Blogging a new government

Acccording to Club Bloggery, political blogs had a good election, but they wonder about the future:

As mentioned earlier, poitical bloggers – and particularly psephs – have had a win this election. Part of the reason that organs like the Oz are inspired to “go” them is that they are attracting the eyeballs of precisely the kind of niche, premium audience that the national broadsheet relies on, but risks alienating in its drift to the right. Every respectable political junkie now has Possum, LP and Poll Bludger in their RSS reader – we’ll see if the left-leaning political bloggers can keep it up if the Howard ascendancy ends on Saturday. We also need to think about how the blogosphere and citizen journalism can reach out beyond the political junkies, and engage with those people who K-Rudd was trying to talk to on Rove.

For what it’s worth, I think that a Labor government will actually be a shot in the arm for LP.

Our best political material, in my opinion, is the meaty, informed analysis of policy, drawing on the expertise of Teh LP Hivemind, the various other bloggers out there, and the pool of well-informed commenters out there. Such analyses don’t need to be blanket praise or brickbats, either: take one of my pieces on a Labor policy annoucement during the campaign, which gave Labor some credit but pointed out that much of it was pointless duplication of state responsibilities. So the key question is whether there is going to be more or less opportunity for this kind of discussion under a Rudd-led Labor government than with the outgoing set of trogs.

It’s unlikely that wedge politics – that is, deliberately bad policy designed primarily to exploit political differences in the opposition – will disappear entirely. But there’s reasonable grounds to expect that it will be much less prominent. The next election will be all about the performance of Labor in government, not the opposition, and they’ve set themselves a pretty substantial agenda already. Throw in a bit of raking over the coals of the last government with the odd inquiry (incidentally, any Liberal backbencher thinking of voting for Nelson might care to consider how he’ll look if an inquiry’s held into the acquisition process for the Super Hornets) and that should be a pretty full slate.

Furthermore, a lot of the policies put forward are going to be aimed at achieving goals that we, broadly, endorse. There’s limits to how much you can say about a competently-implemented policy that has goals you don’t support – though the fag-end days of the Howard government had plenty of examples of policy whose aims we didn’t support and was also incredibly badly designed to achieve those aims!

And finally, the new government will re-open some areas of debate – to both sides of politics – which had essentially been shut down for discussion through the Howard years. As Tim Colebatch points out, it’s possible that a Labor federal government, with eight Labor state and territory governments, will be able to tackle that dry but vital topic of ‘vertical fiscal imbalance”. And then there’s the question of what’s going to be done with the vast sums of money the emissions trading system will raise – in the order of $12 billion a year before the inevitable giveaways to polluters. Not to mention the great pieces of unfinished symbolism – the republic and reconciliation.

So there’s going to be no shortage of interesting stuff for LP bloggers to chew on, and we certainly won’t be intending to turn into an uncritical cheer squad for the incoming government.

Anyway, there’s more to life, and LP, than politics – there’s classic Sesame Street, for instance:

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Posted in activism, blogosphere, federal election '07, politics
63 comments on “Blogging a new government
  1. FDB says:

    OMFGROFLOLBBQZ!!!1!1

  2. FDB says:

    Free Rebel L!!

  3. gandhi says:

    It will be interesting to see if there is a growth in rightwing blogs over the next few years. Seems to me that there was a noticable decrease in pro-Howard voices during the election, with comments threads here and elsewhere almost devoid of the snarky wingnut nonsense we saw earlier.

    Many of us on the left only came to blogging out of sheer bloody frustration with Howard’s relentlessly gut-wrenching agenda. Will the wingnuts now come out of their closets, throw open their shuttered windows and shout out their frustrations for all in Ozblogistan to hear?

    Venting is good, it helps keep you sane. It can also be constructive, if done properly! Hopefully Australia under Rudd will be a less divisive society and there will be opportunities for all to join in more constructive interaction.

  4. Tim Hollo says:

    Rebel L for Leader of the Libs!

    Great post, Robert. Agree there’s still heaps to blog about, as there’s always heaps to discuss in any political context. As you say, we’re most unlikely to see the end of wedge politics altogether. At the very least we’ll see it reincarnated in some slightly different form – sponge politics, maybe? The Ruddbot trying to mop up as many votes as he possibly can with motherhood politics without any real substance?

