Bill Shorten To Resign As Labor Leader

LABOR “LEADER” Bill Shorten is set to resign his post, and possibly from Parliament, next month; with the ALP now recording poll numbers commensurate with his abysmal performance and set to be hit by fallout from the Royal Commission into the unions, Shorten’s departure will terminate a shameful era for Labor. The move raises questions around timing, and of who will replace him to face a snap double dissolution in December or early 2016.

We generally do not break news in this column — mainly because I simply don’t have the resources at present to operate as a journalist on a fulltime basis — but this morning is an exception, and whilst we will relay the news in the conversational discussion style readers are familiar with, the details are very much an early break on a developing story.

Usually reliable sources report that the ALP is preparing for the imminent resignation of its “leader,” Bill Shorten, during one of the two parliamentary sessions scheduled for November.

The development comes in the wake of the leadership change at the Liberal Party, with new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull now outscoring Shorten in some polls as “preferred Prime Minister” by a four-to-one margin, and ahead of the likely release of the final report by the Royal Commission into union corruption and misconduct in either November or December.

It is unclear at this stage whether Shorten intends to recontest his seat of Maribyrnong, in Melbourne’s inner north-west, at the looming federal election, although this column understands there is a distinct possibility he will resign from Parliament altogether.

News of Shorten’s intention to vacate the Labor leadership comes as the ALP’s opinion poll numbers have collapsed on trend beyond the woeful 33.4% primary vote it scored at the 2013 election under Kevin Rudd, and we understand just one further round of shocking polling could be decisive in determining Shorten’s position.

It is understood that rather than face a leadership challenge in the ALP caucus, Shorten will stand aside voluntarily.

The prospect of Shorten’s imminent departure as Labor “leader” comes as little surprise; the motivation for it, however, and the identity of his replacement remain matters for conjecture at present.

Already adversely named in testimony before the Royal Commission, it is possible Shorten — irrespective of whether charges are recommended against him — may elect to vacate the Labor leadership to provide a fresh start for a new leader, freed of the lingering malodorous effects of the dirty union linen that has been aired.

It is not known whether Shorten has advance knowledge of any possible action to be recommended against him and/or his associates from his past career as a union official, or whether such a consideration has motivated his mooted resignation, and this column makes no suggestion or implication to that effect.

Either way, it is understood that a replacement Labor leader will be chosen with a single candidate nominating for the post, avoiding the need for a messy, protracted and potentially divisive campaign lasting weeks or months, and avoiding the risk of a snap election being called whilst the ALP is — quite literally — leaderless.

It is unclear at this point who the new Labor leader is to be: however, factional considerations dictate that the Left cannot simultaneously hold both the leadership and the deputy leadership (ruling out a ticket comprising Anthony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek); Chris Bowen is known to want to wait longer before contesting a leadership ballot, meaning he is likely to run as deputy to either Albanese or to Plibersek.

This column understands that as soon as Shorten announces his resignation, preparations to engineer a double dissolution election that are currently afoot in Liberal Party circles will be activated; the timing of the election will to a large degree depend on the timing of Shorten’s departure as Labor “leader.”

The last practicable date on which to hold an election this year is Saturday 19 December, and for constitutional reasons, such an election would need to be called on or before Tuesday 17 November.

Federal Parliament is due to sit twice in November: from the 9th to the 12th, and again from the 23rd until 3 December: clearly, unless Shorten’s resignation occurs before or during the first of those sitting weeks, any election will be delayed until the new year.

Should that occur, it is understood a polling date in late February or early March is under active consideration.

This timeframe — and the need to be ready, should Shorten pull the pin sooner rather than later — places an obligation on the government to reintroduce whichever of its stalled bills is necessary to the Senate, with great urgency, to provide desired double dissolution triggers that can then be passed at a joint sitting: the Registered Organisations Bill, which if passed will enforce the same regulations and standards of governance upon the union movement as the business community is already subjected to, being chief among them.

But on the other hand, an election at the end of this year or early next carries the prospect of substantial adverse findings against union and ALP figures providing a backdrop to the campaign, against which the ALP will struggle to present a palatable or credible offering to voters.

By way of commentary, I offer that Shorten has been a poor “leader:” this column has consistently refused to acknowledge him without qualification as the leader of his party, when even Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd were thus acknowledged.

Bill Shorten — lampooned in this column as “Billy Bullshit,” with good reason — isn’t a leader’s bootlace.

Shorten’s tenure as Labor “leader” represents a shameful period in ALP history, driven as it has been by blatant attempts to stoke class warfare and envy among Australians, punctuated by mindlessly obstructionist Senate tactics in cohort with the Communist Party Greens and a willing crossbench composed mostly of supposed conservative independents and minor parties, and publicly articulated in fundamentally dishonest terms that have lowered the bar for standards of political decency in this country and unforgivably assumed of voters the lack of intelligence or perception to see through the contemptible tactics on show.

A self-acknowledged liar who has admitted to deceptive and untrustworthy conduct among his colleagues is unfit to hold the leadership of his party, let alone the great office of Prime Minister, and Shorten — in the absence of Tony Abbott, whom Labor personally demonised and defamed for years — is regarded in reputable opinion polling by voters with the contempt he deserves now he has been judged solely on his own merits in the absence of the frenzy his party whipped up around Abbott.

If Labor is smart, it will replace Shorten with Plibersek and give her two attempts to win for the ALP; if it is predictable, it will instead anoint Albanese. Both offer tantalising contests against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: Albanese representing the product of a not-dissimilar background that evolved in a very different direction, and Plibersek (her gender notwithstanding) being a warrior of the Left on many of the issues Turnbull is noted for championing from the Right.

But either way, the departure of Shorten from senior political life will be no loss whatsoever to this country, and in the big scheme of things won’t matter a tin of beans.

Shorten isn’t even yesterday’s man, unless your preference yesterday was for a lying, scheming, manipulative union thug with a penchant for burying axes between the shoulder blades of those supposedly closest to him.

The prospect of Shorten as Prime Minister should horrify even those most apathetic about politics; the emphasis of the ALP in stoking envy, hatred of success and war between classes on his watch has placed a great stain on that party, and Shorten’s tenure at its helm will come to be viewed by Labor people as a matter of deep embarrassment that dishonoured it.

Nobody will miss Shorten when he is gone. This column is waiting, eagerly, for the anointed day to arrive.

