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Daily Archives: August 12th, 2012

Habits Of The Lesser-Spotted Office Serf

With my first cup of coffee at work I like to listen to Radio National’s AM program via Podcast. The episode for last Thursday 9th August included the story “PMs Power Poles and Wires Cost Argument a ‘Fabrication: Abbott” which at face value looked like it would be 5 more minutes of Abbott on his endless “Ju-Liar” meme.

But as the interview unfolded it seemed to me that Abbott sounded agitated, borderline hysterical. The rehearsed, clinical tone (geddit?) to his mud-slinging, so consistent over the past year was absent and, in its place, something that sounded like a whiff of panic (if whiffs could sound).

“Nah.” I thought, “He’s so far in front…”

Three Streams In Confluence

But then I read the latest polling on the Carbon Tax. On July 1, just prior to the introduction of the Carbon Tax Nielsen reported that 51% of respondents said they’d be worse off and 37% said they would be unaffected.

Just one month later under the lived experience of the Tax, 38% say they’re worse off, while 52% say their lives haven’t changed. That’s a massive change in just one month. And it amounts to a rejection of Abbott’s ‘the Carbon Tax will destroy us all’ stance which is and has been the single most identifiable plank of Abbott’s voter outreach for at least a year.

So that’s was encouraging, but could it change votes ? I believe that Abbott thinks it can. I now suspect that whiff of panic was indeed real. At least for that morning Tones was a tad worried.

Now Tones is right of course that people haven’t received their first Carbon Tax Power bill yet, and when they do they’ll be 10% higher. That could sink the government then and there in one overnight mail out. Julia better pray for a warm spring and a mild summer so people keep the air-con off.

However, on the morning of that ‘power poles’ interview Tones may have also been aware through internal polling that the ALP’s Primary vote was about to leap by 5% in the latest Newspoll, edging in the 2PP to 54-46.

It seems to me to be absolutely reasonable that as fear about the Carbon Tax subsides so should the ALP vote incline.

And then there was George Megalogenis’s comments on Insiders today 12 August. Mega noted that a key turning point in the Hewson-Keating rivalry leading up to the 1993 Keating Federal victory was that the arrogant Kennett Liberal government was elected in Victoria. Within a few weeks of Kennett’s confrontational budget-slashing start to its term voters turned on Hewson fearing the duplication and amplification of Kennett’s style and policies by Hewson at the Federal level.

Personally, watching Newman in action in the first months of his term, I am myself thinking: “This is Abbott Jr. in action”, including the mean-spirited and petty elimination of the Qld ‘Premiers Literary Awards’ and the gob-smacking arrogance of the removal of the paltry $6.50 allowance paid to Taxi Drivers for picking up and attending to disabled persons.

Mega said:

“[the fear of the combination of] Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott are starting to flip Queenslanders out”

And Queensland is currently the key Federal battleground with the ALP facing a wipeout and consequently having the most and quickest gains to be made from any turn-around in voting intentions. If anyone has a handle of emerging polling trends, its Mega.

By the way great to see Mega get the gloves off on Insiders when discussing the barbarian know-nothings currently offering themselves as Australia’s next government.

So, those three streams of confluence, namely reduced antipathy to the Carbon Tax, the perhaps-related ALP poll bounce and the gestational horror in Queensland at a Campbell-Abbott axis providing their governance may have in part or combination produced that whiff of panic enervating Mr. Abbott’s interview performance on AM last Thursday.

To which I say: GO CAMPBELL!!


During my teens I read a poem in Rolling Stone magazine called Bargain.. It so perfectly encapsulated by love of the experience of listening to the radio that I cut it out and blu-tacked it to my bedroom wall where it stayed until I moved out of home. Here it is in its entirety:


“You’ve got to change your evil ways”
The Radio says to me
I’ll change my evil ways
If you show me
How you got on the radio

And This quote by Kurt Vonnegut Jr seems weirdly connected somehow:

I’m eighty-three and homeless. It was the same when World War II ended. The Army kept me on because I could type, so I was typing other people’s discharges and stuff. And my feeling was “Please, I’ve done everything I was supposed to do. Can I go home now?” That what I feel right now. I’ve written books. Lots of them. Please, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. Can I go home now? I’ve wondered where home is. It’s when I was in Indianapolis when I was nine years old. Had a dog, a cat, a brother, a sister.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006