    One thing you left out is the fact that we’ll have a Senate back. There’ll be plenty of material out of the endless negotiations that’ll have to happen if the Senate shapes up the way it’s looking.

  5. glen says:

    why is there a l in noel?

    boom boom

  6. glen says:

    oh, and from what i have read, the left were the most virulent critics of the previous federal labor government!!!

  7. Excellent point, Tim. Oh, and congratulations on The Greens’ results.

  8. Jason says:

    Robert – as one of the authors of that piece, I think (and sincerely hope) that you’re right about the Rudd-volution being a shot in the arm for blogs like this.

    What you didn’t discuss, though, is the last part of what we said: how do blogs, citizen media and online public affairs more generally reach out beyond the political junkies to a much broader set of readers? It may not be LP’s role in particular, and one shouldn’t expect any particular blog to do everything, but it may be something LP folks might like to discuss.

    If there is a mood of political re-engagement in the country at the moment, how can that be fostered and nurtured by the blogosphere. If workchoices was the “cut-through” issue that decided the election, doesn’t that suggest that there is a “kitchen table” concern about labour politics that might be taken much further over coming years, and might involve a much broader range of voices? If social-democratic movements have been consistent on anything, its the widest possible extension of the political process and political debate, and the blogsophere seems to offer hope for that. Any thoughts?

  9. David Rubie says:

    It’s unlikely that wedge politics – that is, deliberately bad policy designed primarily to exploit political differences in the opposition – will disappear entirely.

    but…

    (incidentally, any Liberal backbencher thinking of voting for Nelson might care to consider how he’ll look if an inquiry’s held into the acquisition process for the Super Hornets)

    It’s been a long time since we changed governments – I assume Rudd last night on the 7:30 report signalled a certain curiosity about AWB (for example) by telling Red Kerry that he’d “take advice” on investigating the matter of ministerial responsibility. I assume there is fertile ground for a series of investigations into AWB, Iraq, Tampa, Siev X and the rest of the awful decisions of the previous government. I question how much of it is worth pursuing.

    While part of me would love to see Dolly Downer behind bars, another part says that recriminations are generally pointless revenge exercises unless conducted for the specific purpose of improving our governance. I don’t want our shiny new government to fall into the trap of righting wrongs in a fit of overreach if the best plan of action might be to make amends to the victims. The Australian public already put that awful government to the sword, kicking the corpse for fun seems gratuitous. They voted for change, for new policies and for re-invigoration – those things take a lot of effort and would be hindered by backwards looking distractions.

    While an investigation into the Super Hornets might be useful in keeping the clueless Nelson off balance, I guarantee he’d do that by himself anyway. Better to have a quick look at the process again and see if it’s worthwhile revisiting it on the pretense of saving money.

  10. Ambigulous says:

    That nice Mr Rudd has apparently required every one of his MP’s to visit at least one homeless shelter in their electorate.

    Is this the beginning of a serious ‘social justice’ and welfare agenda? Somewhat downplayed during the campaign? Good luck to him.

    I reckon that under the bland patina lies a steely determination and plenty of political imagination. Calling Bernie B “mate” may have grated on many ears, but holding him up as an example of fearless, selfless courage was…. well…. decent. Robots can be thoroughly fine chaps: you just wait and see.

  11. Ambigulous says:

    SUGGESTIONS for BLOGGERS
    My little load of platitudes ~

    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 Jerusalem/ In England’s green and pleasant land”

    – William Blake

  12. FDB says:

    David Rubie – I’m not normally a fan of it much, but what of the deterrent effect? Ministers bluff their way out of responsibility because they know they’ll get away with it.

  13. mbahnisch says:

    Jason, I’m not sure that’s a role that the blogosphere can realistically play. I do note that there were some LP commenters who said they’d previously been disengaged from politics and finding us had helped them re-engage and contributed to a process of learning and fostered commitment. But I’m not sure that political blogs will ever engage with a large readership. But I think there’s a distinct contribution to be made via shifting the terms in which we think about and discuss politics – along the lines of my arguments in the campaign that we should be talking about “politics as if it mattered” and the sorts of directions Rob maps out in this post.