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119 thoughts on “Bill Shorten To Resign As Labor Leader

  1. Hi Yale

    What justification would the Libs use to call an election as Shorten quit. Wouldn’t this timing seem opportunistic?
    If the Libs want an early election call it before Shorten announces.

  2. I have been watching all of this play out with interest, particularly the proceedings against the Unions (given my chosen calling is a Barrister)…I am predicting March/April for an election and notwithstanding Palashuck’s success in QLD, I doubt Labor will cast voter memories back into the realm of the last female leader (Gillard) by promoting Plibersek. It just gets better each day.

    • Plibersek will be worse than Gillard. She is of the left and looks at issues from the inner city latte drinkers. We do not need policies that are made up from the latte drinking, twitter feed group. Look at what happened when Kevin Rudd was last in power.

  3. God help us if Pleb-in-a-sack ever becomes leader. She is a nasty piece of work, who would sell out the country for the vote of every minority fringe group, just to maintain power. Shorten does his own stabbing, she uses other people and would gladly cast them aside as useful idiots.

    • My God, you smug, revolting neoliberal misogynistic fascist! Gillard was actually a good PM who was crucified by the dumbed down, gormless, incoherent intellectual MIDGET, the revolting Abbott who remains, without a doubt, the WORST, most malignant and dangerous PM in our history. What is WRONG with you people? The only things that motivate you are corrupt self entitlement and greed. Your vicious, malignant attacks against women and the Greens/Labor movement who are the ONLY government to have actually ACHIEVED something in Australia. Name ONE Liberal PM who has EVER done a single thing to benefit ANY ordinary Australian.

      Do you ultra conservative Libtards know what the following people have in common? George Orwell, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde all have in common? THEY ARE ALL SOCIALISTS! Now, I challenge you to name ONE ultra conservative, right wing person who has done a SINGLE thing that could be described as humanitarian or philanthropic? Name ONE! Furthermore, the world’s most progressive and ADVANCED nations ALL have SOCIALIST ideology, eg Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland and Belgium. You idiots believe your own BS! The fantasy that LNP are better economic managers is PURE DRIVEL … this country has only progressed and advanced under Labor and that has been established. If you look back at all the benefits you enjoy: superannuation, long service leave, four weeks annual leave, sick leave, equal pay for women, OH&S in the workplace and a thousand other wonderful intitiatives, they were ALL introduced under a Labor government with the help of hard working unions and unionists! If you don’t like unions, HAND the benefits back, you hypocrites!

  4. Nice to see sources cited.
    Just because you want it to be true doesn’t mean it’s going to be no matter how much misinformation you post.
    He needs to go but its NOT going to be like this.

          • Yale you are a no talent, Z rated hack! No doubt, previously employed by the discredited criminal megalomaniacal psychopath, Murdoch, eh?

            • And you, sir or madam, are a vile, abusive, belligerent troll who represents the very worst of the blinkered Left and its sycophantic drivel judged on the stream of invective you have posted in a series of comments overnight.

              I find it amusing you thought I wouldn’t allow you your say, but given the chain of commentary you penned appeared at about 1am Melbourne time perhaps, in view of your remarks, you think sleep is a right open only to union diehards as well.

              At the minimum, you have already started making incorrect pronouncements on me, the material I’ve published this week, and a whole raft of solidly left wing union diatribes that I am sure my readers will find most interesting.

              You can pass your opinions on this site if you choose, but keep it relevant: and I suggest you refer to the comment conditions published under the “About” tab regarding abuse and astro-turfing, which I will happily enforce if the tone of what you submit doesn’t improve.

              • Typical response from a megalomaniacal, egocentric Libtard. The fact that someone of your low character despises me is, indeed, gratifying. You elitist, despicably callous Libtards have never been able to withstand justified criticism. And as for calling me a LEFTIST, I am PROUD to be a socialist – very proud. The fact that right wing members of the LNP mention that they champion the rights of the INDIVIDUAL is quite a joke considering that they ONLY champion people who are NOT socialists, communists, muslims, blacks, jews, poor, unemployed, homeless, Catholics or gay or LBT – have I missed anyone? Just PROVES that YOU have not got a shred of credibility nor an ounce of insight!

                Do YOU actually KNOW what a SOCIALIST is? SOCIALISM is NOT communism … as much as the LNP tries to draw parallels with communism, socialism is a COMPLETELY different ideology.
                A SOCIALIST is defined by its very description: someone who CARES ABOUT SOCIETY, who CARES about the rights, independence and egalitarianism of others.
                A SOCIALIST has EMPATHY for the poor, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the homeless, the disabled and the vulnerable.
                A SOCIALIST cares about the future education and employment prospects of our children and grandchildren;
                A SOCIALIST really CARES about the environment and the type of world we LEAVE to our children (as opposed to the rampant, unending greed of capitalists and cold blooded fascists who know the COST of everything and VALUE nothing).
                To be a SOCIALIST is to be kind, generous and compassionate.
                To be a SOCIALIST is to be intelligent, progressive and in tune with our environment and QUALITY OF LIFE.
                To be a SOCIALIST is to have a great respect for democratic process, freedom of speech and the equality of ALL people no matter their race, colour, religion or ideology. We may not agree with what RECLAIM AUSTRALIA says but we respect their RIGHT to say it and they must respect our right to refute it!
                To be a SOCIALIST is to understand that civil, decent societies are JUDGED by the way they treat their poorest citizens and their children (Abbott FAILS on all accounts).
                To be SOCIALIST is a GOOD THING, an honourable thing. SOCIALISTS despise war mongering neoliberal fascism and despicable LIARS and racists who hide behind flag waving FALSE patriotism which they use to divide communities and spread their hatred and vile ideologies.

                When someone calls ME a LEFTIE … I say “Thank you! I am very PROUD to be a leftie!” and when I have a good look at the disgraceful psychopaths who cheer on the Abbott/Turnbull regime, I am even MORE proud of being a socialist and very proud of the like minded, empathetic people who support the socialist cause!

                I just CANNOT believe how you ultra right wing idiots SPEW out the word “”LEFTIE” or “SOCIALIST” like it is a BAD thing. Being called a SOCIALIST is the greatest compliment you can give someone (in my opinion). Some of the world’s greatest, most noble people were ALL socialists INCLUDING Jesus Christ (and I am not particularly religious)! Some of the most famous socialists include: George Orwell, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Fidel Castro (who is much maligned by America), Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, our own Gough Whitlam and many others. Furthermore, some of the world’s most progressive and ADVANCED nations have SOCIALIST ideology, eg Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland and Belgium.

