I had a Gi Joe when I was a kid …. yes I played with dolls! And I had an Action Jackson too. One of them, Joe or Jackson – I cant remember, had a rip cord. Oldies like me will remember the toys that had a piece of string with a white ring on the end. You pulled this string and the toys would say things.  In a robotic voice the toys would say things like, “YOU – ARE – IN – DANGER” or “ACTION -JACKSON -IS- MY- NAME- BOLD- ADVENTURE- IS- MY- GAME”  After a time the string would break. Secretly Joe used to find his way into my sisters Barbies and get naughty – just like on Number 96 … SHHHHHHH that’s my secret.

Tony Abbot reminds me a lot of Action Jackson. He has the same firm jaw line … his hair, even his chest hair, is never out of place even after swimming 200 kms and cycling for another 15  000.  And I swear he has a rip cord tucked away in his Speedos. Pull it and he will repeat verbatim –  “I promise to end the waste, to pay back the debt. To stop the big new taxes and to stop the boats.”  What fun, lets do that again RRIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPP – “I promise to end the waste, to pay back the debt. To stop the big new taxes and to stop the boats.” ONE MORE TIME – RRRRRRIIIIIIIPPPPPP – “I promise to end the waste, to pay back the debt. To stop the big new taxes and to stop the boats.” WOOOOO HOOOOO!

Julia is of course GI Julia – She has a rip cord too. Pull Julia’s cord and you will hear Peter Costello’s  mocking voice saying, “Merving Ferward” making fun of her apparent nasally tones. This is her catch cry and it means MOVING FORWARD.  Julia will be talking about something or other, usually about Tony Abbott and his love affair with Work Choices. Julia will say, “Tony Abbott is determined to bring back Work Choices and he will stop Australia ….”  At this point one of her staffers will pull her rip cord RRRRRIIIIIIPPPP and she will say – ” … Merving Ferward”  Or she will be claiming credit for Australia weathering the global financial crisis – “Labor’s economic policy has seen Australia have the lowest debt in the Western World. Because of Labor Australia is …..”  – RRRRRRIIIIIPPPPPP – “.. Merving Ferward.”

I for one am fed up with our politicians treating us like Morons. Everything is stage managed and detail is limited. It is not too much to expect our politicians give us credit for intelligence. They can kiss all the babies they want, they can fillet fish, wear hard hats, swim to Tasmania and have touched up photo shoots in Women’s Weekly – All I want is to know the detail. Give me that and I will know which way to vote. At the moment I just see these two stage managed puppets with no personality. It is looking more and more like its the donkey. Donkey for PM I say !

My Mate Tony

I met Tony Abbott once in his office at Parliament House in Canberra. Kevin Rudd had recently come to power and Tony had been shafted to the backbench. He was the shadow minister for employment and community services or something other.  I went to talk with him about employment issues for Deaf and hearing impaired people. He is nothing like he comes across on television. I actually found him quite engaging.

Prior to meeting Tony we had gone to meet Brendan O’Connell (or was it O’Connor) the minister responsible for employment who was in the middle of a national disability consultation about employment issues. Brendan got stuck in question time and we got to meet his staff.  The staff were nice enough and listened to us but offered nothing constructive. They just nodded and noted basically. They were more concerned with making sure their minister didn’t make a cock up.

It was quite fascinating really because Parliament House has televisions everywhere. These televisions beam question time to the offices of Parliament House. Brendan was about to speak and when he did our interview was suspended while the staffers watched him and took notes. They made off hand comments about his style and I swear they rolled their eyes a few times. Presumably because Brendan did not stick to the script.

After meeting Brendan’s staffers we made our way to Tony’s office. Tony was late. He too had been held up in question time. Apparently the Liberals had moved a vote of no confidence in Ruddy and it was a case of all hands on deck. After about half an hour Tony strolled in. He apologised profusely, “..It’s a mad house in there.”, he said.  He asked to be excused while he attended to some, ” .. Personal needs.” (His exact words.)

After a short time he came back and shook our hands. It became apparent what his personal needs had been as his hands were still a little bit wet. He gave a new meaning to the term – a wet handshake. He led us into his office which was immaculate and on the walls were adorned some wonderful Australian paintings. He organised coffee, sat down, placed his feet on his coffee table – (where you could see the hairy gap between his trousers and socks), placed his hands behind his head, leaned back and asked us to make ourselves comfortable.

