Now What?

Two days on from the big national organism, and the post-electoral tristesse still hasn’t worn off. But what’s a boy to blog about, now that the unmissed, unregretted Howard era is over? It’s not just John Howard I won’t be missing – there’s a long list of cabinet ministers who are beyond missing – Phil Ruddock, Kevin Andrews, Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott for starters.

Still, I’m in no hurry to find a new direction for my writing and commentary in the post-Howard era. Not so Glenn Milne, who’s devoted today’s column to kissing up to Kevin Rudd (and the next leader of the Federal Opposition) by sinking the boot into our thoroughly down and out ex-Prime Minister. Some entertainment to be had there, I guess, as the opinionators and editors of the ex-Government Gazette desperately ingratiate themselves with the new regime.

Posted in federal election '07
30 comments on “Now What?
  1. Jon says:

    I think the “Now what?” is pretty clear.
    Labor gained government by echoing many Coalition policies. While this may be good politics to gain power (Howard used it in 1996), the question is now what policies will be implemented? Will we see “core and non-core” promises from the Rudd Government? Will we see any change in Immigration and detention policies? the NT intervention? Higher Education? Defence?

    I content that there remains much to be vigilant about and that this and other sites will have much work to do.

  2. Mark Hill says:

    Now what?

    Razor gangs. You may slash at will, Minister.

  3. harry says:

    Now what?

    Enquiries. Royal Commissions. Accountability.

  4. gummotrotsky says:

    Could we maybe stick to the topic, which is “Now what for political blgging tragics?” rather than “What can we expect from the new Government?” or “What do we want from the new Government?”

  5. Katz says:

    1. Enquiry into the scandalous administration of DIMIA and its successor Department for Immigration and Citizenship.

    2. A properly constituted Royal Commission into AWB and Iraq.

    3. Enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the decision of the Howard government’s decision to go to war against the Saddam regime.

    4. Abolition of ministers’ political staffers’ immunity from parliamentary scrutiny.

    5. Abolition of excision of Australian territoriality.

  6. harry says:

    A new definition of bitchslap: Overington slaps Newhouse outside a poll booth!

    And Dennis puts his lips to a new ass, without even batting an eye! Shameless!

  7. harry says:

    Could we maybe stick to the topic…

    But surely that’s what pollblogging tragics will be doing: pushing Rudd for real change, while guiding the Howardistas out the door.

  8. Paul Burns says:

    Removing the GST from books. I’ve already sent Rudd an e-mail about it. At leasst he gets nice e-mails from me, not like the ones I sent to He W@ho Shall Never Be Named Again. I used to send him a couple of e-mails a week rubbing in his looming defeat, in quite insulting, though not obscene language.
    I agree with all the other suggestions.
    As to what we bloggers should do. Watch care4fully. Comment fearelessly if we don’t like what Rudd is doing, especially if he keeps on looking too much like He Who Shall Never Be Named Again.Lobby politely for the kind of change we want.Even lobby angrily if we are still stuck in some kind of Howard trope after a couple of weeks.
    Be verry green because if we’re not, the planet will die.
    How’s that for starters?

  9. gummotrotsky says:


    I’ll have a post up on Dennis later today (1.00 pm server time).

  10. cs says:

    Hi Gummo, among a feast of fun, we can look forward to the debate between the Howard-huggers and Howard-haters becoming the exclusive preserve of conservative columnists, as they fight to the death in ever receding margins over the legacy of the defeated retiree. Oh, and fancy the great conservative leader, the greatest pm of all-time with the possible excption of Menzies, being beaten by a girl!

  11. Roger Lamb says:

    “Could we maybe stick to the topic, which is ‘Now what for political blogging tragics?'”

    Gummo, can we discuss our favourites for opposition leader? You know, Uncle Phil, Kevin Andrews perhaps – so many to choose from.

  12. gummotrotsky says:


    What’s gone for me is the complete absurdity of the Howard government, damaging as much of that absurdity was at both a personal level for me, and my closer circle of acquaintance. Obviously, we’re better off without it but nonetheless whatever absurdities the Libs can come up with on their way to political oblivion will pale in comparison with the heights of political absurdism they achieved in 11 years in office.

  13. murph the surf says:

    “But what’s a boy to blog about, now that the unmissed, unregretted Howard era is over?”

    Change target to the new administration as they fail to deliver socialist utopia .
    I am waiting to see how Rudd manages to overcome factional control of the ministries as step one .
    Why no national apology yet ? I thought this was Priority Item Number One ?