                I would like to challenge right wing neoliberals to name ONE SINGLE person who was an ultra right wing Oligarchical neoliberal fascist who did a SINGLE thing to benefit mankind. ONE neoliberal who achieved ANYTHING that could, in any way, be construed as altruistic or philanthropic! The names that pop up on THIS side of the political fence care NOTHING about democracy, free speech or the rights of others. They are NOTORIOUS war criminals, cruel self entitled CAPITALISTS and/or horrendous authoritarian dictators who couldn’t care two hoots about ordinary citizens, were/are callously inhumane without a shred of compassion often hiding their unspeakable cruelty behind a facade of sanctimonious, bible bashing hypocrisy (like George W Bush and Tony Abbott). When you look back through the ignominious history of the LNP, there isn’t a single LNP PM who is worth a dime. Every commitment made to a vile, nasty off-shore war (such as Korea, Vietnam and the horrendous genocidal Iraqi war) has been under a LNP PM who use war, terror and are prepared to sacrifice millions of lives and spend BILLIONS to distract focus from their horrendous policies and/or use hatred and division for their own political agenda.

                The horrific, terrifying documentary shown recently on FRONTLINE about how George W Bush outsourced unspeakable TORTURE and brutal savagery throughout the Iraqi war will tell everyone just how LOW neoliberal Oligarchical regimes (bordering on fascism) will stoop to in order to achieve their political goals. The cruel, malevolent bastards in the Abbott/Turnbull regime are doing EXACTLY this (overseeing torture, child sexual abuse and even murder) against innocent, vulnerable asylum seekers in their off-shore concentration camps. Indeed, George Bush, John Howard, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton should ALL be charged and JAILED for war crimes. Unbelievably, Bush even changed the LAW so that these brutal killers and torturers became IMMUNE from prosecution.

                http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/iraq-war-on-terror/how-the-cia-outsourced-torture/

                  • My God, you are so typical of the nauseating, smug, self indulgent idiots that follow the revolting LNP! You STILL haven’t answered my question about naming ONE ultra right wing conservative who has achieved a SINGLE thing for ordinary people throughout the world! Reason for this? Because there ISN’T ANY, eh? Revolution against Oligarchical Neoliberals starting soon … count on it, you Z-rated hack!

                    • Socialists have murdered 10s of millions of poor and moderately well-off in the name of social justice, while their leaders have luxurriated in the wealth they have confiscated under the hypocritical claim of striving for equality, including Mao, Stalin and Al Gore. Socialists have justification for claiming the high moral ground.

                • The problem is of course that to provide the “Socialist” services requires government control of the area involved, which removes the Individual from the equation.

                  Put bluntly, a Liberal Democracy is founded on the idea of the primacy of the Individual over the State, Socialism is founded on the concept that the State has primacy over the Individual. Because of the fundamental truth that laws cannot be written for individuals, Socialism requires that all people be placed into their appropriate boxes and treated as members of that “Group”.

                  This is an anathema to the ideals of Individual Freedom.

                  Have a nice day.

                  • Once again, Yale, you have absolutely NO UNDERSTANDING of reality! Allow me to educate you because, clearly, your education and lack of good judgement is seriously impaired! Totalitarianism is a form of fascism – infamous regimes that operated under this system, for example, were Benito Mussolini who coined the term. Definition of Totalitarianism would be VERY familiar to you, Libtards because it is the horrific system of government that reigns, uncontrolled, under the Turnbullshit/Abbott regimes. Definition? Read it and weep:

                    “”Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.””

                    PLEASE get your FACTS straight before you open your mouth and, worse, put it to print. Many people commenting on this site, like myself, had good reason to suspect you are a pig ignorant sycophant to Tea Party politics … now that your vile LIES and callous, offensive and truly misguided propaganda has been put to print – you have removed all doubt! That is all I have to say to you – you are a pompous total oxygen thief. If the tsunami of complaints about your ludicrous, regressive opinions are anything to go by, you really DO belong to the screaming hysterical right wing fringe dwellers of Abbott’s Flat Earth Society.

                    Posterius istuc dicis quam arbitrari stultum !

                    • I don’t need your “education,” Salstarat.

                      One more outburst of this nature and you’re out of here. I don’t like censoring people but when the comments are just baseless bile and ranting belligerence…

                      Ah, what’s the point. Anyone who can coin a phrase like “pig ignorant sycophant to Tea Party politics” isn’t just wrong, or delusional. They’re demented.

                      Final warning, bozo.

        • Yeah he did. His sources are “Usually reliable sources”

          This rando blogger got the scoop on everyone, you just wait for a month or so when shorten resigns, or when he doesn’t and hopefully everyone just forgets this was ever written.

        • Mike, don’t waste your time. Yale is determined to spew out his venomous Tea Party politics without a shred of evidence. If you want to see Z-rated hacks like this idiot run for the hills, just present him with FACTS and LOGIC! Libtards throughout Australia have no connection with either and, in addition, have zero foresight, no insight and not one iota of compassion. Cold blooded sociopaths who are only motivated by relentless greed, remorseless self entitlement and a smug, overpowering arrogance that is truly offensive. Fortunately, these idiots never really amount to anything! Like most ultra right wing fascists, they are forgotten and thumped down into oblivion – take the rabid, reprehensible moron, Phony Grabbit for example, lol! Abbott is a NOBODY now – desperately trying to flog hatred to the world and getting every door slammed in his face! In less than six months, Abbott will be nothing but a nasty, vile little faecal stain on the underpants of Australian political history!

      • Call yourself a journalist, Yale! My God, that’s a stretch! I notice you haven’t even got the guts to print my response to your loathsome pack of LIES on this site! You have as much courage as you have journalistic talent = ZERO!

      • Call yourself a journalist, Yale? That is an incredible stretch! Quite frankly, you are nothing but just another no talent, Z rated, pro-LNP sycophant spewing out vindictive lies, nauseating hyperbole and outrageous scandal in a pathetic attempt to defame the Labor Party or the Greens. Just like the manipulative lying hounds employed by the criminal, Murdoch, you authors of puerile pap and discredited propaganda have done so much to engender the current mistrust and disillusionment that so many Australians have with the diabolical, low standard of gutter press in this country. Shame on you!

