott would be much worse. Those voters in marginal seats have our future in their hands.

    • Julia
      May 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      It’s sad, isn’t it? But, let’s take heart: it only takes one lone voice of dissent to encourage others to stand up and be heard too.

  91. mrharmony60
    May 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    excellent article, couldn’t agree more. But Robert forgets that Rupert Murdoch shall decide who leads our country and the circumstances of how they get there..

    • Jenny Maher
      May 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      Just like he put Whitlam in in ’72… but that was okay as he was supporting your side.

      • Wil Hughes
        May 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

        At least Whitlam refused to be at his beck and call, hence why Murdoch ran to the other side as fast as possible and started throwing mud. I don’t think he ever got over it. Abbott is a much better trained house pet.

      • geoff pearson
        May 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

        He also put Howard in don’t kid yourself Murdoch has been electing for years look at UK

      • PeterF
        June 2, 2013 at 7:05 am #

        Yes, after the election , he asked ‘how many seats did WE win?’. And, yes, it was a good thing – but did he do it by distorting the facts?- and now it would be a bad thing for this country if Murdoch was able to influence the vote by distortion of the facts.

      • mrharmony60
        June 9, 2013 at 11:55 am #

        but then Rupert fell out with Whitlam and with the power of his media empire contributed greatly to his demise. Do you think Murdoch is completely unbiased in who he wants to be in the Lodge?

    • Mary Blight
      May 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Not necessarily MrHarmony60. Don’t forget that Rupert failed to get Mitt Romney elected in the USA.

  92. Bob Lloyd
    May 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    This is very refreshing. But you are not alone. There are a number of journalists in independent media such as Independent Australia telling the same story. Hopefully your column reaches a large audience.

  93. Brian
    May 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    I’ve been saying much the same thing to anyone who’ll listen for three years. This Government has done some truly transformative things that are heart and soul “Labor”. Part of the trouble is Australia’s progressive community, which seems only too happy to carp on over their soy lattes about what hasn’t been done, rather than recognise and celebrate what has.
    I don’t think it’s over.

  94. Bruce Jones
    May 27, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Well may he say stop the boats, but he does not say how, (except bringing back the Howard solution) this is the one that resulted in children behind razor wire, suicides, hunger strikes, wiring mouths shut etc, etc, and the majority of the boat arrival people were granted permanent residence This was the plan (amongst other draconian impositions on the Australian public) was the one that the public overwhelmingly threw the last Liberal government out for. Remember the Reith plan for the waterfront reform, bring in thugs from Rhodesia wearing balaclavas, with steel pipes and attack dogs..I remember it well. Billions cut from health, education infrastructure etc, etc, no wonder there was a surplus budget…..

  95. Howard Sucked
    May 26, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I find it ironic that we are complaining that Julia Gillard is finally (if 8 years too late) cutting some of the Howard era middle-class socialism. The baby bonus? The first homebuyers grant? FTB top up?

    We have economists finally – after years and years of sitting on the sidelines saying diddly – coming out and finally admitting that the Howard Era tax cuts and handouts are a dual curse. They cost us money to support people’s lifestyles (not deploy taxation capital to improve standards of living nor productivity) while simultaneously destroying the nation’s taxation power, which results in reduced taxation revenues. This is exacerbated during a downturn in the economy but is hidden during an economic boom (such as the mining boom we just had) which makes everyone think Howard was a dead-set legend and Gillard a curmudgeonly scroogey witch.

  96. Belinda
    May 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Thank goodness….a journo summing it up brilliantly. The Liberal Party have hood-winked the public into thinking they have a plan that will actually improve all our lives and futures. Where are the big picture hard hitting journos – bring back Chris Masters !! and vote for the return of a Gillard Govt, at least until the Libs come up with a better alternative than T Abbott and his bunch of private school, business loving, Gina supporters.

  97. gentlylivinggently
    May 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Seems to me, that the Murdoch press forgets we have the internet now. 18-30 year olds don’t read papers. And women notice women that just get on and get the job done. Those are the women we know we can count on.

  98. Alistair
    May 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    They have two others :: stuff up the nbn, and pay companies a bursary to hopefully stop polluting

  99. Fed up
    May 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Nor can I. It does not make sense.


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