#tonyabbott

ABC goes bananas but slips up on cold truths that split the narrative

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On March 18,  CM wrote about the gross inefficiencies at the ABC, which have rapidly deteriorated over time. We said,

Since 2008, the average salary of ABC’s staff has risen 25% from $86,908 to $108,408. Total staff numbers have risen from 4499 to 4769. Therefore salaries as a percentage of the ABC revenues have risen from 37.1% of the budget to 50%. The ABC’s ability to generate sales from content has fallen from A$140mn to A$70mn last year. The multicultural SBS has seen its budget grow from A$259mn in 2008 to A$412mn in 2017. SBS staff numbers have grown from 844 to 1,466 over the same period with average salaries rising from A$82,689 to A$88,267 or 7.2%. Which begs the question why is the SBS able to operate at 31% of the budget in salaries while the ABC is at 50%? Surely the ABC’s economies of scale should work in its favour? Clearly not.

According to The Australian, in response to the budget cuts coming over the following three years,  the ABC responded today with,

The ABC says there is “no more fat to cut” following the federal government’s announcement to slash $84 million in funding from the public broadcaster…News director Gaven Morris has hit back at the three-year funding freeze announced in Tuesday’s federal budget, which maintains more than $1 billion a year for the broadcaster.

“Make no mistake, there is no more fat to cut at the ABC. Any more cuts to the ABC cut into the muscle of the organisation…We’re as efficient as we’ve ever been…We’re the most minutely scrutinised media organisation in Australia…$84 million over three years, there is simply no way we can achieve that without looking at content creation and certainly looking at jobs within the organisation.”

Well perhaps if the ABC stop airing radical feminists who demand that parents seek approval from their babies when changing nappies or called conservative politicians who served in the military as “c*nts” perhaps it might justify for more budget.

It is a pretty simple. Online media pretty much allows such a wide array of choice that we do not need a taxpayer funded media (which readily breaches its code of conduct with regards to political bias) to provide so much content.

We have multiple ABC TV & radio stations plus multiple websites. One could argue for one each. We certainly do not need to give the ABC more money to expand its platforms to make up for a shortfall in quality content to arrest declining market shares.

Turnbull should Google ‘common sense’

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UK PM Theresa May Maybe an uninspiring speaker and weak political figure given her dreadful stewardship over Brexit, yet she still deserves to be shown respect by her fellow leaders. Australian PM Turnbull clearly had some dead time during May’s CHOGM speech to send some emails and text messages. Turnbull is void of common sense. There is zero chance the Turnbull Coalition can win the next election.

CM attended a Liberal Party function yesterday and local membership is dwindling. The average age of those that attended was 60+. The issues raised by the audience were a slowdown of immigration followed by daylight then electricity prices. Yet Turnbull’s Coalition is all about issues that conservatives aren’t focused on. Throwing his ministers under a bus and championing that he’s less worse than the opposition.

 

Alitalia – what is it with airlines and government support?

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Last Friday Italy extended a bridge loan for Alitalia, which is in special administration as plans for it are determined by the state.  Italy’s cabinet has  passed an emergency decree to add a further 300 million euros on top of the 600 million euros it made to the ailing airline in May. It has extended the deadline for the repayment of the loan from November 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018.

Airlines are perhaps one of the worst industries as an investment one can find. High fixed costs, variable fuel prices, volatile economic cycles and intense competition. Yet with all of this, governments see them as national icons. Losing the flag carrier is viewed by some governments as a sign of economic impotence.

Several years ago, Japan Airlines went through a state-funded rehabilitation where the airline was able to overhaul its fleet while its legitimately profitable and unassisted competitor All Nippon Airways (ANA) got nothing. In the reverse poor old ANA was effectively taxed as its biggest rival got free kick after free kick from the government.