        • Wow. You’re quite the nasty pants. The author published an opinion. Whether it’s right or wrong, time will tell. But in the meantime, you should take a Bex and have a good lie down. Perhaps then you might re-acquaint yourself (to the extent that you ever had such an acquaintance) with manners.

  5. No, there is no truth to this story at all. How can we tell?

    1. Sources are not quoted. Unless on matters of national security sources should be named.

    2. “Usually reliable sources report …” is code in the Murdoch media for “We just made this up …”

    3. “this column understands …” is usually code for “this column wants you to swallow the lie that …”

    4. No-one believes newspaper opinion polls reflect actual voter opinion until the day before the election.

    5. After he relieved the country of Tony Abbott, we would expect Malcolm Turnbull’s poll numbers to be at 100% this month. The nation is now in recovery from severe PTSD. So why is Mr Turnbull at such a low 68%?

    6. “the ALP’s opinion poll numbers have collapsed beyond the woeful 33.4% primary vote …”
    So what? Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in Canada was polled coming third with 23% of the vote less than two months before he won the election last week.

    7. Nobody outside the Coalition and the Murdoch media cares what the royal commission finds. It is purely an exercise in generating adverse footage of Labor figures to use in Liberal Party attack ads. Nothing more, nothing less.

    8. The most damaging “evidence” against Bill Shorten the TURC has produced is a dodgy invoice for $38,278. From 2006. Unless and until anything else emerges, the AWU must be regarded as one of the most honourable organisations in Australia’s history.

    9. The assertion “mindlessly obstructionist Senate tactics” is plainly false. The count of Government bills opposed in the Senate shows this is the least obstructionist Senate since World War II.

    10. If the writer had actual factual evidence with which to critique Mr Shorten’s performance, he would not need repeated ad hominem attacks.

    Happy to discuss.

    Cheers, AA

    • Factual evidence … name your source … What are you – a senate committee? No, didn’t think so. This is an opinion piece, the author says he has a source, so let’s see what comes of it. Much like TURC – which has much broader interest, and potential broader impact, than you clearly like to acknowledge.

    • I’ve never seen so much opinionated distraction dressed up as reasonable argument. I suppose you don’t believe the asylum you live in is made out of sandstone because when you bang your head against the wall it only strikes against soft padding.

    • Of course I can’t independently verify the accuracy or otherwise of this article, but nevertheless the claims that you make are unfounded.

      1) It is common practice for sources to request confidentiality when disclosing sensitive matters. Obviously this is not ideal but it is a necessary evil, and the use of unnamed sources here is not improper.

      2) Would you like to provide an example? The same goes for (3).

      4) To the extent that that is true, it is because opinion polling tends to swing in the government’s favour in the year before the election (this has happened in the last six elections at least).

      5) I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that that statement was hyperbole. It is obviously absurd for a politician to have universal approval, and the fact is that the difference between Turnbull and Shorten’s netsats is an all-time record.

      6) With the exception of the last election, that would be Labor’s worst result since 1903. With regards to Canada, they have three major parties instead of two, so obviously what constitutes a good result is rather different over there. Moreover, Canadian polling tends to be a lot more volatile than it is in Australia; a 16% swing during the run-up to an election has not been seen in Australia for a long time, if ever.

      7) According to a recent Essential poll, 42% of respondents stated that the Royal Commission was a legitimate investigation, and only 27% believed that it was a partisan attack. The 42% includes 22% of Labor supporters.

      8) Do you not think that improper conduct in relation to invoices for sums approaching $40 thousand is a pretty serious issue? (I am not sure why you wrote “evidence” as opposed to just evidence. Shorten admitted the existence of those invoices.) Moreover, serious allegations (some of which have been referred to federal and state prosecutors, others of which are questionable even if legal) other than the example you mention have emerged.

      9) I will take your word on the numbers, although statistics would be nice. However, I would make the point that the standard you use is a pretty blunt instrument. What is undeniable is that significant pieces of government legislation have been blocked, and the opposition has not always (or even most of the time) offered viable alternatives.

      10) Given that at the next election Australians will be choosing a Prime Minister as well as a set of policies, a bit of scrutiny of Mr Shorten’s character and record is in order. Ad hominem is not always a logical fallacy.

      • Imagine you were a member of the party, or someone who had inside knowledge of this. What reason would you have to leak this?

        I can think of two.

        1. You want Shorten gone, so leaking this info could help force this issue

        2. You want to build a symbiotic relationship with a journalist by providing them scoops and getting something career advancing in return.

        If this were the case, would you find a journalist for a major publication like the SMH, or someone in the Murdoch press, where your leak will receive widespread impact, or would you contact some random blogger with a limited readership, and a clear anti-shorten bent where it’s unlikely the story will be picked up outside of reddit or the political hack blogosphere?

    • Thank goodness for an intelligent, sensible reply. The more I read this rubbish, the more I realised just what I was reading – yes, rubbish. However, nasty and damaging biased, neo-liberal is what we have become ccustomed to, with this particular Coalition. Quicker they are voted out, the better for a cohesive, compassionate, caring Australia to re-emerge.

      • I agree with the author, getting rid of bill Shorten will bring to close one that “represents a shameful period in ALP history,”. I have always been a swinging voter and have voted for both Labor and Liberal candiates. I will find it hard to vote for the ALP after what they produced last time they were in Government.

        I am also disillusioned with the ALP in NSW. They are crooks, look at Joe Tripodi, Eddie O’Beid, John Maitland, the list goes on. They have been replaced by Sam Dastyri. Working in the NT and WA for the past ten years the ALP members in those states also think the NSW branch are a bunch of crooks.

        The ALP needs reforms. The worse of the ALP is branch stacking.

        http://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2015/11/01/bill-shortens-branch-stacking-history-under-new-investigation-by-the-labor-party/

        Labor lost the last election because they deserve to. No party in Australian history deserved to voted out of office more than that government. With the exception of NSW in 2011 and QLD in 1989. You may throw Brian Burke in their as well.

  6. A.A….The planet “Delusional” must be an amazing place, particularly if the inhabitants truly believe & follow Commandants 7,8 and 9 in your Oath of Allegiance.

