Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The big #spill

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'd wager that its a pretty safe bet (to continue the gambling theme) that Gillards "lady bits" are unlikely to be the main rationale behind the ALP's strategy in replacing an increasingly unpopular and potentially election losing PM with the current (and relatively popular) deputy prime minister...

    You might be right -- though I'm sure BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are well pleased that Gillard wasted no time in rolling over and playing dead.

    Incoming prime minister Julia Gillard has pledged to cancel the government's $38 million advertising campaign aimed at countering the mining sector’s anti-tax ads in return for co-operation in discussions from the industry.

    In her first press conference as Labor leader, she asked for the mining industry to cancel their ads in response as a sign of “good faith.”

    Ms Gillard said Australians have a right to the revenues generated from mining but more consultation on the proposed resources super-profits tax was needed with the industry.

    She promised to throw open the doors of the government to industry for consultation, if the mining sector throws open its “mind” to the views of the government.

    Gillard can't be that naive, can she?

    Now, who wants to bet that, as we speak, the Labour Party right are figuring out how far they can water down any carbon tax legislation while still keeping a straight face?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • GLaird,

    No doubt Craig - the millions the mining companies have spent on advertising in pretty much every medium you can imagine has returned a big payout for them this time.

    But then the mining companies had time on their side this time with an election looming and the ALP was looking at a hammering in the polls if they couldnt nullify the millions of dollars of free advertising the liberals are getting from the anti-mining tax lobby so close to an election and they've just shown how badly they want to win this election.

    Sydney • Since Oct 2009 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But then the mining companies had time on their side this time with an election looming and the ALP was looking at a hammering in the polls if they couldnt nullify the millions of dollars of free advertising the liberals are getting from the anti-mining tax lobby so close to an election and they've just shown how badly they want to win this election.

    In that case, Gillard needs to front up to the electorate and tell them how watered-down her promised carbon tax legislation will be if industry lobbyists haul arse and run another dishonest multi-million dollar smear campaign before the election. Or the ALP could grow a pair, do the hard yards and try to win an actual policy argument with actual voters instead of being a bakery full of poll-driven fruitcakes.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Me, I'm eagerly awaiting the loud exploding sound from the bursting of Tony Abbott's bubble when she gets stuck into him back in Canberra and the LibNats lose the October election.

    CR: As for the guts, one does wish the LibNats could have exhibited some in ditching the Poison Dwarf before 2007 made it academic...

    CY

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As for the guts, one does wish the LibNats could have exhibited some in ditching the Poison Dwarf before 2007 made it academic...

    By "before 2007 made it academic" I presume you mean "before those stupid peasants went to the polls and changed the government (and Prime Minister) all by themselves". What silly radical ideas are you going to come up with next?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    I've had a terrible Led Zeppelin earworm

    Same band, different earworm.

    Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move
    Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
    Oh, oh, child, way you shake that thing
    Gonna make you burn, gonna make you sting.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    RuddRolled..

    Australia......Rudderless.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1497 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    The real relevance to NZ politics is that some in the NZLP will look to how Abbott revived the bloated corpse of the Liberal Party, and wonder whether someone (i.e., Cunliffe) might do the same for them.

    But whoever it is has to be able to pull off those budgiesmuggler photo ops.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    NSW Labour lost Penrith last weekend with a 25% shift away from them which is huge. Whilst to a certain degree there were local issues at stake ( an MP fiddling parliamentary expenses) and an unpopular state government, all the pundits are saying that the asylum seeker issue is really hurting them in places like Western Sydney. The flip flop on emissions trading really hurt them with its green leaning labour educated base too. Then there was the mining tax as Che says.

    I'd not directly connect Penrith with Rudd though. State issues largely determined the outcome of this State by-election.

    I agree with the various commenters here that identify the mining tax as an issue, but that's not eroded core support, only the support of the middle Rudd won from Howard last election. I agree his core support was being eaten away by the decision on the CPRS (though he rightfully pointed out he took that to parliament three times). It seems in the end though, Labor's factions killed him not least of all because he didn't have one.

    I'm really troubled by the emergence of refugees as an election issue. I live in Australia, but living in the inner west of Sydney gives me no perspective on Australian politics since the place is crawling with Liberals and Progressives - imagine Grey Lynn or Kingsland and you've just about got it.