  14. One thing to keep in mind, Jason, is that political blogging is very much a minority activity everywhere. According to this site, Daily Kos gets roughly 340,000 visits daily (and probably considerably fewer distinct visitors). That’s a lot in absolute terms, but compared to the number of people interested in the latest contortions of Britney Spears’ meltdown, it’s vanishingly small.

    That said, your question is an interesting one, and one that deserves a considered response which I just don’t have at this point!

  15. mbahnisch says:

    Yes, I should add that mine is only preliminary as well – I’d like to think that there would be some ways to at least approach the sort of goal Jason is pointing to.

  16. gandhi says:

    …recriminations are generally pointless revenge exercises unless conducted for the specific purpose of improving our governance.

    For goodness’ sake!

    This is not post-apartheid South Africa seeking a national reconciliation process to heal deeply entrenched social injustices. We are a robust democratic country and we should be vigorously enforcing accountability for laws, principles and values long abused. Failure to do so leaves the door open for further such abuses in future. And there is no reason at all why this should involve “overreach” or failure to make amends to victims.

    Are we already cringing at the thought of a resurgent MSM bleating rightwing talking points? Come now!

  17. Paul Burns says:

    Re. Investigations into previous government.
    As much as I’d like to see memnbers of the former Howard Government carpeted for AWB etc. I think its probably unwise.Otherwise we’re going to have a continuing succession of different governments investigating, jailing each other etc, to the poiunt it might paralyze the political process.
    The two exceptions I make to this are war crimes and crimes against humanity. These should always be punished. If any conduct of Howard anmd his cronies comes under that umbrella it should be referred to the Attorney-General (whoever they are) for prosecution.

  18. Dave Bath says:

    Bloggers interested in Oz politics should make comments (before 2007-12-01) on the Australian Government Consultation Blog Discussion Paper (http://www.agimo.gov.au/publications/2007/september/consultation_blog_discussion_paper. The features of the blog and membership rules will be determined by responses received by AGIMO/DFAT. (Now that’s a group blog that might make a difference).

  19. Ambigulous says:

    Crimes against humanity?
    Yes, Paul Burns.

    And as far as I know, the Rome Statute(s) which established the International Criminal Court, require all avenues of DOMESTIC prosection to be exhausted before a case may be taken there.

    In other words. a case can only be sent referred there if the national government(s) of
    i) the alleged perpetrator, and/or
    ii) the place where the alleged crimes were committed

    refuse to take action, or do not have the resources to mount a detailed investigation, prosecution, and to conduct a fair trial (judged by international standards).

  20. Tim Hollo says:

    David Rubie, I’m with FDB and Gandhi.

    There is a very important point to uphold. If politicians are breaking the law, they must be accountable for that more than simply through the ballot box.

    FDB is right about the deterrent effect. My understanding of criminology (my partner is a criminologist 😉 ) is that deterrence depends on three things: likelihood of being brought to justice, severity of punishment and how long it’s likely to take before one is brought to justice.

    If members of a previous Government have not been held to account for their misdeeds, members of a new Government can safely assume that they will not be brought to justice for any similar misdeeds they commit.

    I think it’s extremely important for our democracy that the members of the Howard Government are held accountable for what they have done, and more than simply by booting them out of office.

  21. FDB says:

    That’s my feeling too Tim. And given your handy 3-variable deter-o-meter, I would think that a pretty light sentence, combined with a high likelihood of being caught promptly (free whistles to all Ministerial staff!) would be the way to go. It’s the damage to reputation above all else that matters to those who gravitate to the political spotlight.

  22. Pollytickedofff says:

    One thing I would like to see investigated is the whole Haneef debacle and particularly
    1) The AFPs handling of the case including investgiative processes, the continual leaks to the media, and especially Keelty’s claim of advising the DPP there wasn’t a case
    2) The DPPs part in the affair in taking to the courts a case that was inadequate
    3) Andrew’s decision to revoke his visa and the supposed ‘arrangement’ to have his visa cancelled if he was released on bail.

  23. gandhi says:

    Since we have morphed onto this topic, let’s just remember what the judges at the Nuremberg Trials called the Supreme War Crime: lately it has been rationalized and packed as “pre-emptive war”.