    Rudd has consistently claimed to ne a fiscal conservative and if he is true to his promises the cuts in spending will have to be carefully watched. How much middle class welfare can he afford to remove without alienating the Rudd aspirationals?

    So many things to blog about Gummo.
    But what does this mean – “What’s gone for me is the complete absurdity of the Howard government, damaging as much of that absurdity was at both a personal level for me, and my closer circle of acquaintance” Jobs for all? Full time employment cuts down the blogging time don’t you know.

  14. Andrew says:

    Murph is not far off. From the blogging tragics I expect, after a period of euphoria (in it now), a period of disappointment followed by disillusionment and then anger at how little of what you expected to be delivered was actually delivered.
    Pointed comments about particular ministers being unsound and then later incompetent, followed by a few whinges at the leadership in general and then wholesale insults directed at Kevin.
    I hope to be proven wrong – because if I am it will mean this was one of the shorter lived Labor governments ever.

  15. Roger Lamb says:

    Gummo, you write

    “…whatever absurdities the Libs can come up with on their way to political oblivion will pale in comparison with the heights of political absurdism they achieved in 11 years in office”.

    But coming absurdities will be icing on the mud cake. As for their time in government, “aburd” does not spring to my mind as a general descriptor – rather, something closer to “vile”.

  16. gummotrotsky says:


    Absurd and vile are not mutually exclusive. I often had times when my sardonic detachment collapsed in the face of government actions that were both – most recently the Haneef debacle and Kevin Andrews’ comments on Sudanese immigrants.

  17. Katz says:

    What will the bloggerati talk about?

    In chronological order:

    1. Rudd will discover that the federal surplus was based on dodgy figures. He will use this to justify:

    a. Retraction of some of his tax cut promises.
    b. Some razor gang action in social welfare areas.

    Some bloggers will see this as a betrayal of one thing or another. Others will see it as further proof of the mendacity of the Howard regime. Still others will see it as politics as usual.

    2. Flame wars over the means by which Rudd chooses to remove troops from Iraq.

    a. Blairite flying monkeys will carpet bomb with US Right taling points.
    b. Lefties will complain about how long the withdrawal process will take.

  18. Roger Lamb says:

    Gummo, you write:

    “Absurd and vile are not mutually exclusive. I often had times when my sardonic detachment collapsed in the face of government actions that were both – most recently the Haneef debacle and Kevin Andrews’ comments on Sudanese immigrants.”

    I take the point about the compatibility of absurdity and vileness (i.e., it is possible that something can be both absurd and vile). With me (being of a moralizing temperment), I guess it was always the latter property that stood out whenever the two appeared together. In the Haneef case and just about anything that Andrews had to do with, absurd as it doubtless all was, again it was the vileness that had the phenomenal intensity. I wonder if that Gestalt isn’t what you refer to when you talk about your sardonic detachment (which, I presume, encourages focus upon the absurd) collapsing when confronted with such cases.

    The thing about Coming Absurdities – as in any possible short-list of candidates for Leader of the Opposition – is that (hopefully) they will be cases of the more purely absurd, with much less admixture of actual injury to the innocent.

  19. Zarquon says:

    Now what? Now we get to argue whether Kevin Rudd is a lipsniger! Woo hoo!!

  20. Sickening. No need for anybody to ingratiate themselves with the new regime. Is the new regime going to send dissenting journalists to concentration camps?

    This didn’t happen under the previous regime, criticism of the government (both thoughtful and unhinged) reigned supreme in the media much of the time, with no visible negative consequences for the authors.

    Is there now legislative change pending to affect freedom of speech? Is the Rudd government going to cancel the “licence to comment” of a journalist who does not suck up to it?

    Personally I have been dying for an interviewer who will give Rudd a grilling, coz it ain’t happened yet. So far he has only had to face worship sessions from devotees.

    Perhaps question time in Parliament will be the only occassion we see him facing a googly?

  21. FDB says:

    SATP – tediously literal minded of you. Nobody loses their personal liberty from criticising the government, what they get is cut off from the drip-feed of selected information, interviews and “leaks” that are the lifeblood of a lazy press gallery hack. If you want better from the Canberra corps, keep an eye on Jason Koutsoukis’ work.

  22. Ambigulous says:

    Gummo at [4], murph at [13]

    Stay true to your principles of fearless criticism of those who wield power, base criticism on facts and logical reasoning.

    This will ALWAYS be needed, whoever holds office, whoever wields power (commercial, political, intellectual).