  7. Proof that ‘any tool with a blog’ is no substitute for real journalism. By the way, good luck with the ‘newly unified’ Big Business/Redneck coalition. I think the public will look back on the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years fondly once they’ve experienced Abbott/Turnbull/Abbott.

  8. It’s good that a bunch of conservatives get to discuss their own mediocrity. This site is hysterical! Reminds me of those cults that predict the end of the world and actually give a date. Everyone looks a tad embarrassed when nothing happens. Free speech anyone!

    • Isn’t climate alarmism a libtard fantasy you dingbats use to shakedown idiots when you tell them the end of the world is nigh, Harry? No one here has any need to talk about mediocrity except for libtard trolls who pretend they are egalitarian, like those pigs in Animal Farm.

  9. Thanks for that response, Evan.

    1. Why would the source want his/her name withheld on a matter of this nature – not life or death, or national security or criminality? That is the question. Usually because they are lying. So until the writer can get confirmation of the anonymous tip by someone authoritative on the record, there is no story.

    2. and 3. A classic example is the front page story in The Australian here:
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/mutiny-kills-pms-bob-carr-plan/story-fn59niix-1226284538034
    Several unnamed sources quoted. All pure fabrications. Seven of them. A record in the English-speaking world for a front page lead.

    4. No, the recent experience in Victoria, Queensland, Canada and elsewhere shows the opposite.

    5. Yes, hyperbole to make a genuine point.

    6. The point remains valid, Evan. Opinion polls in Australia and some other countries are routinely manipulated midterm for a range of motivations. Clive Palmer has openly admitted paying for the results he wanted readers to believe:
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/clive-palmer-admits-to-rigging-opinion-polls/story-fn9qr68y-1226705354220

    7. Yes. Who paid for that opinion poll?

    8. Yes, any misappropriation is wrong. Of course. But some perspective here, please.
    How much money was allegedly stolen by a senior director of the Liberal Party in Victoria this year? $1.5 million?
    How much is misappropriated routinely by corporations according to ASIC’s regular reports?
    Which are the real criminal organisations in Australia today?

    9. Yes. Have emailed the Parliamentary Library for actual figures. Will advise when I hear back.
    No, there have been few, if any, significant pieces of legislation blocked in the Senate which were not broken commitments and/or opposed by mainstream experts in the field because of their manifest folly. I can’t recall one. Can you?

    10. Scrutiny of Mr Shorten’s character and record is absolutely in order. Calling him “Bullshit Billy” is not scrutiny, is it?

    Happy to discuss further, Evan.

    • 1) One imagines that there are more motivations for wanting confidentiality beyond the fear of being killed, attacked by terrorists/foreign invaders or sent to prison. I suspect that leaking information would be somewhat career-limiting if discovered.

      2) The only thing proven by that article – and just one article, I note – is that on occasion confidential sources turn out to be wrong. (This is not necessarily different from sources who speak on the record.) The accusation you make, however, is of deliberate fabrication. That is a serious journalistic sin and any such accusation should be properly substantiated.

      4) I should have clarified that I was referring to federal elections. That said, as I’ve noted Canada has a different political culture and is therefore not an appropriate comparison. It is also the case that state elections have a somewhat different dynamic to federal elections (for example, the popularity of federal governments has a substantial bearing on state election results; the opposite is not really true).

      5) Unfortunately I did not detect a point. The suggestion that 68% approval is not impressive is clearly not one that is grounded in political reality; I really don’t know what you were trying to prove there. (In any case, if 68% approval is not acceptable, surely Shorten, who falls well short of that bar, is in a far worse position.)

      6) I regret that you did not address any of my substantive points and instead resorted to casting unnecessary aspersions on the motives of others. Firstly, I would suggest that what Palmer claims (a claim which was later withdrawn) is probably best taken with a grain of salt (I’m sure we can agree there), and secondly, it seems bizarre that you are using the Australian as a source when you only a few sentences before used it as an example of shoddy journalism. More generally, opinion polling has a relatively good track record here in recent years, as far as federal elections are concerned, which would suggest that “routine manipulation” is not occurring. There is also no reason for you to believe that this alleged rigging is necessarily in the Coalition’s favour if it is occurring – for all we know they could be even further ahead than the figures might indicate.

      7) The poll in question was conducted by Essential polls, which actually tends to have a slightly pro-Labor house effect. And once again it is disappointing to see that you are more keen to disparage people’s intentions than to address points of substance, in the absence of evidence that would justify that. (Moreover, if it was rigged, who is to say that it was not rigged by, say, the AWU? It could really go either way.)

      8) Are you suggesting that Liberals are not upset about Mantach’s alleged theft of $1.5 million? I recall a strongly-worded article being published on this very website not so long ago on that topic. Furthermore, while misconduct obviously occurs in institutions other than unions, that is no excuse. “Other people are worse” simply does not cut it, in my view, and if Shorten would like to become Prime Minister, he should be held to the highest standards.

      9) I think that the term “manifest folly” is a dangerous one because it excludes the possibility that well-informed and well-intentioned people can have legitimate and genuine differences of opinion. You will recall, perhaps, that Labor has obstructed the re-establishment of the ABCC, an explicit pledge for which the government has a mandate, and which the government was, in my view, right to pledge. You will also recall that for a long time Labor resisted the repeal of the carbon tax, a policy which has not been particularly effective in its stated intention despite its costs (although that’s another issue for another day). It simply is not correct to assert that the opposition in the Senate has served as some sort of guardian of the public interest.

      10) The terminology used may be a little colourful for some people’s liking, but it does reflect a widely-held perception of Shorten which, given his record, is quite justified.

  10. Thanks, Evan. Appreciate that. Some responses:

    1. Yes, all manner of motivations could be in play. That is the danger. Unless there is a name, the source’s motivation cannot be determined. Nor can pure fabrication be discounted.

    2. No. The “journalists” who concocted that front page story in The Australian quoted several “sources”:

    “Senior government sources said last night …”
    “Another senior government figure told The Australian last night …”
    “Labor ministers said last night …”
    “It is understood …”
    “One angry minister lashed out at factional leaders last night, saying …”

    All completely fabricated, as Bob Carr’s appointment confirmed.

    4. The point remains valid that opinion polls in Australia reflect what those paying for them want reflected. Not worth even bothering to read.

