Open New Government thread

Today the Rudd ministry will be sworn in by the Governor General. I suspect there will be press conferences.

Update by MB: Photo added, borrowed from The Age.

rudd sworn in


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36 comments on “Open New Government thread
  1. gandhi says:

    And Bali is opening too! Who said “I don’t like Mondays”???


    The only dark spot so far is Paul Sheehan’s nasty hit piece on Bob Brown, which makes no logical sense. He says the Greens should stick exclusively to environmental issues, but then says Brown should not have criticized Garrett on issues like nuclear power and the pulp mill. Eh??

  2. Paul Burns says:

    Re Garrett. It looks like the
    Labor back-room boys have been busy.
    If Rudd’s performance on the
    Today Show this morning is anyindication, he’ll be in for a very long time.
    Good-natured, hymourous, autheratative and informative and not a lie in sight.
    Compared with Nelson’s recent showings he was
    a delight.
    I particularly liked it when he chided that sexiust Karl Stepanovic about describing Therese Rein as an item, telling him he was in trouble if that was how e saw his own wife.

  3. Mindy says:

    What would people recommend as a good “Complete Idiots guide to Australian Politics?” style book?

  4. Paul Burns says:

    The last time I got trapped in a bookshop and couldn’t get out because I was too busy drooling over the contents on the shelves I noticed the Oxford Companion to Australian Politics. (I think that’s the name.) Being me I coulden’t resist having a pretty good look at it.Its big, thick, probably expoensive and contains hundreds of relatively brief articles on all aspects of Australian politics. It looks like a very good reference book. So you might want to check it out.

  5. gandhi says:

    #3 Mindy, maybe you should consult a complete idiot.

  6. mbahnisch says:

    As a distant observer of Australian affairs, I had some small personal contact with Howard and co. over the years. Merry, feisty, blunt and fair, they were exactly what we need at this moment: happy warriors.


    I don’t know why this sort of thing gets published – Steyn has never been worth reading – careless with the facts, and full of absurd partisan hyperbole. Maybe it’s in there as therapy for mourning conservatives.

    Paul, I’ve seen the Oxford Companion and I think I can get $20 off it in a special offer from OUP. If I end up buying it, I’ll post a review.

    Mindy, the Crikey guide to the election is probably still on the shelves, and while the 07 speculation stuff is out of date, it contains a pretty clearly written summary of the basics of politics in Oz.

    In other news, Rudd is now the Prime Minister of Australia:

  7. As a Canuck, I despise self-hating Canadians like Steyn.

  8. gandhi says:

    I don’t know why this sort of thing gets published…

    Oh, I think you know how it works, Mark! Business is business, as they say! And Steyn is in the business of writing what his Big Business backers want people to hear. It was funny how he starts out citing his anonymous mates as authorities for his worldview. It is indeed a small and dwindling wingnut circle.

    Back on topic, It was a pity to hear Rudd saying that the Defense budget would not be cut. But he did hedge that with talk about cuts to the “civilian” infrastructure.

  9. mbahnisch says:

    Maybe so, gandhi, but that begs the question of why such tripe that appeals to such a small number of people is of any use to those who support the Iraq War, GWOT, etc. The rhetorical moment for Steyn to even be useful in stimulating anger among teh left was so, 2003-ish. It just reads like an out of touch crank newsletter now. The shape of public debate really has changed, and Howard’s end is the final nail in the coffin for any effectiveness of such Downeresque ranting in Australia.

  10. Paul Burns says:

    Lovely picture. Thinking of printing it out and sending it to the Howards.

  11. Paul Burns says:

    looking forard to review of Oxford Companion.
    I don’t object to us having a big defense budget, so long as our trops and equipment aren’t used to support the world’s other madmen, and there is a commensurate socoal/educational/cultural etc. spend.
    We must come out of Iraq. We must very closely examine what we’re doing in Afghanistan. On present endications it isn’t fighting the GWOT, and seems to possibly be deviating into war-crimes territory – about which our Defence Department is of course, absolutely silent.
    Personally, I don’;t think there’s any justification any longer for us being in Afghanistan and I want to see our troops out now.
    Better we concentrate on helping countries in the arc of instability surrounding our north and east.

  12. gandhi says:


    I have moved my reply on Steyn to Gummo’s new thread.

