Posts Tagged ‘Julia Gillard’

the petition calling for sacking of Jones

There are some things in life that are really unpleasant and annoying. Like the stray turd that refuses to be flushed away, stubbornly floating on top of the water in the dunny bowl until eventually being forced off down into the sewer where it belongs.

That analogy could also be applied to people such as, oh I don’t know – perhaps radio broadcaster, Alan Jones. Make that definitely Alan Jones.

Controversy surrounds Jones like a foul smell which refuses to go away. Probably because Jones is the source of the stench.

Alan Jones’s latest stunt was to use his speaking appearance at a recent event to launch a viscous attack on Australian Prime Minister, Julie Gillard. But this was no attack against her polices or her government. Oh no. This was an obviously planned and intended diatribe that Ms Gillard was the cause of her father’s death, that he literally died of shame, that he had lived in shame for years every time she stood in an election.

True to form, Jones did not let the facts get in the way of a good rant. The fact that Mr Gillard was in his eighties and already hospitalised did not have anything to do with his passing. According to Jones, Gillard Senior literally died of shame.

What a load of crap.

The event in question was a fund-raising event by a branch of the Young Liberals (for my North American friends, for ‘liberal’ read ‘republican’) with Jones as the featured speaker. Unfortunately for Jones, a reporter was present, having purchased their own ticket and presumably hoping for something newsworthy dripping from Jonesy’s lips. And pretty much all hell has broken loose on Jones after the story was released.

Controversy in highly questionable circumstances is hardly new to Jones. For example, he was caught up in the nasty ‘cash for comment’ scandal where he was pocketing lucrative payments to make positive statements about particular products and organisations. You may be asking ‘so what?’ – isn’t that what advertising is? No, it isn’t the same. Jones was pocketing the money, whoring himself out but pretending it was independent commentary, quite deliberately hiding the fact that it was in fact paid comment. But he still claims to be an independent broadcaster. Yeah. Right. Better keep an eye out for those flying pigs as well.

Back in 2005, there was nothing short of a race riot in Sydney. Being openly pushed by a white supremacist group among others, this started as a brawl on the beach before spilling out into the streets and public transport. Just having the appearance of someone from the Middle East was enough to cop a beating as CCT footage amply demonstrated.

Just prior to that riot, Alan Jones was talking it up on his radio program. He was reading out alleged text messages which advertised it. He openly referred to Lebanese Muslims as “vermin” who “rape and pillage a nation that’s taken them in”.

Not surprisingly, a complaint was made to the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal. In 2009, the Tribunal found that he” incited hatred and vilified Lebanese Muslims.” He was fined, forced to publicly apologise and his employer condemned for their practices in allowing this behaviour to go ahead. Jones appealed. Just as the furore over his ‘death by shame’ comments burst, the Tribunal finally ruled on his appeal, dismissing it.

This is someone caught out using his broadcasting time to disseminate racial hatred. In my opinion he was quite lucky to escape even more serious punishment for a perception of a role in inciting racial riot.

Yet again, Alan Jones was way over the line. Yet again, Alan Jones managed to apologise but without actually saying ‘I’m sorry,’ instead turning into an opportunity for yet another rant. Yet again, Alan Jones is essentially getting away with simply unacceptable behaviour. His radio station has loved him because he has been bringing in big bucks, thereby justifying his own big bucks salary.

It has been reported that sponsors have been pulling out. If that is a complete withdrawal from funding sponsorship at the radio station, then beaut – hit them in their pockets. But if it were just moving the sponsorship to another timeslot, then it is a pretty empty action, not actually causing the station any loss.

I was happier to learn that regional radio stations have dropped their subscriptions to take Jones’s broadcast. Now that is definitely a monetary loss to the station – and good news it is. Causing them actual real financial loss is clearly the only way to get the message across.

A petition is now circulating around courtesy of the Internet, calling for boycotts of Jones, his program and his station, further calling for his sacking. Naturally enough, Jonesy didn’t like that either, having a blast against it on-air. Clearly in his world’s view, he is the only one who should be allowed an opinion, nobody else. As for people daring to disagree with him, watch out you scum suckers! Well, I signed it happily enough and have included a link to it at the head of this post. As I type this, the petition has 108,038 ‘signatories’.

In all of this, Prime Minister Gillard has shown a distinct quiet dignity. She has declined to give comment against Jones other than to state she refuses to ever appear on his program again, as well as thanking the many Australians who have made contact to express their sympathy. She has also declined to accept calls from Jones.

