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Monday, November 26, 2007


The fond farewells continue for John Howard:

My compatriots have made my day - no, my whole weekend. Nothing could delight me more than to think that the mean-mindedly blokeish regime of John Howard should finally have been booted out.

I happened to be in Sydney during the previous election campaign in 2004, and felt a deep dismay as I saw how effectively Howard had demoralised Australia and weakened its plucky, cheeky spirit.

That’s from UK-based unknown Australian writer Peter Conrad, who believes Australia is controlled by News Ltd. In a reversal of previous trends, other expats are now threatening to return:

John Howard: war mongerer and climate change cynic, presided over an industrial relations policy which crushed the rights of the ‘battlers’ he claimed to be championing. The Liberals ripped the heart out of Australia. Long live Labour. I may just get on that plane and go home.
Floo K, London

Now with labour finally back in power Australia soon might be a place i can bring my familly back to live and embrace again..
craig gaul, chambly quebec, canada

They’ve been away so long they’ve forgotten how to spell “labor”. We don’t need these clowns coming back and reducing our literacy levels.

(Via Colin F. and s.r.intulom)

Posted by Tim B. on 11/26/2007 at 08:03 AM
(52) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, November 25, 2007



Chief Minister Clare Martin said she is looking forward to a partnership with the new Rudd Labor Government.


Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin and her Deputy Syd Stirling have resigned.

UPDATE. Nationals leader Mark Vaile is now stepping down.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 08:45 PM
(188) CommentsPermalink


Actress Toni Collette in 2004, arguing against free trade with the US:

Our children watch TV to learn. If they grow up with American standards and expectations in our relatively naive land, it’ll create such a stifling sense of confusion. They are already eating McDonald’s, drinking Coca-Cola and being swamped by Disney.

We don’t want Australian kids to grow up with American accents.

But three years later:

Toni Collette is considering a move to the United States, depending on the success of a pilot television show she is planning to make with Steven Spielberg.

Collette, who is in the late stages of pregnancy ...

UPDATE. Merlin in the US fears cultural intrusion: “That cute little Bindi Irwin was featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I shook my fist at her angrily for trying to subvert our impressionable youth with her distorted Australian values.”

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 03:06 PM
(101) CommentsPermalink


The Legend of Kevin spreads worldwide:

Australia’s incoming prime minister Kevin Rudd could scarcely have imagined as his penniless family slept in a car during his childhood that one day he would lead the nation.

That famous vehicle - what make? what model? - will be a Queensland roadside attraction any day now; an antipodean counterpoint, perhaps, to Bonnie and Clyde’s death car. Meanwhile, reader Roland reports the appearance of a Big Giant Kevin Monster Head in the UK:

On my way home from work this afternoon in the center of London (the business area, where it’s totally dead on the weekend) I was accosted by Kevin Rudd supporters (two), holding a giant picture of their new supreme leader.

A large floating head not strange enough, they decided to stand in the way of anyone walking down the street. Granted, there were very few people, but it seemed a bit unnecessary.

It only seems unnecessary. All mysteries of Kevinism will eventually be explained. Be patient, earthlings.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 11:27 AM
(119) CommentsPermalink


Environmentalist Toni Vernelli sterilises herself for Gaia:

“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” says Toni, 35.

She’s a PETA-phile, naturally.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 11:19 AM
(47) CommentsPermalink


Important theological news from the Age:

Christian bookshops refuse to stock gay study Bible

This awful intolerance is everywhere. Why, you should have heard what they told me when I asked my local Islamic bookstore for a copy of The Man-On-Man Koran.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 10:43 AM
(27) CommentsPermalink


From the Department of He-Didn’t-Really-Mean-To-Say-That, here’s Nicholas Gruen:

Australian cartoonists are so far and away the best in the world it’s not funny.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 08:36 AM
(8) CommentsPermalink


Pre-election foreboding from the SMH’s Marian Wilkinson:

With the political career of the Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, in jeopardy at today’s election ...

Turnbull, re-elected with an increased vote, is now a chance to become party leader. Events are moving kind of quickly these days.

UPDATE. Yet more pre-election foreboding, this time from profoundly paranoid Graham Bell:

Several times over the past few months, I have said that I expected all sorts of dirty tricks and egregious abuse of power to be used to hinder, delay, postpone or even stop the federal election.

Now, with only 8 hours to go [in Queensland anyway] until the opening the polls, I am truly amazed that a federal election looks iminent. That it has been allowed to get this far is completely out of character for a regime that has stomped all over our traditional rights, duties and protections, that has perverted the parliament, the public service, academia, the armed forces and the judiciary against the interests of the citizenry of Australia.

The “regime” had held three previous elections prior to this one.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/25/2007 at 07:37 AM
(36) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Peter Costello has announced he won’t seek leadership of the Liberal party.