    What's worrying though is that Labor changed leader when they really didn't need too. Rudd's support and Labor's primary vote were not nearly so bad and a decent campaign could've won them back some of the support they were losing. I don't dislike Gillard and I didn't much like Rudd, but I despise fervent factionalism and the tendency to panic that's all too often associated with left wing politics.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • David Mir,

    The way I see it, two things fucked Rudd in the end. The first is that he's just not very likeable or charismatic. His calm, reasonable slightly nerdy persona worked fine as an anti-Howard (which is all that was needed to win the election), but he's no good at inspiring or selling potentially unpopular policy, especially in the face of the rabid Aussie media. The second is the mining tax. The extent of the smear campaign launched by the mining lobby is staggering-EVERY ad break features highly emotive ads telling us how the the tax is about to fuck over WORKING AUSTRALIANS. And in places like where I am now (whyalla, a steel/iron ore town in SA) the public have swallowed it wholesale.
    It really is a triumph of bullying and spin over substance.
    A couple more things- I doubt most of the public cares that much about the refugee issue no matter how the media and opposition whip it up. And Tony Abbot deserves zero credit for the Libs fortunes- in fact I'd say if Turnbull or Hockey were in charge the Libs would waltz in, but a BIG chunk of the population still hate Abbott.

    Sydney • Since Jan 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    She promised to throw open the doors of the government to industry for consultation, if the mining sector throws open its “mind” to the views of the government.

    Gillard can't be that naive, can she?

    I beg to differ. I think that's brilliant politics.

    She's pointed at the elehphant in the room and taken an action, if only a symbolic one, in withdrawing the government's mining ads and inviting the mining lobby to do the same. The mining industry will look churlish in the extreme if it doesn't reciprocate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Update: BHP has responded and canned its advertising campaign.

    That'll lower the temperature right there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I beg to differ. I think that's brilliant politics.

    I agree that it's brilliant electoral politics for the ALP who'd rather not have a contentious policy debate in election season. Whether Gillard's done jack shit for those "Aussie battlers" who pick up the tab for the mining industry's idea of a "fairer taxation environment" -- and will keep doing do while the 'consultation' is dragged out as far into the next electoral cycle as possible -- is open to question.

    And how much of this consultation do you think is going to be conducted openly and transparently where the plebs can see? Based on the mining industry's previous form, their definition of "good faith" don't go that far and Gillard should be asked some hard questions about whether she's anything more than the same old bullshit with a new ribbon on the box.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Which she is. Although bullshit is pretty harsh, as both her and Rudd are quite remarkable Australians ; )

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    I reckon Rudd's demise came down to this:

    1. No real power base in the ALP; and a tendency to centralise power which made him unpopular with many MPs.

    ...which would have mattered much except that:

    2. There were policy stuff-ups (particularly the insulation thing), which tarnished his image.

    3. And the climb down on climate change, which punctured his aire of invincibility.

    4. And immigration raised its ugly political head again.

    ...which still wouldn't have mattered that much except that:

    5. Labor started tanking in the polls.

    ...which still wouldn't have been enough to finish him off had he not:

    6. Picked a tactically disastrous fight with the mining companies (which isn't to say the tax isn't good policy) and made a hash of it too.

    7. Been so terrible on the defense on TV in recent weeks. Really poor - sounds whiney and inept.

    8. While Ms Gillard has been pretty impressive.

    Put all of these together and with an impending election and - wham you get an incredible reversal of political fortune.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Thanks Terence.

    Clearly the key to great polling (and presumed electoral success) is to open your country up to mining, and demand next-to-nothing in return.

    Who would have picked Brownlee as such a master political operative?

    Eventually Key will have to be on the defensive about something, and the media won't simply lap up anything that happens to blurt out of his mouth ... but don't hold your breath.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interesting post about Gillard by Mike Smith, on The Standard.

    The Left narrative is already set, by the look of the comments: she's a dirty corporate sellout. I/S's verdict is that she is "tainted from the start" after seeking to start again on the mining tax.

    Presumably, it would have been better to have accelerated towards the brick wall.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Presumably, it would have been better to have accelerated towards the brick wall.

    That's silly, Russell. It might have been better if the mining industry hadn't been sent such a clear message that flat out deceptive scare campaigns work. And, as I said, given that industry's previous form there's entirely justifiable scepticism whether people like 'Twiggy' Forrest have the same definition of "good faith" and "fair taxation" as the rest of us. Sure looks to me like they're the usual "free market red in tooth and claw for thee, corporate welfare for me" boardroom hypocrites who don't like regulation and hate paying their taxes.