    Put yourself in the shoes of an innocent Iraqi whose children have been killed, whose house has been bombed, whose entire country has been destroyed, and then tell me there is no need for an investigation!

    And Paul Burns, you should be ashamed of this:

    I think its probably unwise.Otherwise we’re going to have a continuing succession of different governments investigating, jailing each other etc, to the poiunt it might paralyze the political process.

    If Rudd does anything to merit a jail term, then let him have it!

    NB: based on his comments this week, I think he might be the first person to put his own ministers up on trial, if they ever deserve it.

    Yup, plenty still left to blog about, folks…!

  24. Gaz says:

    “This is not post-apartheid South Africa seeking a national reconciliation process to heal deeply entrenched social injustices. We are a robust democratic country and we should be vigorously enforcing accountability for laws, principles and values long abused. Failure to do so leaves the door open for further such abuses in future.”

    Amen to that.There should be a royal commission set up into the Howard years,some of the ministers in Howards government made Al Capone look like a social worker.

    I don’t believe what I read on these blogs sometimes,so now our man is in the lodge, it’s live and let live, well bollicks to all that.What was done by this government is not just mistakes,a lapse in concentration,a case of could have done it better,didn’t see the outcome,a case in point, is the A.W.B. scandal, this went past criminal it bordered on treason for Gods sake.

    And if any one thinks for a nano second,the James Hardy group weren’t getting some of their instructions from what was a despicable government,on how to handle Bernie Banton, are as naive as the day is long.The sooner they get into an investigation into the mob of shyters that paraded it self as a government, the better.Maybe we could make a start by putting some of the bastards in Baxter before we send them to Greenland.

  25. Gaz says:

    “Put yourself in the shoes of an innocent Iraqi whose children have been killed, whose house has been bombed, whose entire country has been destroyed, and then tell me there is no need for an investigation!”

    But they didn’t know did they?Just a mix up in the intelligence.Let the trials begin.

  26. David Rubie says:

    Tim Hollo wrote:

    There is a very important point to uphold. If politicians are breaking the law, they must be accountable for that more than simply through the ballot box.

    I did say it was useful if it was “improving our governance”. If Dolly did crimes, he should do times. What I’m not interested in is the point Paul Burns brings up – a paralysis of government intent only on investigating the previous one.

    We know the last lot were incompetent fools (at best) – what I want is a small subset of the issues investigated, those which bring a big bang-for-buck in effect (that should take care of the deterrent) but I don’t want endless rounds of Royal Commissions while the agenda that Australians voted for moulders away in the dust at the back of the drawer. They want things like workplaces, health and education fixed in a social democratic way, and they should have that as quickly as practicable.

    I think it would be interesting to use places like LP (in exile) to make a list of positive priorities and urgent investigations. Keep the lists short, doable and practical. What I don’t want is a never ending stream of triumphalism, blood baying and severed heads that serve no purpose. With a shorter list, it’s easier to organise activism around distinct goals, and therefor much easier to achieve those goals.

    We’ve had the Howard government putting swords through our institutions as a means of reprisals for the last eleven years and it was destructive. I’m not interested in destruction as I don’t see how it advances social democracy one iota.

  27. Gaz says:

    So we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?What unmitigated balls, that the government will be paralyzed trying to root out a few guilty politicians.

    At that rate,maybe we should give our law enforcement agencies a couple of weeks to solve a murder, after all we want them to investigate other crimes like not wearing a helmet whilst riding a push bike.

  28. Tim Hollo says:

    David, I should have, and meant to, acknowledge that specific point of yours re governance.

    What I would like to see is for the investigation of the previous government’s action taken right out of the political context and put into a legal or semi-legal process such as a Royal Commission. It must absolutely NOT be the role of the incoming government to prosecute the outgoing government. They should be working on governing and leave the prosecution to the courts.

  29. Paul Burns says:

    Yeah, but it won’t happen, for the reasons I gave above. Its never happened in Australia so far as I know and its never going to happen. That’s the reality.
    I don’t dispute the Howard Government really deserves it, and I’d delight in the trial process cand the guilty verdict.
    But the fact is the criminals have got away with it in the past. Did anybody want to try Menzies for the Anti-Co9mmunist Referendum, Evatt for jailing Jehovahs Witnesses during WW2 because they were conscientious objectors,
    Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke or Keating for ignoring what went on in East Timor? No.And nobody will do anything now, for exactly the reasons I’ve stated above.
    If they do then this country has really changed for the better.