Being the cheeky sod that I am I asked if I could put my feet up too. He chuckled and said, “… sure!” It is about here that I warmed to him. I warmed more to him during our talk. Why? Simply because he did not patronise us. If we  said something like, for example, deaf people need lifelong access to hearing aids and repairs he would question us. “Why should you get that while others do not get free access to spectacles?” or “How will that be paid for in terms of a budget that must meet the needs of carers?”  He did not promise anything.  He listened, he challenged and he questioned. In short I felt he treated me like an equal. He did not just smile patronisingly and feign interest. He WAS interested and he engaged in discussion and debate. I liked that.

Now last week my mate Tony caused an uproar. He apparently made light of the cinema access issues that we have all fought for so hard over the last few months. I was contacted by Bill Shorten’s office and told that Tony had called the issue of cinema access WAFFLE. A media release was to go out and we were asked to support the media release.

This is fine, but the problem I have with this is that it is not what Tony said at all. Tony had actually been talking with Laurie Oakes on Sunday morning television. At the bottom of this article there is a link to the interview.  Poor  Tony had been torn to shreds by Oakes.  Oakes made Tony look like a man who changed his mind at will to suit his need for power and Tony was totally unconvincing in his responses.  BUT … he did not call cinema access waffle!

What Tony had been talking about was of question time being wasted. He was suggesting that ministers chew up question time to make themselves look good. They waffle on to promote themselves or avoid answering questions. Tony wanted answers to questions to be more controlled and to the point. He wants real debate to happen in Parliament, not just waffle and old men and women yelling at each other.

Below is a transcript of his offending statement:

“.. The problem in Parliament Laurie is that all people see is Question Time, and Question Time is basically adults, responsible adults, shouting at each other. It’s not a good look and it doesn’t actually enhance our system of Government. So what I want to do is to try to get away from the ferocious adversarial partisanship of Question Time, and one way to do that or — to help do that, is to limit the length of ministerial answers, to limit the length of questions. To try to ensure that the answer is directly relevant to the question. And to make sure that we go straight out of Question Time into the matter of public importance debate without waffly ministerial statements on things like the accessibility of cinemas. So I will change or I will seek to have the standing orders changed.”

Now make of that what you will but my interpretation is that ministers should not big wig themselves on things like cinema accessibility and I fully agree. By all means call it progress, by all means publicly praise the people involved and celebrate it but do it in a bipartisan way that does not try to score political points to help with re-election.

Not having seen what was said in Parliament about cinema access I cant really pass judgement on the minister. But having watched question time often I can tell you that ministers are full of themselves with their answers to planted questions from their colleagues. In my mind I can imagine a backbencher getting up to ask an obviously rehearsed question, “.. and can the minister explain what is happening with cinema access …” Whereupon the minister answers the question in a way that makes it look like it was central to Government policy since time began and that those nasty Liberals don’t know what they are doing.

Tony’s mistake was touching on a disability issue and being seen to make light of it. In my view he did not.  He was actually talking about something completely different. Unfortunately it looked like he was making light of the issue and his political foes pounced on it. They took what Tony said way out of context and blew it out of proportion. I for one thought it was all quite shambolic. To his credit Tony saw the error of his statement and apologised. I wonder if his political foes will apologise for using us all to score cynical political points. Some how I doubt it.

Let us make one thing clear, I have never voted Liberal and never will. I once voted Democrats many a year ago but I vote Labor or I vote nothing. It is not a particularly socially responsible way to vote but that’s the way 80 percent of us vote. We have an alliance and we stick to it. BUT I believe in fairness and I think Tony was hard done by in this instance.  Call me naive but it is the principle of the matter. All is fair in love and war they say but in this case I think the response was over the top and demonstrated everything that is wrong with politics today.


Election Time – Who Do you Barrack For?

That bloody Abbott!!!  He is a bloody moron. He wants to bring back Work Choices.  Work Choices is a shocker! I mean the bosses can sack you if they feel like it! If your nose is too big they can just make up some excuse  and you’re out the door. You vote for Abbott and I can tell ya now… Work choices will be back. ITS BAD! 