    5. Respondents are not about to vote for a new government. They are reflecting how they feel today. Given the extraordinary surge of relief that Mr Turnbull has replaced Mr Abbott, an approval rating closer to 100% would be unsurprising.

    6. Midterm polling is meaningless. Many recent election winners were trailing a year before, some trailing disastrously. Mr Trudeau in Canada is one recent example.

    Regarding Mr Palmer, why would he confess to bribery and fraud if it were not true?

    No, opinion polls in Australia are only accurate the day before and the day of the election. They are manipulated shamelessly at other times. Usually they show the Coalition is doing better than in reality. But not always. Sometimes they exaggerate the Coalition’s poor performance for other reasons.

    7. Correct. We should take no notice of opinion polling whatsoever. That is the point.

    8. All the evidence shows that corruption is worse in business than in unions, and in the Coalition than in the Labor Party.
    Here is a quick quiz for you, Evan:
    Over the last 28 months, since June 2013, fifteen members of state or federal parliaments have been convicted of offences or forced to resign from their party or the ministry following illegal conduct.
    How many were Labor Party MPs?
    (a) all fifteen
    (b) seven, fewer than half
    (c) only four
    (d) none

    9. What would the cost of the ABCC be, Evan? More borrowings? The debt has already blown out by $111.4 billion, or 43.2%. In just two years. Perhaps if the budget was in better shape this may have won approval.

    10. Yes, it may be a widely-held perception. But it is still just abuse. It’s not scrutiny.

    • 1) You opened your first post by saying “there is no truth to this story at all”. That goes a lot further than merely saying that “pure fabrication [cannot] be discounted”. I don’t dispute that this story may not be accurate – I cannot confirm its veracity – but I would call for a little caution before we reject it out of hand.

      2) Is it not possible that senior ministers did indeed opposed Carr’s appointment, only to be overruled? Is it not also possible that they had genuinely believed that Gillard had been arm-twisted into shelving the appointment, but were mistaken? Not everyone who is mistaken is lying.

      4) Why is it then that opinion polls show broadly the same results regardless of who funds or conducts them?

      5) With respect, I think that that suggestion is simply silly. No political leader can command near-universal approval, and simply because you are relieved at a turn of events does not mean that you necessarily like the individual responsible for them. There may be countervailing factors – you could personally dislike that individual. You could be a fierce Labor partisan. You might actually have preferred Abbott, etc.

      6) Once again I make the point that polling in Canada is far more volatile than in Australia and therefore is not a valid comparison. At the federal level in Australia, there is a swing towards the government as election day approaches. As for manipulation in favour of the Coalition, is there any evidence for that? Could you cite a study?

      7) On what basis then did you make the assertion “Nobody outside the Coalition and the Murdoch media cares what the royal commission finds”?

      8) Individuals responsible for corrupt behaviour were very quickly run out of the Liberal Party and in some cases pressured to leave Parliament. On the other hand, individuals such as Craig Thompson and Billy Gordon have been actively protected by Labor (even if they are/were no longer formally party/caucus members), and others, such as Eddie Obeid, were controlling pre-selections. There is a difference between individual corruption (as deplorable as that may be) and systemic corruption.

      9) While I believe that the extra cost of the ABCC is justified (and it is simply farcical to suggest that fiscal prudence is a criteria for the Labor stamp of approval), that is beside the point. There are arguments in favour of the ABCC and arguments against it. My point is that it is not “manifest folly”, and for you to characterise it as such does no favours to the quality of political discourse. (I also note that you have retreated on your claim that every blocked bill was a violation of campaign commitments. It is not the first time that you have retreated. With respect, I put it to you that it is probably best to be sure of the facts before making assertions.)

      10) So long as the accusation is based in fact, however strongly-worded it is it cannot simply be dismissed as abuse. Some of us might prefer that it be phrased differently. Fair enough. But the point stands.

  11. Hi again Evan,
    Thanks for this further input.
    In reply:

    1. Yes, caution is always good. But so is evidence when making claims damaging to someone’s career. There is no evidence in this piece, is there? Just anonymous allegations.
    If the “journalist” knows who has confirmed that Mr Shorten “is set to resign his post next month” he or she has a duty to the reader to tell us.
    What harm can possibly arise?

    2. No. The authors of that piece have form. Particularly Mr Shanahan. He lies routinely. So do others at The Australian. They are serial fabricators. Here is another, more recent piece, also riddled with falsehoods:
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-australian-rewrites-the-history-of-the-abbott-years,8173

    4) No, they don’t. Polls are often quite significantly different. Which is further prima facie evidence they are falsified. Sometimes, however, the interests of those manipulating them may coincide.

    5) Okay. But you get my point.

    6) Why are they more volatile in Canada? Don’t they use the same methodology?
    No, there are no studies, unfortunately. The evidence is almost all anecdotal.

    7) Based on commentary before, during and after the call to Mr Heydon to stand down, and on the clips Mr Heydon has provided already to the Liberal Party for their attack ads.

    8) So what is your answer to the quiz, Evan?

    Over the last 28 months, since June 2013, 15 members of state or federal parliaments have been convicted of offences or forced to resign from their party or the ministry following illegal conduct.
    How many were Labor Party MPs?

    (a) all 15
    (b) seven, fewer than half
    (c) only four
    (d) none

    9) No, fiscal prudence is required for the cross benchers as well as Labor. Had that been in place, the cross benchers may have let it through. Not sure. Labour won’t.
    The ABCC remains a manifest folly because it seeks to focus on just one sector . A wider ranging inquiry is needed than just into building and construction.
    So, no, there is no retreat here. The original assertion was “there have been few, if any, significant pieces of legislation blocked in the Senate which were not broken commitments and/or opposed by mainstream experts in the field because of their manifest folly.” That stands.

    10) No. “Bullshit Billy” is abuse. Pure and simple. So is “isn’t a leader’s bootlace”. So is “lying, scheming, manipulative union thug”.

    Happy to discuss, Evan. (Don’t forget Q 8!)

    • Alan, Alan, Alan…if you are going to mount a stout defence for and on behalf of Shorten, at least quote me accurately!

      It isn’t “Bullshit Billy” — the term you are looking for is “Billy Bullshit,” a reference to the unending drivel that spews forth from him, not to the man himself.