UPDATE. Posted by the Age as Costello was speaking:

There is no danger the Liberal Party will unravel following Saturday’s heavy electoral defeat, its federal director Brian Loughnane says …

Mr Loughnane nominated the parliamentary party’s deputy leader Peter Costello as the person to heal party wounds.

UPDATE II. Imre Salusinszky: “I’m moving to New Zealand.”

Posted by Tim B. on 11/24/2007 at 09:42 PM
(256) CommentsPermalink


ABC reports John Howard has phoned Kevin Rudd to concede defeat. Current predicted Labor margin: 24 seats. Nick Minchin says result is “tragic for us on the conservative side of politics”. Julia Gillard says Howard will be remembered with “respect and affection”.

UPDATE. Jeff Kennett: “Not only are the Democrats gone, but the Greens achieved nothing, after all that effort ...” Not entirely - they did hand over the usual bunch of preferences to their ALP pals. Overall Green vote up only 0.6% on 2004, despite big early numbers.

UPDATE II. Pronounced by Julia Gillard, “ably” contains three syllables. Peter Costello is claiming that, just like Liberal leadership rival Malcolm Turnbull, he’ll achieve an improved vote - against massive national trends.

UPDATE III. John Howard arrives at the Wentworth Hotel to concede.

UPDATE IV. Howard congratulates Rudd on “very emphatic victory”. Says it has been a privilege to be Prime Minister of “this very beautiful country ... the Australian people are the greatest people on earth, and this is the greatest country on earth.” He’s leaving on some perfect notes. Australia will miss this bloke more than it knows. Howard also, as did Mal Brough, urges that Labor support ongoing intervention in wretched Aboriginal areas. Thanks staff for putting up with a “sometimes cantankerous” Prime Minister during the past few months. Lots of smiles. Final words as PM: “I wish the government elected by the people of Australia the very best in the years ahead.” Nick Minchin describes it as “a great speech from a remarkable man.”

UPDATE V. Kevin Rudd advances on the stage in Queensland. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT MUSIC?

UPDATE VI. Rudd: “Today Australia has looked to the future ... we as a nation will move forward ... we will write a new page in our nation’s history.” Promises to “always govern in the national interest”, which is a relief. Vows to “forge consensus” on issues of common interest. Veers towards template campaign speech at midpoint. Thanks “life partner” Therese.

Audience enthusiasm seemed to trail off a few times, particularly when Rudd mentioned “the worst drought Australia has ever suffered” (crowd applauded, hesitantly) and when he described the suffering of a long-time staffer: “He’s had to put up with me for FIVE YEARS!” (crowd applauded, nervously). Phrase “You know what?” used three times. “Working families” once.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/24/2007 at 07:08 AM
(409) CommentsPermalink


Early numbers from Queensland ain’t good; Labor’s Robert Ray believes we may be only 25 minutes from a Labor victory call. For views from what at this point might be the winning side, check the live lefty blogging from Tim Dunlop.

UPDATE. Dani Ecuyer’s share in Wentworth (where the government’s Malcolm Turnbull has improved his vote): 1.0%.

UPDATE II. This week’s column: a loser’s guide to the election, for supporters of both parties. Labor types may feel it irrelevant. Julia Gillard now calling it for Labor. Wild screams in the tally room following latest figures from Bennelong (Maxine McKew ahead on primary votes); Kerry O’Brien looking delighted.

UPDATE III. Seven reports John Howard may concede by 9.00pm.

UPDATE IV. Comments registrations are open! Sign on for post-election commentary chaos.

UPDATE V. Kerry O’Brien: “With 60% of the vote counted, the swing to the ABC is ...” Good call, Kerry. In other accurate announcements, airhead Adelaide candidate Nicole Cornes tells David Koch: “You probably know more than I do.” True, no matter who she was speaking to. Three per cent swing to Cornes, by the way.

UPDATE VI. 22-seat Labor majority predicted by Seven. Nine graphic: “Kevin Rudd wins election!”

UPDATE VII. The reception for Maxine McKew showed just how personal is Labor’s loathing of John Howard. A little graceless, it was.

UPDATE VIII. Greens leader Bob Brown just mentioned the need to direct our economy “away from burning forests”. In point of fact, the burning forest sector of our economy is rather small. Brown also predicts a Labor flip on that Tasmanian pulp mill, supported during the election campaign by Rudd and Peter Garrett. Saint: “I am thinking about how I dislike the Greens more each time I hear Bob Brown speak.”

UPDATE IX. It would be interesting to know what Mark Latham is thinking tonight, given his hatred of Howard is just about equal to his hatred of Rudd.