That bloody Gillard … she is a crock of sh@t. Look what her and bloody Labor have done to the economy. Australia  is broke! We have no money to pay for anything.  Gillard and Labor couldn’t organise themselves to get out of a paper  bag I tell ya. 100 million smackeroos a day we gotta pay cos of those dimwits. What’s more you cant trust the woman. Bloody backstabber. Look what she did to Ruddy. What a frigging disgrace.

You think Gillard’s bad? Well I tell ya if Abbott gets in all the bloody teenage girls at school will be pregnant. He is a catholic you know. Contraception will be banned .. Sex before marriage will be outlawed. Abbott will make all the women stay at home. AND blow me down!!! All the kids will have to read the bible in the morning. What about if your a Muslim. He will just send em back home. JAYSUS he will send us back to the 17th century!!

And Gillard FFS! She wants to let all the boats in. She reckons she is trying to find a way to keep em out. BOLLOCKS. She just wants them to stop over in Timor so they can be cleaned and fed before they come to Australia!!  Processing centre??? Oh! – Don’t come the raw  prawn with me. It’s just a stop over and they will rubber stamp nearly all of em. The odd unlucky one will be sent home to give their so called system some credibility! Abbott will stop the boats .. mark my words the Liberals did it before.  Labor PBFFFTTTT – bloody bunch of nursemaids the lot of em..

And did you hear what Abbott will do for cinema captioning – you know he says its WAFFLE – said so in the paper today. Cinema captioning is a waste of time! If Abbott gets in  none of the captioning stuff we won will get through. He wont care! He will chuck it out. He ain’t gonna waste time and money on us I tell ya. HE SAID IT WAS WAFFLE! Got a screw lose that bloke has!

Labor and climate change policy!! Oh pull the other one. Did ya know Labor have done a deal with the Greens … That bunch of hippy  loonies! Bob Brown will be the Deputy PM if we vote LABOR. STREWTH if you vote Labor you wont even be able to cut a tree down in the back yard! You’ll have to fill  bloody form in the size of a Harry Potter book! And anyway what climate change. You cant tell me the worlds getting hotter. It’s bloody freezing in Melbourne and we have had so much rain I am expecting Noah any moment now.  Yeah – another bloody boat – that’s just what we NEED!

And it goes on and on and on. Everyone has a view of Abbott and Gillard it seems. But who really knows? is Gillard’s $12 ooo  early intervention policy for kids with a disability better than Abbott’s $20 000. Who knows the detail of the policy. Perhaps the reality of Gillard’s policy is that it will be so full of red tape that no-one will know what they are entitled too. Perhaps so few people will be eligible for Abbott’s $20 000 in intervention support that Gillard’s program actually pays more. DO YOU KNOW? I certainly don’t! I haven’t looked at the policy in detail. But mark my words the average voter will have already decided without even knowing the detail of the policy.

You see in Australia we vote for political parties like we barrack for football teams. No matter how bad or good a Government is most of us never change our vote. There are a bunch of swinging voters that make the change each election and sometimes people are convinced that a Government has just become boring so we will give the other mob a go. VERY VERY VERY few know the details. They will believe everything that they read in the paper that makes the team that they support look good. Gillard releases a $12 000 disability policy and the next day Abbott releases a $20 000 one. One group will say Gillard’s is better and that Abbotts has just put his policy out to try and look better, Go LABOR!. The next group will say $ 20 000 – that’s $8 000 more than Labor – Go LIBERALS!

And thats how we vote. We chose a team and we stick with it. We claim to know the detail but very few of us do. Abbott says we are broke one day and the next the Reserve  Bank comes out and says that Australias debt is the lowest among comparable countries and we are relatively health. Gillard will come out the  next day and say – “SEE – we know how to run the economy.” – then Abbott will come out and say – ” See cos the Liberals were so good the last time in Government the Australian economy is in tip top shape, just watch Labor muck it up!”  And of course most of us will hang off every word depending on who we barrack for.

ME – I just get on with it.  I vote Labor cos me dad did. If I don’t like Labor at the time, then the voting slip makes a good drawing pad EYYYYEEE OOOORRR.  It’s all a bit of a joke really – isn’t it?? At least I am honest about it – ARE YOU??