Qantas reported a $235 million loss in the last half of 2013 and cut 5000 employees to save the company $2 billion. The government was pressured to give state aid to prop up the airline but then PM Tony Abbott said, “because we do not want to be in the business of subsidising any single enterprise. It’s not sustainable in the long term”. So Qantas didn’t get help in 2014 and the airline has since rebounded and recently compensated its CEO Alan Joyce over $24mn as the shares have stormed 6x since the lows of 3 years ago. Most of the 5,000 let go have been recovered.

Which begs the question of state subsidies. When looking at Australia once again the state spent billions over decades to defend a bloated, inefficient and uncompetitive car industry. Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, Toyota, GM Holden and Ford all closed local auto making opps. When businesses are subsidized, the necessity to reform is numbed. There is less need to get fit and look for efficiencies to get off the taxpayers’ teat. So even after 20 years and $12 billion spent to protect 45,000 jobs, all makers packed up and went home. Would have been better to write each worker a $250,000 cheque.

Of course some will argue that protecting jobs is a noble quest. Nobody likes seeing people unemployed. However if the rest of the world can make the same products cheaper and more efficiently why should consumers and taxpayers be forced to prop up those who won’t make the effort to reform.

Alitalia is yet another one of these businesses that is in the citizen’s pockets. If KLM and Air France can pair, Lufthansa and Swissair can join why shouldn’t Etihad back the initial investment it made in Italy’s national carrier. Another Loan is Time-warped, All Logic Is Abandoned.

57% want him to stay

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How much value do we put in polls nowadays? A left leaning paper like The Guardian likely asked the question in the refectory of a university campus between sociology and philosophy lectures. Having said that the latest news on a Tony Abbott challenge to PM Malcolm Turnbull is spooking the media. Best crank up the “everyone hates you” and “”why don’t you just quit” rhetoric to try to pressure ministers and liberal back benchers to keep Turnbull there. Still the Guardian doesn’t report 57% want him to stay  43% want him to quit!

It is hard not to be amused (but appalled) at the recent gaffes. From Christopher Pyne’s cheap shot address saying the conservative left is in charge and gay marriage (this piece isn’t arguing the rights and wrongs) was going to happen quicker than everyone thinks (i.e. An election promise would be happily broken) to Turnbull saying he’d quit politics if ousted as leader. Turnbull was really trying to give Abbott a hint to return to a life outside politics at the same time threatening his flunkies to tow the line because a by-election in his seat would see the Libs lose the one seat majority they have. Treasurer Scott Morrison talks as if the public has no idea how cordial and united the party is under Turnbull when everyone knows better.

The main problem with the “Turnbull Coalition” (evidence enough it’s all about him) is that it is Labor Party lite. His backers could in reality serve in either party such is their ideological similarity. Turnbull could have joined the Labor Party but his Point Piper mansion and Goldman Sachs links make him unpalatable to the working class battler.

So now true conservatives have no real choice but to abandon a Coalition ship that no longer sails in their direction. Instead of minimalist government and laissez-faire policies of a true conservative party, the Turnbull Coalition wants more government and higher deficits. While a feral Senate makes passing austerity bills tough, Turnbull champions his achievements (what little there are) with no thought to the extra billions required to buy off  his elites.

Tony Abbott is a man who is sick of seeing the party he’s dedicated decades to be hijacked by the left. He wants the party to go back to its core principles. Would he win the next election as leader? Probably not but he’d save many more seats than Turnbull who boasts he’ll win the 2019 election. Sadly the damage done to the Libs is monumental. The party is divided and voters are sick of it.

A PM Bill Shorten is almost a guarantee, not so much because he is a popular choice to Turnbull (he isn’t) but the fact the Libs stench is too foul. Even at the local level, support (i.e. membership) for the Liberal Party is collapsing. Take Senator Cory Bernardi who split from the Libs to set up the Australian Conservatives – “In South Australia, we already have one half the number of members in the Liberal Party, which is pretty good after a month, and about two-thirds of what the Labor Party has, and that’s just in this state. So we are building from a very strong position.