UPDATE X. Excellent concession speech from Mal Brough, including a plea that Kevin Rudd persist with intervention in troubled Aboriginal communities.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/24/2007 at 05:14 AM
(207) CommentsPermalink


Polls now closed in Tasmania, Victoria, and NSW; Andrew Bolt calls it for Labor on the basis of exit polls.

UPDATE. ABC’s Jim Middleton reports massive confidence among Laborites, gloom among Libs.

UPDATE II. Jackie Kelly on Seven’s Fun-O-Rama coverage appears to be wearing snails on her ears. Informative Seven graphic: “All 150 House of Representative seats are up for grabs.” Joe Hockey mentions police were called to a couple of booths in his North Sydney seat.

UPDATE III. Senator Helen Coonan on Nine: “It’s not looking good ... it is disappointing.” Wayne Swan: “What we may have tonight is the revolt of the pendulum.” Very loud cheering in background of Nine’s broadcast.

UPDATE IV. The early Green vote in NSW seems enormous; nobody has mentioned it as yet.

UPDATE V. Early swing against the government of 10% in Jackie Kelly’s old seat. Seven just deployed a Dancing Kevin graphic. ABC-Labor’s McKew leading in Bennelong after 3% of votes counted. The other ABC-Labor candidate, Mike Bailey, trailing narrowly in North Sydney.

UPDATE VI. Malcolm Turnbull said to be improving his vote in the fightin’ fields of Wentworth. Seven Labor pundit - little bald guy; missed his name - predicts Labor gain in NSW of 6-7 seats.

UPDATE VII. According to projections on Nine, Labor now needs nine more seats to win (instant update: just moved back to ten) (instant update II: now back to nine, then eight). Joe Hockey: “Watch Western Australia. Watch Western Australia.”

UPDATE VIII. Seven’s Koch now says Howard is “gone” in Bennelong - 5.5% of vote counted, according to ABC. “It’s an incredible concept to get your head around,” says Kerry O’Brien.

UPDATE IX. Nine now claiming Labor needs just four more seats for victory. ABC report very slow counts in Queensland and South Australia; chads? Mia Handshin ahead in Sturt!

Posted by Tim B. on 11/24/2007 at 03:19 AM
(168) CommentsPermalink


Drama in Wentworth:

Award winning journalist Caroline Overington hurled abuse at Labor candidate for Wentworth George Newhouse before slapping him across the face at a polling station in Sydney’s east, witnesses say.

Whoa! And down in Melbourne, an enraged Labor voter apparently attempted to run down Age reporter John Elder after arguing with Liberal campaign workers.

UPDATE. Slapping denied:

Ms Overington “admitted pushing him away with an open hand when he approached her, later apologised for that and said she regretted there had been any further contact with the candidate”.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/24/2007 at 01:45 AM
(43) CommentsPermalink

Friday, November 23, 2007


Polls are getting tight:

The survey of around 2,600 people to be published in The Australian on Saturday still showed centre-left Labor ahead in support, but only by 52 percent compared to 48 for Howard’s 11-year-old conservative government.

Pollsters said the survey, which came a week after a Newspoll showed former diplomat Rudd ahead by a winning eight-point lead, reflected a major shift in the key states of Queensland and Western Australia.

The tension is too great for some Rudd fans, who’ve joined the leave-Australia threatfest:

If Beige Howard wins this election, I will have lost all faith in the political system and in the intelligence of the average Australian voter.

I hear that New Zealand is a nice place to live…

Another threatfester made her vow to the great Rudd himself:

“I’m so sick of John Howard’s lies and John Howard’s arrogance,” she told Mr Rudd.

“I’m going to leave the country if you don’t get in.”

But Labor voter Victor Protheron, who met Rudd at the same supermarket, was underwhelmed:

“I didn’t know he shakes hands like a girl ...”

UPDATE. The Environmental Republican asks:

If Howard wins, please don’t allow any of the Ruddites to come to America, I beg of you.

Don’t worry, friend; America would only be a transit point en route to Canada.

Posted by Tim B. on 11/23/2007 at 01:27 PM
(216) CommentsPermalink


Concert clothing cop Marieke Hardy attends her mother’s community singalong:

My mother’s gospel choir - plus other songstrel folk - participated in guerilla group singing in the middle of Melbourne. They took their message from the steps of the State Library, to the GPO, to Federation Square, and Flinders Street Station. Uninvited.

Everywhere they went, they stood as one and sang with one voice: Vote the bastards out. Vote them out. Vote the bastards out.

Gospel choirs sure have changed.

People stopped and stared. Some joined in. Others hollered support. There was electricity in the air.

Electricity in the air? In central Melbourne? That would be the overhead tram lines.

I cried at one point.

Only one?

Posted by Tim B. on 11/23/2007 at 01:19 PM
(38) CommentsPermalink
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