  30. As awful as the politically motivated persecution of Dr Haneef was/is (here’s hoping Labor calls off the appeal and restores his visa – saving many thousands in the process), it was nothing compared to the delibarate imprisonment of children for years on end in conditions the government knew were very harmful, going so far as taking court action to prevent them being transferred to hospitals for proper mental health care.

    Deliberately subjecting children to extended, extreme harm for political purposes is one of the worst excesses of the outgoing government and certainly some such as Julian Burnside have argued would meet the definition under our Criminal Code of a crime against humanity.

  31. Paul Burns says:

    But Andrew, will we prosecute them? Will we bother?

  32. Evan says:

    While I too would love to see full public enquiries into the AWB, Children Overboard, Iraq and the rest of the Howard fiascos, I don’t think it’s likley to happen. Any Government will be mindful that investigation of a defeated opponent’s past mistakes could well come back to bite them on the arse one day when the other mob (eventually) get back in.

    As Howard has just amply demonstrated, no Government lasts forever.

    And it can’t be good for the Australian polity if the first term of any new Government is spent on McCarthy-esq withchunts involving their predecessors. We don’t elect Governments to do that. We elect them to govern.

    However, there are many ways to skin Le Chat and David Rubie has hit on one in respect to Nelson’s misguided super-hornet purchase in his post above.

    The Workchoices data that the Rudd Government will finally release in the normal course of business will bury people like Hockey and Andrews, as well as any chance of the WA Liberals pushing a retention of the policy on their Federal party. It will demonstrate, once and for all, just how many workers have had their pay and conditions screwed-down. No doubt various Senate committees will do a number on the AWB, Immigration mismanagement et al.

    So, bit by bit, the stuff-ups of the Howard years will get their exposure, just in the normal course of the Government and Parliament going about their business and regardless of whether we get Royal Commissions into all things Howard.

  33. David Rubie says:

    Andrew Bartlett wrote:

    Deliberately subjecting children to extended, extreme harm for political purposes is one of the worst excesses of the outgoing government

    Right there is what I’m talking about. In the course of fixing problems (and this one will be politically difficult for Labor because mandatory detention was their stupid idea in the first place), if a body is found, then prosecution should happen.

    I would prefer it if government was about *making things better* – trying to redress these wrongs, wholesale culture change in DIMIA or whatever it’s called now. Dragging Vanstone back can only be helpful if her fingerprints are on something. Getting the stupid policy scrapped and those people out of detention is surely a bigger priority than making sure Vanstone takes her lumps.

  34. Evan says:

    Agreed, David. Scrapping mandatory detention and going through the Dept of Immigration like a dose of salts would be good starts.

  35. gandhi says:

    No no no no no!

    (deep breath)

    OK. Let me explain something here. Forget John Howard and think about George W. Bush for a second. Does anyone doubt he is (a) the worst US president ever and (b) a War Criminal?

    If so, I recommend you visit >a href=”http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/”>TPM and read up on Bernie Kerik (just for starters) whose boss is a good chance for next US president.

    Is this where we, as a country, want to be heading? Because that’s where we are heading right now, unless Rudd can turn the ship around.

    I have spent the last four years blogging against both Bush AND Howard. The similarities are very much worth consideration, particularly with regard to our increasingly bloated Defense Department budget and our ever-closer ties to the US Military-Industrial complex. We have only just begun to wake up to the horrors of the last decade, IMHO.

  36. gandhi says:

    David Rubie,

    I do appreciate where you are coming from. Nobody wants partisan politics for partisan purposes, or endless enquiries wasting taxpayer funds (a la Howard’s tightly-controlled looks into AWB, Iraq WMD, SievX, etc).

    I just find it a little strange that you are calling for calm when we haven’t even begun to get active!

    In the course of an election campaign, one understands that Rudd simply could not give honest answers to certain questions without prejudicing his campaign. Now is the time for such answers, and such questions.