Let’s be honest about things. Jones has only backed off because he was caught out. His attempted defense that he thought it was a private event is nonsense – it was an event that anyone could have bought a ticket to. Would he be making such a public stance if he hadn’t been so publicly caught out? No bloody way.

In contrast, pretty much the only comment from her opposite number, Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, has been to refuse to boycott appearances on Jones’s program. Fair enough – he has the right to appear there or not. But am I the only one who thinks Abbott should be making comment on someone using a Liberal Party-affiliated event for such an appalling, over the top attack? Especially if it was a paid appearance and I sincerely doubt Jonesy would be turning up as a featured speaker as a freebie. Or is it really just a case of Tony Abbott’s usual stance that in his opinion, pretty much anything goes. One cannot help but wonder just what class taught that world view back at the seminary he studied at?

In the meantime, Alan Jones is now in the midst of a real stink. Perhaps, with a bit of luck, we shall see the ultimate flush that sees Jones off swimming down in the sewer with the rest of the turds where he belongs.

Now if you have an opinion on what I’m blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don’t be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don’t bite – at least not always. Or even follow the blog by email. 

So much for unity

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
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In the midst of this Quantas bru-ha-ha and the tragic deaths of four more Australian soldiers in Afghanistan (which I am leaving along – let the families grieve), another small event has gone virtually unnoticed. In the face of still-terrible approval ratings, a member of the Gillard government (apologies as I missed their name) has come out claiming Prime Minister Gillard has the full support of caucus and the party.

Now when did we hear that sort of blather before? Back when the Howard government was facing increasing public unrest, we tired of hearing statements like that about party unity under Howard. It seemed for a while there that any statement by that government to either parliament or the media had to include some reference to them being “a team.” Some two months before the November 2007 election, Joe Hockey vehemently declared on ABC radio (I happened to be listening at the time) that the party was 100% behind John Howard. Yet shortly after the election which not only saw the Howard government toppled but saw Howard lose his own formerly-blue ribbon seat, Hockey was quick to join the rush of former government ministers claiming they had not really supported Howard but had been telling him to stand down. So much for unity.

Are we now seeing a repeat within the Labor ranks?

The situations are of course quite different. Howard had a Menzies-esque autocratic hold on his government for 11 years. Gillard on the other hand only achieved her position through political assassination of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd and coming within a hair’s breadth of losing the subsequent election. In the circumstances, given how the approval ratings of Gillard and the government in general are rivalling those that were used as justification for Rudd’s removal.

I find it very hard to believe that the unity within the Labour caucus is any better than that which really lay behind Howard’s ‘team’.

Money, hypocrisy and airlines

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
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This Quantas dispute has gotten so out of hand, it simply isn’t funny. And the root of it all is money.

We have a CEO, Allan Joyce, who demanded and received a $2 million dollar pay rise, an increase of some 71%. The total bill for senior executive and Board remunerations increases that passed through the recent Quantas shareholder Annual General Meeting is something like $38 million. I understand that there was considerable opposition to this on the floor of the meeting but it still passed. How? Through the votes from the institutional investors – that are controlled by yet more of the same fat cats.

It is one continual, ridiculous round of grossly over-paid executives all looking after each other at the expense of everyone else. Something has to be done but in all honesty I am not sure what the answer is. Small investors can scream as much as they like but they are still essentially powerless in these large corporations in the face of the large blocs of shares controlled by institutional concerns.

The job of CEO is to keep a company running properly. Yet it seems pretty much every level of the Quantas workforce has disputes with the Quantas management lead by Allan Joyce. In those circumstances it is hard to see how he and the rest of his management team could be considered to be doing his job well at all, let alone justifying a $38 million worth of pay rises.

In what at first glance may seem at first glance to be a knee-jerk reaction, on Saturday Joyce grounded the entire Quantas fleet around the world. But since then it has been reported that plans were in train to organise this late last week such as booking thousands of hotel rooms around the world for the passengers who were about to be stranded. Yet news of those intentions was kept away from concerns such as the Australian Stock Exchange, not to mention the poor sods of passengers who might have been able to make other arrangements.

Talk about heavy-handed overreaction. Are these the actions of a CEO justifying a $2 million pay rise? It should be further noted that the decision to ground the entire fleet was not in response to what had been done by the unions or what was being done, but supposedly because of what they might do.

Documentation has allegedly appeared that shows quite clearly that these plans were in place days ago. Quantas management has claimed that the date on the document in question was a clerical mistake, that there was no decision at all about grounding the fleet until Saturday morning.

Anyone prepared to take a bet that someone within the Quantas organisation will eventually come out and admit that there was no clerical error at all? That the date on the alleged document was quite correct i.e. that Joyce and co simply lied?