    Ask good questions, a la Socrates. Demand answers. Stir the pot. Expose hucksters. Expose mendacity. Expose fraud. Expose glibness. Demand higher standards, then higher still.

    “I will not cease from mental fight/Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand/ Til we have built Jerusllem/ In England’s green and pleasant land”

    – William Blake

  23. Ambigulous says:


  24. tssk says:

    Steve at the pub.

    I agree. I still remember all the easy rides Rudd had this. Puff pieces by Piers Ackerman, Paul Kelly hammering John Howard etc.

    Oh no, sorry, I thought I was in the alternate universe where rates are always higher.

    I’m amazed that Rudd managed it given the drubbing he recieved from all quarters of the media (until their last minute conversion. I guess the GG and the Tele can continue to claim they are teh Kingmakers.)

  25. chinda63 says:

    The problem with all the “me-tooism” is that it was more of a media talking point than an actuality. If you listened to ALL of what Kevin Rudd said on every policy he supposedly “me-tooed” on, there was actually a lot more going on; a tweaking of the numbers here, an addition or subtraction to implementation there, and they were all things that will end up making the policy better, more workable and fairer.

    Once Rudd starts implementing these policies all these things will become apparent: they will most certainly NOT be Liberal policies dressed up to look like Labor ones. Like all Labor policies, the essential element will be fairness.

    Remember that? It’s been 12 long years since we last saw fairness in public policy and I, for one, will welcome it back with open arms.

  26. Darryl Mason says:

    Anyone else noticed that the Murdoch media opinionastra has already voted for Turnbull as the new Liberal leader? The Thursday meeting will be a mere formality.

    Paul Kelly gives Turnbull the tick, as does Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, various city paper editors and Janet Albretchensensensen.

    The Murdoch media headkicking now being delivered to Howard is shocking, and savage. And I was led to believe that you lot were the real Howard Haters.

    It appears that inside every Howard Hugger there was a venomous Howard Hater just dying to get out.

  27. Paul’s suggestions for the Turnbull agenda are interesting:

    …Turnbull should support social policy ideas that work and are geared to tangible progress.

    That means backing practical reconciliation, mutual obligation, high immigration and tough border protection with detention, welfare reform, firm national security laws with review mechanisms to guard civil liberties, education standards that reject postmodernism and demand objective testing, strong support for families and for individual choice. This is largely an affirmation of Howard’s agenda, but it needs a new framework, fresh marketing and dressed with a moral ethos. Any reversion to obsolete social policy brawls between progressives and conservatives would be the kiss of death.

    In other words, same old same old, keep up the culture worrying and just change the packaging and make sure to add a bright red circle under the brand name with the words “NOW WITH MORAL ETHOS” printed in it in bright yellow letters.

    It is to laugh.

  28. murph the surf says:

    You will have to wait an see Gummo.
    I admire your faith in the ALP and the trust you have they will follow an agenda that will have you happy.
    The ideas Paul outlined don’t have to be right or correct and as Rudd’s campaign showed well managed campaigns don’t have to be radically different to appeal- they just have to get votes.
    As the convergence of the policies of the two major parties continues into the future the ideas he mentions aren’t offensive to that many . I also think you overemphasis the link between the education standards and the culture wars .They are in the same ball park but as he says they aren’t woryth a knock down, drag out fight and as an issue resonate with very few voters they are looking to attract.
    If the Libs engage with a new attitude of fairness to all in these policies it would be a rebalancing away from the extremism of the Howard years.

  29. Paul Burns says:

    While I wait in trepidation for Rudd to do what the voters wanted: totally repeat totally repeal Workchoices NOW!- none of this gradualist garbage – I note with alarm that he seems to be preparing the ground to give in however subtly to business by talkinmg about how Workchoices might, but shouldn’t be blocked in the Senate because the electorate has given a pretty fair indication of what it wants. Mr. Rudd, the electorate wants all of Workchoices gone, so stop the namby-pambying and set plans afoot to repeal it entirely. No excuses, no explanations of how the ACTU has advised we should do it this way, NSW’s John Robertson’s waents it done it another way, and all the fuss is because of some factional brawling. I couldn’t care less. JUST DO IT!
    On a much more positive side – I know Rudd says he isn’t a socialist, but giving a computer to practically every schoolkid, and sending out your MPs to work out the extent of nationwaide homelessless so you can really do something about it – that looks pretty Socialist to me and I’m proud to have you as my PM. I know that within 4 days Australia has got its heart back and JWH is gone for good.

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