    I hope I'm wrong and Gillard isn't going to turn out to be an abject doormat, but forgive me for not feeling over confident at this point.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    From my time in Oz I got the impression that Australians are very easily scared politically. It was quite a weird feeling that they talk so tough, but are such sooks about some things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I hope I'm wrong and Gillard isn't going to turn out to be an abject doormat, but forgive me for not feeling over confident at this point.

    Before she was even sworn in she got BHP to withdraw its advertising campaign and they're talking. What would you have done?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    Clearly the key to great polling (and presumed electoral success) is to open your country up to mining, and demand next-to-nothing in return.

    No. Clearly the key to winning an election is not to pick a fight with a uber-powerful lobby (their ads have been playing more or less non stop on telly here) when you're already hemorrhaging in the polls. It was good policy but bad politics at this particular moment. A year ago he could have pulled it off.

    And just to reiterate - the mining tax wasn't everything. See the other 7 points above.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What would you have done?

    Seriously? Run the fucking ads -- taken every opportunity to call out the mining industry as the real threat to Australian jobs and prosperity who are stone cold liars. Seriously, I find it hard to believe the mining industry ones I've seen (and I don't know if they're at all typical) would pass muster with the BSA on this side of the ditch.

    Go on the front foot and asked Australian workers if they really want to be "competitive" with nations where wages are piss-poor, and working conditions are literally deadly; if it's actually fair that working families in Western Australia are expected to pay for corporate welfare with their taxes.

    Hell, Julia Gillard is supposed to be such a wonderful communicator. She's not incapable of hitting the campaign trail and saying every minute of every day "The Australian Labour Party is for working families not corporate welfare, and everyone shouldering their share of their bill. The ALP believes that's the Aussie way. How about you?"

    I'm sure everyone is duly shocked hearing this commie rhetoric coming from the house right-winger, but I take the free market seriously enough to believe corporates don't get to have it both ways. You don't like dry heat, don't sign a damn thing the devil gives you. You extol the virtues of a free market, then you live (and die) by the same creed you preach to others or get the fuck off my lawn.

    Rant over -- it's Friday, had a generally shitty week, need to do something de-stressive and fun before I burst a blood vessel all over someone. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Seriously? Run the fucking ads -- taken every opportunity to call out the mining industry as the real threat to Australian jobs and prosperity who are stone cold liars.

    And that was working so well.

    But do you really think anyone could go out and argue for the mining industry as "a threat to Australian jobs and prosperity" with a straight face? They're dirty capitalists, but it's hard to see them as a threat to prosperity.

    And to be honest, I think governments spending large piles of taxpayers' money on straight-up advocacy campaigns for their own policies is a bit whiffy.

    Hell, Julia Gillard is supposed to be such a wonderful communicator. She's not incapable of hitting the campaign trail and saying every minute of every day "The Australian Labour Party is for working families not corporate welfare, and everyone shouldering their share of their bill. The ALP believes that's the Aussie way. How about you?"

    Well, what she did say was:

    "Australians are entitled to a fairer share of our inheritance – the mineral wealth that lies in our ground"

    And now the Queensland Resources Council has withdrawn its campaign too. Do you really not think that taking tens of millions of dollars of attack advertising out of play helps her enormously?

    I'm sure everyone is duly shocked hearing this commie rhetoric coming from the house right-winger, but I take the free market seriously enough to believe corporates don't get to have it both ways. You don't like dry heat, don't sign a damn thing the devil gives you. You extol the virtues of a free market, then you live (and die) by the same creed you preach to others or get the fuck off my lawn.

    It's an arbitrary new supertax on all returns over 6% on capital. Regardless of its merits as policy, I'm confused as to how it represents the free market.

    Now quick: de-stress! Personally, I'm going to Renkon for lunch and doing bugger-all else after, until I meet up with the Media7 crew later.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    That was weird: Craig and Russell appear to have Freaky Friday'd themselves.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2398 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    is Australia catching up with New Zealand?
    Now they have a childless female leader...
    can other parities be far away?
    (obviously that's parity in the "equality" sense
    not the "having borne children" sense...)

    screwing miners...
    the whole tit-for-tat ad campaign
    doesn't bode well for NZ's proposed
    venture into wealth by further mining...

    "Australians are entitled to a fairer share of our inheritance – the mineral wealth that lies in our ground"

    if Australia thinks they aren't getting
    a big enough bite of their mining
    industry - National is dreaming if they
    think we'll do any better...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

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