  13. mbahnisch says:

    Thanks, gandhi, I hadn’t seen Gummo’s thread when I jumped into the fray.

    On defence, I don’t think that a smaller defence budget per se is necessarily a good thing (though it may well be). While we shouldn’t be mucking around with Iraq, the GWOT, etc, Australian forces do have a role to play in our region, and I’d also like to see us revive our tradition of being among the world’s top contributors to UN peacekeeping efforts (something we predictably dropped the ball on in the Howard years). As Rob Merkel has been arguing on this blog a lot for a while, what’s important is that we ensure that defence spending is tightly focussed to our actual needs, and all the waste and rorts cut out. If there’s change left over after that, then all the better.

  14. I hadn’t seen Gummo’s thread when I jumped into the fray.

    While we’re in a confessional(?) mood, I hadn’t seen the discussion of Steyn in this thread when I was writing my post on him.

  15. gandhi says:


    There’s no point being a top UN peacekeeping force if we keep undermining the UN on other issues like Human Rights.

    Hopefully those (Howard) days are gone, but I still think diplomacy and economic altruism are the key to building a more stable and prosperous local region.

    Of course, it could involve the domestic tourism industry letting people take cheap flights to island nations…

  16. gandhi says:

    … and OK, being a committed pacifist, I do have to take issue with this presumption:

    Australian forces do have a role to play in our region

    Do you want to explain why???

  17. I can’t speak for Mark, but situations like the Solomon Islands suggest that Australia (in cooperation with regional partners) should be able to intervene to provide security if things really go bad in the small island nations to our north. For one thing, if we don’t, there might be other parties with less noble intentions who will.

    Ultimately, it’d be nice if we could help avoid such situations before it requires putting Aussies in harm’s way. But just having the big stick available, even if we don’t use it, is handy for settling things down.

  18. gandhi says:

    Robert Merkel,

    Is the Solomon Islands part of Australia? No.

    So we actually have no legal basis for military intervention there, or anywhere else in the local region, unless the UN solicits it. It might just be worth reminding people of that, given how far we have travelled in recent years…

    IF we really want to have a military responsibility for the Solomon Islands and other neighbours, then we should sign some sort of agreement to that effect with each country’s government, ensuring the people are also in accord.

    Otherwise, our military’s role (assuming for a moment a non-pacifist perspoective) is to parade around the barracks in the hot sun, scrub the latrines, and polish the rifles, awaiting an attack on Teh Homeland.

    Now, how much money do we need for that?

  19. christina says:

    part of what would assist in situations like the recent Solomon Islands problems is economic altruism before the fact, as gandhi notes – rather than military/peacekeeping assistance after the fact. east timor is an excellent example where the just use of Australia’s power in the first place (such as intervention in Indonesion invasion) could have prevented the devlopment of later problems. i belive that afganistan and iraq also fall into this category, where the west was in a position to prevent later problems through earlier intervention – aid is one aspect of this, but a general aim to reducing the inequalities between developed and developing countries is the only real and long term solution to so-called terror.

  20. christina says:

    gandhi, don’t forget we train soldiers from the US and Indonesia (doubtless other places as well). that costs money too 🙂

  21. Liam Hogan says:

    So we actually have no legal basis for military intervention there

    Gandhi, RAMSI was established after a request from the Governor General of the Solomon Islands, and approved unanimously by the SI Parliament. It might not be pale blue, but it’s pretty legal.
    BTW, how cool is it that RAMSI’s website uses open-source software? There’s a suggestion to Labor for a more streamlined Defence procurement policy.

  22. Mercurius says:

    This photo needs a caption…

    Rudd: “Do I swear to uphold the office of the Prime Minister? You know something? Yes I do.”

    Jeffries : *sigh*

  23. Mercurius says:

    Jeffries (thinks): Where’s Howard? He normally does all my gigs for me. *sigh*

  24. joe2 says:

    This is all pretty thrilling.
    Still, what I really love is The National Party and it’s bold move for generational change. The older generation.,21985,22860641-662,00.html

    In Warren we can Truss.