      Whether it suits your reality or not, the description of a “lying, scheming, manipulative union thug” is in fact accurate: he has admitted lying publicly and to his colleagues, he has admitted being a subterranean plotter in leadership intrigues; such activity is by its nature manipulative; he is in fact a union man; and if I want to call the worst examples of that type “thugs” I am hardly Robinson Crusoe, and nor the worst offender for it.

      It is fair comment.

      As for calling him “not a leader’s bootlace,” if you really think that is “abuse” — when in fact, your criticism is ostensibly nothing more than smug but empty posturing — my advice would be to toughen up, Buttercup!

    • 1) Once again you have unfortunately neglected to fully substantiate your first assertion, that is that this article was patently false (as opposed to just potentially inaccurate). But I would make the point more generally that you appear to have a somewhat naive view of journalism. Of course we would all like sources to be named, but especially in a field like politics, it may be the case that the sources have a very strong personal interest in not being named and would not disclose information unless promised confidentiality.

      2) The piece you cite is an opinion piece, which is different from informative journalism. And it was not by Shanahan, as it so happens.

      4) Every opinion poll published since Turnbull’s elevation to the Prime Ministership has a result between 56-44 in the Coalition’s favour and 50-50. (Indeed if we exclude the over-excitable Morgan poll, the top figure is 54-46.) This is the margin of error you’d expect, statistically speaking. Secondly, it is not sufficient to simply assert that the polls have been systematically rigged in the Coalition’s favour without evidence to that effect. As you will be well aware, it is not realistic to assume that every pollster is somehow engaged in a conspiracy against the Labor Party.

      5) Can you please clarify what exactly you were trying to prove?

      6) Public opinion is more volatile in Canada (although there might be slight methodological differences as well). I could speculate as to why, but that’s beside the point.

      7) The views of commentators are not exactly the same as the views of ordinary Australians. And the very fact that the Liberal Party is airing critical advertisements on this issue suggests that people do care.

      8) I don’t have the figures with me, but I will bite the bullet and say (d), for the sake of argument (although I recall otherwise). Even then my point stands, and I refer you to what I said above (which you didn’t address).

      9) Given that the crossbench is composed of Greens, PUP and the like, I’m inclined to question you assumptions about the crossbench’s fiscal views. (There are of course fiscal conservatives on the crossbench, but they are outnumbered.) This is especially so given that the Senate rejected legislation proposed by the government which would reduce expenditure.

      As for the ABCC, you might have a point there. However, I was under the impression that there was a wide-ranging inquiry into union practices currently in progress – called the Heydon Royal Commission.

      10) I think that our friend Yale has adequately addressed that point already.

  12. Yes and no, Yale.
    My defence is not of Mr Shorten but of sound journalism.
    As you know, the number one rule in the MEAA’s journalists’ code of ethics is to report honestly, with disclosure of all essential facts. It specifically says “Do not suppress relevant available facts …”
    So if you know there is a person close to Mr Shorten who is confirming to the media that he “is set to resign his post … next month” why would you withhold that important fact from your readers?
    Item number three in the code urges you to attribute information to its source. “Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source.”
    On a subject such as this, there would seem abundant motives for political enemies to feed you information anonymously. But no good reason for you to conceal their identity.
    So why did you agree?
    Returning to item one in the code, you have an obligation to “do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.”
    Did you contact Mr Shorten’s office for a response? What did they say?
    Thanks, Yale.
    Happy to discuss.
    AA

    • That’s the Good Two Shoes journalism course. The Real Life journalism course is more sensible about things like survival and protecting sources of valuable information. The police operation under similar considerations. Even the mawkishly upright police in the TV series, The Bill, understood they had to protect their CI grasses.

      • I agree Greg. Alan is good-humoured, but is either a very patient pot stirrer or completely naive. He has made a number of completely ridiculous (and completely false) assertions in the past two days about me, my sources, my motivation for publishing Tuesday’s article, and so forth. My guess is that Mr Austin is very much rusted onto the ALP or at the minimum, would prefer to see hell freeze before the political Right wins anything — I stand to be corrected — but even so, whilst his comments are entertaining, I suspect they are deliberately fashioned to suck me into an endless diversion.

        I would do him the credit of a full response, but time is not something I have an endless supply of — as regular readers know, and on the contrary, this year has seen me so short of the stuff it isn’t funny.

        Alan even thinks I am a union member! God forbid… 🙂

        • If you were a libtard or unionist, you would have blocked him by now, Yale. But here we have higher, more consistent standards, and a genuinely liberal outlook, of course.

          • “”Liberal”” meaning FASCIST! There is absolutely NOTHING liberal about the current sadistic, criminally callous and internationally condemned LNP! Under their hateful, vindictive tenure they are now ramping up unwarranted terror campaigns that they use to spy on their own citizens, muzzling free speech, stomping on our democracy and operating off-shore sadistic concentration camps in an atmosphere that pervades a sinister lack of transparency. Australia is now seen as one of the worst, most unconscionably callous, right wing haven for flag waving BOGANS in the western world and it’s all down to Howard/Abbott/Turnbull! Liberal? Rubbish! FASCIST Totalitarianism is the correct definition for the Lying Nazi Party!

            • Actually, “Totalitarianism” is the very definition of “Socialism”. If the Socialist State is going to look after everybody from the cradle to the grave it must therefore have total control over all facets of the persons life.

              It’s called “Logic”, perhaps you’ve heard of it?

              Have a nice day.

  13. Thanks, Evan.

    1. Not at all. I am not the one making unsubstantiated assertions. Just noting that the information provided here – that Mr Shorten intends to vacate the Labor leadership next month – is unsourced and unsubstantiated.
    We shall soon see if it a fabrication, Evan. We do not have long to wait.

    2. My view of journalism is high, but not naive, Evan. The reality in Australia is that journalism has sunk to an incredibly low point where lying and distortion in order to destroy the lives of people who powerful media figures hate is now commonplace. There is abundant evidence for that from the Australian Press Council, courts of law and elsewhere.

    4a. Opinion pieces are not exempt from the requirement to avoid fabrications and falsehoods, Evan, as confirmed by Eatock v Bolt. The factual assertion in Mr Sheridan’s article that “Prince Charles had a number of Australian honours but Philip had not been so richly rewarded by Australia” is plainly and demonstrably false. As are the other fabrications identified.
    Yes, the first article cited was by Dennis Shanahan. The second was by Greg Sheridan. They are both proven serial liars.