    This is not Kevin Rudd’s government, remember – it’s OUR government!

  37. Marko says:

    Erm… Did Poll Bludger exist a year ago? Ok, so it might have, but I don’t believe many people knew about it, if it did. The community that’s formed around LP/Possum/PB seems to be enduring – for now. What’s more, we’re beginning to see personalities and relationships forming – that is, the trust metric of these communities (in particular, PB) seems to be climbing. That isn’t going to help the signal-to-noise ratio (it might just make it worse!), but it does mean that there’s something going on that has some resilience.

  38. gandhi says:

    Evan,

    I think you need to distinguish between an independent judiciary and a partisan political government.

    If and when a new government sends material evidence for prosecution cases to the judiciary, that should be the end of their involvement. Obviously, the Attorney General and his staff have some influence, but this SHOULD NOT be undue.

    Have people forgotten how this is all supposed to work? Is that how far we have come in the last 11.5 years?

  39. gandhi says:

    Sorry, that invaluable TPM link is here for anyone who is not already familiar.

    PS: Now THAT is a sign of where Ozblogistan (and LP?) could be heading!

  40. Enemy Combatant says:

    Re the barbarities that happenened on Australian soil, or in Australian territorial waters over the past eleven and a half years:

    Innocent human beings, including many women and children have been incarcerated, left to drown while still “beeping” on RAN radar, tortured(Ul-Haque), and subjected to sadistic degradation without consent, habeas corpus or the right to consult a lawyer.
    Feeling all warm and fuzzy at JWH’s demise is fine and dandy, but unless genuine attemps are made to have those diectly responsible for crimes against humanity on our turf, then we are complicit and to be damned for our silence.

    Commiserations AB, great to see your’re still fighting for your beliefs.

  41. gandhi says:

    Yeah, what E.C. said: kudos to Andrew Bartlett for still being here online today.

  42. Enemy Combatant says:

    Three blues. 1)attempts, 2)directly, and 3) to “on our turf” please add “held accountable”.

  43. Ambigulous says:

    gandhi @ 37

    Yes: we must maintain the clear independence of both the police and the judiciary from the politicians. We must NOT have politicians directing enquiries, nor getting police to harrass their political foes, nor having police (for instance) bug phones of political parties and report back to the govt.

    No KGB or Stasi for Australia!

    Do you recall a gem from the Christmas overthrow of Ceausescu in Romamia, 1999? The Boss and Mrs C had been summarily executed. Some other top functionaries had been seized. A spokesman for the new regime said, “The guilty will all get a fair trial!”

    It struck me at the time, how important is the presumption of innocence and the independence of the courts.

    cheerio

  44. Ambigulous says:

    EC @ 39

    Yes, certainly prosecute for crimes against humanity if such occurred – but the “bar” is set very high for those.

    There are plenty of other crimes where the “bar” is set lower, which may be applicable: wrongful detention, assault, perverting the course of justice, misuse of telephone intercepts, etc. ??

    Perhaps some civil claims for damages might set the ball rolling in some instances?

  45. gandhi says:

    Lest anyone not be clear what we are talking about here, a timely reminder:

    Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib says he was injected with drugs in front of an Australian official while being interrogated in Pakistan…

    A jury earlier found that an opinion piece by columnist Piers Akerman defamed Mr Habib by implying he falsely made claims about torture.

    Mr Habib told the court that he had been beaten with sticks, kicked and suspended by his wrists from the ceiling for hours at a time, and had been given electric shocks that were so severe he fainted…

    A man who had introduced himself as Alastair Adams, an Australian official, had been present while this occurred, Mr Habib said.

    Other Australians, as well as Americans, were present at a number of other interrogations and interviews, he said.

    ACCOUNTABILITY! NOW!

  46. David Rubie says:

    gandhi wrote:

    I just find it a little strange that you are calling for calm when we haven’t even begun to get active!

    I am strange, I’ll admit it. But when you see someone hurt, or requiring help, you sort them out first before you chase the bastard who did it down the street.

  47. gandhi says:

    David Rubie,

    Kevin07 looks like a smart boy. He should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Let’s bring it on within the next 6 months, and let the bloody Coalition-controlled Senate vote against inquiries into their own horrid legacy!