What we do know is that Turnbull has turned out exactly as thought. He is the complete opposite of what he told us he would be when the coup took place and somehow polls don’t matter for him when they were the key reason to shoot Abbott. Abbott on the other hand cares for his party as much as he’s accused of being a wrecker he wants to provide a real alternative to Labor as the mass defections to One Nation and Australian Conservatives demonstrate. If I had to put money on a winner there will be none. On a who loses less basis, Tony Abbott has principle on his side and sadly Turnbull’s lack of judgement will see him put almost every foot wrong.

What people forget is that politicians are supposed to serve their constituents not themselves. Sadly Turnbull’s ambition to be PM was for his own ego but he will not to go down in history as one of the greatest leaders of our country. In fact I’m struggling to see who is worse – Turnbull or Gillard. In terms of party wrecking ball, Mr Turnbull takes the wooden spoon.

Newspoll – “I can assure you parts of it are excellent”

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The latest Australian news poll reminds me of the famous Punch cartoon from 1895 between a bishop and the curate. Somehow it seems to me that there will be some within the Liberal Party who will be looking for the good in a terrible result. To be beating Shorten on preferred Prime Minister is hardly an accolade to bank for a win in the next election. The latest poll shows the worst reading for the Coalition on a preferred party basis at 34% a full 5 points lower than at the time Tiurnbull overthrew Abbott on the basis of his poor polling.  It also highlighted the rise and rise of One Nation (from 8% to 10%) as one of the few alternative parties (along with the Australian Conservatives and Lib Dems) core conservatives could conceivably back as a Liberal Party no longer represents them.

While the press thumps the table and criticizes Abbott for his supposed  treachery there can be no doubt that One Nation’s vote would fall were he to take the Prime Ministership back. The press are petrified of such an outcome so are working overtime to bury public opinion. True Liberal voters know better. Just like the silent majority that backed Brexit and Trump, these core Liberal voters would happily back a leader that provided a platform to represent them.

I am afraid we have a bad egg in Australian politics and no parts of it are good. The sooner the Liberal Party get rid of the PM the more chances they give themselves of recovering the droves that have deserted them.

Laura Tingle’s tangle with the truth over Tony Abbott

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I read Laura Tingle’s summary Tony Abbott and am only led to the conclusion that she is just another one of the long list of journalists who couldn’t find balance, context or perspective when letting her personal feelings get in the way of her profession. It isn’t even remotely solid in content. For all her praise of Turnbull’s achievements and the supposed failures of Abbott which would have lent so much more power to her argument she didn’t. Then again why would I be surprised when reading Fairfax?

First she likened Abbott (aka political debacles) to the Soviet Union,

“Politics is full of catastrophic debacles…The Soviet Union comes to mind. All that work. All that butchery. All those millions killed. And then pffft! It was gone…Similarly, Tony Abbott. Okay, not the millions dead, but what an utter destructive force, an utter waste of space this man has been on the Australian political landscape…Can you remember anything positive that he has contributed to our polity that has not involved tearing something down? “

The use of ‘utter waste of space’ for a leader who signed several important free trade deals, stopped the boats and formed relationships with powers like Japan with a level of cultural sensitivity that caused the land of the rising sun’s ministries to afford Australia the type of status befitting nations such as America, Tingle selectively chooses to ignore. I remember going to an Tokyo Aussie Embassy event the evening of Abbott’s ousting to hear the Aussies jeer while speaking to senior Japanese delegates who seemed far from impressed. I spoke with Japanese politicians afterwards and they were far from impressed. Many hold their opinions to themselves but not those I met.

The fallout from the Japanese subs deal soon after only highlighted how Turnbull’s personal ambition to be PM was all that mattered. Having been a defence analyst for almost two decades I have yet to see such a poorly thought out, woefully executed and incompetent deal outside of the Nimrod MRA4 deal which BAE Systems struck. Our subs deal is a $50bn disaster penned to buy votes in a failing state (which Tingle made no reference to her own climate change rhetoric loving Turnbull himself trash South Australia’s questionable recurring renewable energy debacle) to buy subs that don’t exist other than paper, that will be so late that they’ll be obsolete by delivery time and further weaken Australia’s defence capability. Shall I keep going?