  25. philiptravers says:

    Look at the spinal column of Messrs Rudd and Jeffreys, health problem there,I have a bit of a gut at times but Rudd s back needs immediate straightening,perhaps his shoes are killing him too.All this formality would of been better served if they went for a reasonable walk and observed how they felt with their stomach and chest pushed forward..for spinal reasons….long days without appropriate weight distribution flexing will have Rudds head sagging his shoulders.

  26. joe2 says:

    Anybody who had the spine to get rid of the old dictator is looking good to me. We might be just sitting here thinking about what a great show we putin.

    Thing is, that tyrant is gone.

  27. kimberella says:

    And we’ve signed Kyoto! Woot!

  28. Paul Burns says:

    Ya! The tyrant is gone. I’m getting e-mails from people I haven’t heard from for years about how good it is.
    I(f the polls are any indication, the Libs about now are slowly waking up to the fact that they made a BIG MISTAKE making Nelson leader. Rudd must be staggering around Parliament House in paroxysms of laughter, (when he’s not working.)

  29. […] for Wide Bay Warren Truss to the leadership of a depleted band of country cousins did inspire one quip from a blogger: “In Warren we can […]

  30. Tony D says:

    Sitting there watching the tube the other day and saw a US Marine teaching an Iraqi police trainee how to shoot.

    This lead to the thought that maybe we should be training Iraqi police to be police, not a militia.

    Clausewitz wrote that “War is … a continuation of political intercourse, with a mixture of other means”. Therefore, it should be recognised that military aims must reflect and enhance political aims, and that political aims can be compromised by poorly conceived military actions. It must also be realised that in an increasingly globalised international system, local actions can have global ramifications. The actions of one US soldier when televised live to the world on CNN can potentially affect the perceptions of billions of people. To ‘win’ wars between state and non-state forces, state militaries will need to ensure local political support is engaged with the strategic political solution being sought. If they fail in this then no military gains will last once the troops depart, as they must eventually.

    So here’s an idea for ADF reform, applicable to our ‘globalised’ world: train a specialised occupation force – comprises it of POLICE trained personnel, backed with SAS filling a SWAT role. Use the Army to ‘win’ the war, then hand over day-to-day activites to the occupation force. Have officers knowledgeable of historical occupations – what worked, what didn’t, how to attenuate the use of hard power to accentuate soft, etc..

    With such a force we could easily justify sending more and more ‘troops’ to Iraq, Afghan, etc… thereby maintaining our political face with the US and our UN peacekeeping duties; and providing troops on the ground whose first response is de-escalation rather than calling in the air support.

    Instead of withdrawing our forces, let’s change the nature and composition of those deployments.

  31. vonomymourf says:

    Is everything fine? Any news?

  32. Phadbaxia says:

    Hi there,
    Is everything fine? Any news?

    Hillary Clinton

  33. ChrisJSIQuit says:

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  34. floydculpin says:

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  35. lizzyfirt says:

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  36. mark (not b) says:

    I have searched to find a GM food related thread – to no avail, so I’ll put it here.
    The new PM, for whom I voted, has completely obfuscated any inquiry on GM foods/plant technology and the obvious fait accompi introduction into Australia.
    This is despite an unequivocal promise in September/October last year that any introduction of this would be subject to thorough and open public discussion and consultation with “stakeholders” before it is introduced into Australia.

    In response to my enquiry re the new Government’s view on the GM issue, I recieved a 2 page letter from a beaurocrat advising me of how the States (NSW and Vic) have autonomy in their considerations (decisions!) based on “an extensive review of the impacts on marketing, trade and investments in those states.” Get the picture ??

    Accompanying the covering letter was a glossy information magazine funded by Biotechnology Australia that explains various processes of evaluation (without having any regard to possible risks). The contents pages pose various rhetorical questions such as “Will GM foods be safe in the long term?” The answers provided aren’t answers, but more just simple statements – such as diet depending on the quality rather than the quantity of what we consume etc. Crapola no info new speak all the way through.

    The person responsible for this whole GM foods issue is not a Minister, but the Secretary to the Minister, Senator Jan Lucas. The whole response is based upon the roles of the various regulatory authorities, but that’s where it ends.

    My original question to Mr Rudd was a simple enquiry regarding this new Government’s view on GM food technology and whether they will continue to follow their Howard predecessor’s route of “whatever Monsanto and Bayer say is OK by us.”

    Sorry moderator – couldn’t find a current thread here and figure it’s worth discussing.

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