    In Egypt, Mr Habib said he was shocked with taser guns and a powered machine with voltage controls.

    His fingers were all broken and the nails torn away with spanners, he said.

    Mr Habib was unable to go on, closing his eyes and turning away from the court when asked what his torturers did with dogs.

    “They tied up my hands behind my back and they put shackles on my feet, and I have to be naked,” he said, through clenched teeth.

    “My face was on the floor because the dog (was) on the top of me, they do sexual things.”

    RETRIBUTION! NOW!

  48. Gaz says:

    “Lest anyone not be clear what we are talking about here, a timely reminder:”

    You are wasting your time here,this blog is full of sensitive souls, who can’t/wont see what has been going on.The factions are still alive and well in the Labor Party of which I am a member,and I can tell you, what has transpired over the last eleven and half years is not going to be let fade away into the mists of time.
    From the comments here,anyone would think the worst this shower of shit houses had done was bring a telly into Oz with out paying the duty.

    Heads are gonna roll over this any bets? Any iliberals reading some of this shite would be laughing their tits off.What mob of chumps.

  49. Gaz says:

    “and let the bloody Coalition-controlled Senate vote against inquiries into their own horrid legacy!”

    Yea as if, they’re really gonna do that!Sheesh.

  50. gandhi says:

    Glass of water for Mister Gaz, please….!

    🙂

    They may be a tepid lot her sometimes, Gaz, but I daresay they are worth the effort.

    OTOH I have often noted that Australians under Howard have become a very “safe and careful” mob. Is this the new PC? If so, let’s blow it away with the cobwebs: trying times are coming.

  51. Gaz says:

    “trying times are coming.”
    Yes and may they be fruitful.

  52. Andrew E says:

    What will kill LP and other like-minded blogs is the prevalence of the Voice of the Boofhead, which both underpinned his triumphs and sowed the seeds for his defeat. By this I mean: if you criticise the government over one thing, the whole government will collapse and nothing worthwhile will be achieved, so just shut up and look happy when the camera pans across you.

    Can’t happen here? I bet it does.

  53. Klaus K says:

    Sure, it could happen here, but my bet is it doesn’t. The fact that the issue is being debated is a good sign this early in the term.

  54. FDB says:

    “Can’t happen here? I bet it does.”

    I’ll be happy to bet that you’ll think it’s happened, and carp about it regularly.

  55. nasking says:

    “I have spent the last four years blogging against both Bush AND Howard.”

    and a damn good job you did too Gandhi. It’s good to see fire & passion out there in cyber-space. Let’s hope that Labor doesn’t keep all the crimes & corruption of the former government up its sleeve…they need to clean house & open up the cupboards for all the public to see the smelly things inside, regardless of how much it might hurt their State peers’ prospects.

    If they fail to do so then i believe they will be complicit in continuing the ROT that has set in since certain media moguls & their Corporate advertisers were given free license to play Goebbels & Co. w/ the public.

    The blogs play an essential role in political debate…sparking up the imaginations & memories of the journos & correspondents, & citizens of course…informing others overseas of alternative political economic & cultural views than that which is expressed by the mainstream comminicators…exchanging strategies & ideas between Nations…as a media filtering device…as a research & cross-referencing tool…keeping it REAL…but also providing interesting, way out views…an essential part of the dialectical process, helping to keep voters engaged, informed & laughing…& like Andrew Bartlett’s Party “keeping the bastard’s honest” (and that goes for the Corporate media too, not just pollies).

    The blogs are also great spaces to exchange the odd bit of personal info…motivate & mobilise others…have an act of catharsis during troubling times…& meet other opinionated, verbose, passionate & kooky people…:0

    The butterfly effect…courtesy of bloggers and commentors.

  56. Paul Burns says:

    Well,
    Guess you’ve answeered my question as to whether something is going to be done about the misdeeds of the Howard Government. The answer seems to be a resounding yes. And I’m in full agreement with that so long as that accounting is NOT done by Labor/Green politicians but by an independent judiciary and police. Now my question is:Will that happen?

  57. Mug Punter says:

    OK, I’ll drop my demand for show trials and executions.

    I’ll settle for an airing of the vermin infested cupboards and the courts having a look at personal assaults, deprivations of liberty and the odd case or two of treason.