The government reaction to this escalation of the Quantas dispute has been to force all parties to appear before the Fair Work Australian commission. Prime Minister Gillard has publicly at least, refused to lay blame but instructed both parties to cease their industrial action and allow the conciliation processes under FWA to take place. This will be a major test of both that legislation and the Prime Ministers authority.

I suspect that Joyce may have now in fact over-played his hand. To continue the poker analogy, he has gone all in, expecting his opponent to fold, only for the other player to call his bet, along with other players joining the game.

It should be further noted that the earlier union industrial action was not an overnight whim. It was the product of lengthy yet failed attempts by the unions to bring the Joyce management to the negotiating table. The spin from Joyce and co about this all being the sole fault of the unions should be disregarded.

The biggest hypocrisy in this whole affair however comes from former Industrial Relations Minister in the Howard government, Peter Reith, who has come out condemning the Prime Minister for forcing Quantas and the unions to the FWA commission, claiming that government should never intervene in such affairs. What? Oh give me a break. This coming from the Minister who was directly involved in the waterfront dispute in the mid-1990s as part of his openly declared intention of breaking the unions. What incredible hypocrisy!

How about a little humility?

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Is it just me or is Julia Gillard’s response to the High Court decision to essentially disallow Australia’s attempt to bypass international treaty obligations with respect to refugees, a case of do it my way or I take my ball and go home. A quick caucus meeting yesterday to to enable the Prime Minister vow to fight on against this decision, making necessary changes to the law.

What a good idea.

Let’s start applying that more widely across the board. Come the NRL grand final, if someone dislikes a call by the ref, let’s hold things up, have a vote and change the rules according to whatever the team in the lead wants them to be. Same thing with tennis. Don’t like the linesperson’s call, then lets have a quick meeting to change the rules to move the line according to whatever the person holding serve at the time wants it to be. It’s about that silly.

At the end of the day, the Australian government is trying to take a position that we should not have to abide by our international treaty obligations at all, at the same time that we expect others to. Sorry Julia, sweetheart – we can’t have our cake and eat it too! Talk about colossal arrogance.

Speaking of tennis, how appalling was Serena Williams’s outburst in the womens’ final of the US Open? After initially boasting that she was going to cruise to a win in the final, once things weren’t going her way, she became an absolute harridan. She was quite rightly docked a point for intentional hindrance for yelling as her opponent, Sam Stoser, was playing a shot. Sorry, Serena, the rules say you can’t do that. But, oh no, Ms Williams decides that the rules don’t apply to her. She abused hell out of the umpire, over and over, not letting go throughout the remainder of the game, using every opportunity to have another go, finally refusing to shake her hand at the end of the match.

The response from officials was to fine Williams a paltry $2,000 US. Big deal. That makes a huge dent into her total winnings of $1.4 million from the tournament, doesn’t it. Back in 2009, Williams was fined some $80,000 for abusive outbursts and placed on probation. Remembering that she hardly plays any tournaments now, deeming anything less than a grand slam tournament as beneath her these days, that probation should have hardly taken hold. But in reality, officialdom has shied away from daring to take the next and quite appropriate step – that of acting on her breach of probation and giving her a ban for a while. Not for a period of time, but for a set number of major tournaments. Make it hurt. Make her realise that the rest of the tennis world is not subservient to her wishes. Nope, officialdom wimps out with not even a slap on the wrist.

Making things even worse was the crowd reaction. On the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon (how easily people forget the latter), the crowd was always going to be behind the hometown ‘hero’. But after Williams’s pathetic display, the crowd got on her side even more, hooting and shouting at Stoser. What an equally pathetic response by the crowd.

Stoser won, as it happens, conducting herself with dignity throughout despite the obvious provocation and I think it clear that not just the better player on the day won, but also the better person.

What a pity that when coaching her at tennis, Serena’s father didn’t coach her in a little humility and humanity at the same time. Perhaps he could have coached Julie Gillard in a little of it at the same time.

Well, it’s happened. Despite appeals from the Prime Minister downwards (appealing to insurance companies to show the same generosity of spirit shown by the community), thieving bastard insurance companies have struck. Then again, who really believed that they would be so generous? Nobody who has ever had to try and deal with the scum.

Unbelievable as it may sound, claims for flood damage are being refused in places like Toowoomba, Queensland, with insurance companies claiming that the floods weren’t actually floods! Huh? Yep. That’s what is being reported in the media. Apparently, massive rains do not create floods. What these thieving bastards are relying on is an insistence that the policy holders were not subject to floods, but to rising river levels which, according to the esteemed insurance assessors, are not in fact floods at all!