“So firmly set on a path of destruction, he set about making everything in his prime ministership a negative and ended up destroying himself…You might think that at some point there might have been a moment of midnight reflection. But no…Tony Abbott has continued on his destructive path, not just trying to destroy the man who replaced him but being happily prepared to burn the government of which he is allegedly a part, and some of his closest colleagues at the same time…All in the truly deluded name of policies that he didn’t have the political ability to implement when he was prime minister but which he still thinks might win votes.”

Abbott is a Liberal Party loyalist. His love of party showed when he wrote about Bernardi before he split talking about why they need to unite, something Turnbull has failed to do. In fact those that he got to back his coup have been countlessly thrown under a bus – Morrison, Frydenberg and so on.

To talk of delusion. Turnbull’s call to give the states income tax power before the election lasted less than 48 hours. His call for a Royal Commission on juvenile detention centres in NT based on a short clip of a biased ABC report shows time and again his total lack of judgement. That he scraped home with an election victory won in part by himself funding $1.75m of the campaign. Doing deals with Obama on refugees on refugees after Trump won. Having to get Trump’s number from Greg Norman because he had done zero preparation because he presumed Clinton’s coronation.

“Abbott’s latest intervention has only had the effect of finally bringing out those who have been most admirably loyal to him – like Mathias Cormann – to call him on his disingenuous, hypocritical and dishonest policy critiques of the current government…the other own goal of this latest speech is that it has finally freed the prime minister to give an honest appraisal of what his predecessor didn’t achieve, and point out that he has, in fact, achieved things that eluded Abbott.”

OK, Ms. Tingle, please point exactly where Mr Abbott “didn’t achieve” during his time as PM? Once again in your rant you fail to spell out what he hasn’t done – simply because you can’t or like your journalism makes clear, too lazy.

“The shame of it is that, as is always the case, Abbott leaves a stinking pile of loopy policy ideas steaming on the footpath – ranging from cutting immigration to the renewable energy target – that others will have to go to some considerable trouble to avoid, or, worse, being the sort of populist nonsense they are, be adopted by those profferring simplistic solutions.”

Using potty humour to make a point once again won’t win you awards although I’m sure the group thinkers that follow you will giggle with delight. .

“Backed by the tailwind of a gushing and fawning conservative media, Abbott had every opportunity to set a new highwater mark for the right in Australia…But as his own conservative colleagues publicly abandon him, it is a sign of Abbott’s utter failure that he has even made this unfashionable.”

What Ms. Tingle chooses to forget is that Abbott had to fend of daily attacks from the mainstream media during most of his time as PM. Yes he had some bad moments – e.g. Knights and Dames but he always had his country first at heart which perhaps is why his party buried him for that fatal weakness. The SMH became an Abbott hate paper where you had to look hard to find things that weren’t connected to him. The polls sank him (let’s face it Turnbull’s are no better) and buried his party’s judgement and he is now wasted on the back bench.

I have met Mr Abbott in person and I can only say I see a genuine article. One who selfishly serves the fire brigade as a volunteer in his free time. One who apologised sincerely for making me the butt of one of his jokes at a Tokyo Australian Embassy event which celebrated a landmark beef deal with Japan. Of course he meant no harm and the joke went down extremely well. However he was above all sincere.

Ms. Tingle, if you want to follow best in class journalism you’d go pretty far to find someone with as much ‘integrity’ to model yourself on than the baseless tripe you published today. Then again I challenge you to list the achievements of PM Turnbull and at the same time please listen to the out of touch rhetoric of Minister Pyne, Senator Cormann et al and look at a party Abbott loves be turned into a mess no true conservative voter can objectively claim to be proud of. Or is One Nation just an anomaly. The LNP is toast, much like Fairfax.