    Perhaps the ANAO putting the cleaners through Ministerial offices and eleven years of contracts for advertising and legal/IR services.

    All carried out by an independent judiciary and government counterparts.

    Crime, punishment and deterence.

    Though highest on my list, I’m not sure what to do with the crimes against humanity, home and abroad, and dumb-arse foreign policy.

    Plenty to blog about here!

  58. clarencegirl says:

    Forget the departing pollies for now. Let’s get Akerman and Albrechtsen instead! 🙂
    It’s time to take a serious look at how the print, radio and television media convey political information.
    This last election demonstrated that a great many voters were relying on a superficial understanding of the issues as provided by these three avenues.
    The last eleven years demonstrated the media’s very patchy coverage of domestic political issues. I often looked in vain for mention of some aspects of an incident or issue.
    Not all holes in media stories were due to wariness over defamation law or government and judicial supression of information.
    Where have all the good journos gone – or do I have a rosy memory of the past?

  59. Paul Burns says:

    Just to take it back for a moment to past and present pollies. I have a suggestion as to how the bloggocracy can assess the Ruddbot and family.
    Its called the John Winston Howard Meter. It is in the form of a long vertical line. At the centre of the line is 0 or +- . above the 0 a scale of +1to +10, below the 0 a scale of -1 to -10.
    +1 to +10 calculates how different the Rudd Government is to the Howard Government, -1 to -10 how similar Rudd is to the Howard Government.
    So far my ratings are as follows.
    Kyoto +10.
    Computers in Schools +10
    Homelessness +10
    National Curriculum +2 (This one is just an educated guess as I have only one statement to go on and I’m assuming the Rudd Government is not going to be anywhere near as interventionist on History, and more interventionist on English Lit. which I don’t really mind.)

    Workchoices -5
    Tasmanian Pulp Mill -10.
    I guess you can see how it works.
    What do people think?

  60. gandhi says:

    I guess the problem with getting non-partisan enquiries will be ensuring that we do now have “an independent judiciary and police”. I notice Mick Keelty still has not resigned…

    I hope Rudd will quickly take a big stick to the ADF, ONA and ASIO, and a whole new approach to GWOT. To quote Waleed Aly:

    While Britain is more alive to how such “soft power” might be leveraged in counter-terrorism, and is beginning to appreciate more the limitations of pure hard power, its capacity to benefit from this insight is constrained. Our circumstances are more the reverse. Therein lies a certain irony: if only Britain’s potential matched the insight of its political conversation; if only our insight matched our potential.

  61. Ambigulous says:

    Good meter, Paul Burns @ 59.

    By the way, did anyone else hear a brief mention (ABC radio news, Wed 28th Nov) suggesting that the AWB Inquiry may be reopened? They said “Mr Rudd had previously criticised the narrow terms of reference.” As I heard that on the radio, I thought of Blogger Gandhi.

    Yeah, I know: there was no mention of blindfolds and firing squads, but it was a small step in a healthy direction. I’d say +3 on Paul Burns’ scale.

    AWB scandal +3 (if the report was well-founded)

    cheerio

  62. Paul Burns says:

    Ambigulous,
    Glad you liked it.
    Was off line yesterday because of thundery weather in Armidale, but now I’m back to being a blogging tragic.

  63. Andyc says:

    David Rubie (46): “I am strange, I’ll admit it. But when you see someone hurt, or requiring help, you sort them out first before you chase the bastard who did it down the street.”

    If there are enough of you/us, you/we can do both simultaneously.

    The excesses of the Howard Government go way beyond those of any previous unscrupulous mob of Bastards in Power, and *must* be comprehensively tried and punished, to demonstarte that Australians are never puttign up with that again. Yes, Paul Burns (29), there is a first time for everything.

    As Tim Hollo(20) put it: “If members of a previous Government have not been held to account for their misdeeds, members of a new Government can safely assume that they will not be brought to justice for any similar misdeeds they commit.”

    So any government that intends to behave decently will go along with putting a stop to the vicious circle, while dragging of feet implies intent to become guilty.

    Note: it is perfectly reasonable for the people to apply the “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” principle to the government, even though the converse is not true.

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