Unbelievable. Un-be-fucking-lievable.

Why oh why are insurance companies and banks consistently allowed to write their own rules, answerable to none but their shareholders. This is not what deregulation was about. And what do governments actually do about it? Sweet Fanny Adams. At best, tinkering and nothing more.

David Koch wrote a good piece on the subject recently at The Punch, highlighting the dirty tricks that insurance companies rely on in circumstances such as those being experienced in Queensland, northern New South Wales and Victoria, with the worst still yet to come in some parts of the latter. But how blatant a lie is it to claim that the likes of Toowoomba were not subject to flood???

Here is another one for you. The Victorian town of Newstead was flooded last week. Why? Because during the torrential rain, the relevant water authority thought it would be a really great idea to turn the storm water drains off, meaning they were not emptying into the river system. End result – massive backup of storm water through the streets of this geographically pretty flat town, flooding basically the whole damn place. Who’s going to pay for that damage? It’s an easy out for the insurance companies, “sorry, you’re not covered for bureaucratic idiocy.” Just where on earth did the responsible shit-for-brains think all that water was going to go? Vanish into thin air? Get sucked up by his anal-retention? New Victorian Premier, Ted Ballieu, leaping in front of the flood waters, opening his gigantic mouth and swallowing them up?

It is more than bad enough that so much death, hurt, loss and misery has been suffered, not to mention the long-term economic problems that will result. But should the victims really have to be subjected to yet more heartbreak just in order to keep the financial services sector secure in its multi-billion dollar profits? The problem is we simply do not have a single government with the cojones to stand up and be counted in any meaningful manner. Joe Hockey was and still is pretty good at blustering and posturing about it, but that was it.

One last, irrelevant to the subject, rant. But it’s my blog so I’ll write what I bloody-well want to. Queensland premier, Anna Bligh was out on the flood scene, making heart-felt public statements about the status, announcing more deaths etc. Ex-Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was out in waist-deep water helping recover people’s belongings in his electorate, later throwing a public BBQ open to all comers. Prime Minister Julia Gilliard has been just about anywhere and everywhere, on the ground, meeting the victims. Victorian Premier, Ted Ballieu, a man that I normally consider a total git, has been out at the coalface, gumboots and all. So what have we seen from Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott? Out in his best suit, pulling the hems of his trousers up, tip-toeing through a patch of mud that might, just might, have almost made it to the top of the soles of his shoes. And out of all the main political players, who has tried to make political mileage out of it? You got it, Tony Abbott. Good one, dickhead. Oh alright, yes, yes, Bob Brown from the Greens started jumping up and down, claiming the coal miners were the cause. And the real pity of that was it made Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce actually make sense when responding to Brown. However that is still a little different to Abbott’s blatant attempt to use the Queensland flood to kill off the National Broadband Network, to his obvious political advantage. Arsehole.

Here endeth the rant.

Time check please: 9:37 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, called an election on the weekend. Most pundits were suggesting it would be August 28 which would permit some days for those not currently on the electoral role to get on there. Instead, the poll has been called for August 21. To help those not on the electoral roll a chance to get that sorted, offices of the Australian Electoral Commission were open until 8pm.

So perhaps someone could tell me why, more than an hour-and-a-half after the AEC offices had closed the doors on those extended hours, television stations are still advertising those extended hours. Now unless commercial television stations have suddenly turned into charities, this extra television advertising isn’t being provided for nothing. Just what is being gained by paying for television advertising that informs people that they have actually missed their chance for that last minute registering on the electoral roll?

On the subject of the election, rather than the usual boredom of interminable advertisments, telling us how wonderful one party is and how terrible the others all are, accompanied by footage of smiling pollies wandering the streets, shaking hands with the elderly, kissing babies and all the other stuff that they wouldn’t be caught dead doing any other time, how about we spice things up for a change. Let’s run our election like a reality television program.

Sorry contestants – this week Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Wayne Swan – you’re all in the elimination round. Your task will be to produce a convincing line of spin about why politicians do not get enough allowances, while baking a souffle and changing the baby’s nappies. Whoops – sorry Tony – your souffle is as flat as your policies, wearing Speedos detracted from your presentation and you ended up with baby shit all over your face. You ARE the weakest link, you’re fired, leave the fecking island right now, do not pass Go and do not collect $200.

Surely that would be an improvement on the usual?

UPDATE – Just to make me look like a total dick, their hours have now been extended to Thursday.