    4b. There is plenty of evidence polls are distorted, Evan. Why would Clive Palmer admit to fraud and bribery were it not true?

    5. Having effected the removal of Mr Abbott from the prime ministership, the nation is experiencing huge relief and feeling profound gratitude towards Mr Turnbull. A score of 68% is thus not surprising, and not extraordinarily high. It ought not be interpreted as an indicator of voting intentions at this stage in the cycle.

    6. Fair enough.

    7. Yes, people should care about corruption wherever it exists. They should also care that one political party is spending $100 million of borrowed funds – which current taxpayers or their children will one day have to pay back with interest – on political witch hunts to generate party political advertising.

    8. (d) none is correct, Evan. Since June 2013, 15 members of state or federal parliaments have been convicted of offences or forced to resign from their party or the ministry following illegal conduct. One is a national MP, the other 14 are Liberals.
    All the evidence shows that it is business, not unions, which currently cost the community by their corruption. Refer ASIC, courts of law and elsewhere. And that it is the Liberal Party rather than Labor currently riddled with corruption. Refer the embezzlement of $1.5 million in Melbourne this year, double dipping by Joe Hockey and others, the 14 corrupt MPs still in the parliaments, etc. etc.
    Those genuinely wanting to eliminate corruption will support inquiries into all professional associations, not just ALP-affiliated unions. And into all political parties, not just the ALP.

    9. Yes, the original observations stand.

    10. Yes, I’m happy to pursue this with Yale.

    Thanks, Evan.
    Cheers, AA

    • 1) Your initial statement was “there is no truth to this story at all”. You clearly have not demonstrated that this is the case. All you have managed to substantiate (and I don’t disagree) is that this article may be inaccurate. Of course it might be. That is the nature of political speculation.

      2) If that is so, then your complaint is not with Yale but with the system as a whole. But in this specific case, I’m sure you understand that sometimes there is an imperative to grant confidentiality to a source who might have something to lose from being identified as the source.

      4a) Eatock v. Bolt related to Bolt’s violation of s.18 of the RDA (which I believe should be amended, but that’s another matter altogether). Nothing to do with this. Secondly, all you proved in relation to Shanahan was that his article was not correct. Now, I regret the fact that the media is not always right as much as you do. But incorrect is not synonymous with fabricated. As for the journalists in question being “proven serial liars”, perhaps some proving in your next post might be in order.

      4b) I wouldn’t be surprised if polls are manipulated. However, you have so far not been able to prove that that manipulation occurs to the extent that you claim, and to the extent that we should just ignore every opinion poll that comes out. As far as Palmer was concerned, if there was clear evidence that fraud and bribery did occur, he would presumably be finding himself in some sort of legal trouble.

      5) All I can say is that that’s highly speculative.

      7) You have called for an investigation into the conduct of all professional organisations. This would presumably cost a lot more than an investigation into the conduct of a smaller group of them, so I would respectfully suggest that your complaints about fiscal rectitude are disingenuous. I also think that any potential benefit of this Royal Commission to the Coalition is beside the point. Corruption in unions (and elsewhere) ought to be scrutinised, and if that happens to bring about a political outcome, so be it.

      8) I do recall that Cesar Melham was forced to resign as a party whip after revelations at the Royal Commission. Billy Gordon was thrown out of the Labor Party for other forms of misconduct. There may have been other cases which have slipped my mind. In any case I am not convinced of your assertion, but even were it true, as I’ve said, my point stands.

      As for Mantach’s $1.5 million, it would be unreasonable to suggest that Liberals are turning a blind eye to his behaviour. They are rightly deeply unhappy at him. Hockey’s double-dipping, on the other hand (if you are referring to the possibility that he may draw a salary as Ambassador and a parliamentary pension), has not yet occurred (if it ever will) and is in any case perfectly legal, even if arguably inappropriate.

      9) I’m not sure that you fully responded to what I said.

  14. More UNADULTERATED LIES by a no talent, Z rated pro-LNP hack trying to stir up trouble! What a pathetic joke you sad, bad and totally insane LNP intellectual midgets are! First of all you cheer on the WORST, most pathological psychopath in our history (Phony Tony Grabbitt), an intolerable dumbed down, incoherent bogan who left absolute CHAOS, environmental destruction and managed to oversee the QUADRUPLING of our national debt in only 23 months of catastrophic mismanagement! The damage the totally corrupt Abbott did to our country and to our international reputation will take DECADES to undo and/or repair! Then when the LNP finally kicked that incompetent EPIC FAILURE of a mongrel to the kerb, you all start screaming like banshees. NOW you are backing a self entitled little fascist who is backed by the SAME Old Guard of screaming, hysterical, Oligarchical neoliberal lunatics of Abbott’s Flat Earth Society! The very same notoriously evil CAPTAIN’S PICKS who never stop belittling, targeting and marginalising ordinary Australian people whilst pandering to the staggering greed of the top 1%. The LNPs brutal savagery against defenceless asylum seekers is now the subject of justifiable investigation by Amnesty International and the UN … the criminally callous Dutton, MorisScum and Abbott should be charged and JAILED for decades for their crimes against humanity. Obviously, you are seriously worried about losing the next election otherwise you wouldn’t try over and over again to print such GARBAGE. The despicable and totally discredited Murdoch gutter press and the crap in this pathetic editorial is pure scandalous hyperbole. Once again, you LNP dogs thrive on LIES, deceit, malicious vindictive scandal … there is absolutely NO LINK between the author of the above rubbish and factual, realistic journalism. I notice the bogan who wrote the above statement didn’t even have the courage to put his name to it! What a vile, pathetic excuse for garbage wrap this ignominious editorial is written by lying (and, not surprisingly, anonymous) hacks who are without one iota of journalistic credibility. Has one use – on a hook in a backyard toilet!

    • Your side gave us Kevin Rudd. Your side gave us Stephen Conroy. Your side gave us Peter Garrett. Your side SaladRat, have no common sense. I couldn’t be bothered reading your verbal diarrhea.

      You are also easily influenced. I believe what I experience. You believe what you read. Reading twitter rants and cutting and pasting your selections into endless sentences of drivel is utter crap. Time to make a few more placards at Uni. Just remember Arts degrees are a dime a dozen.

      • Never fear FP, I have blacklisted whoever this idiot is. Whilst amusing we won’t be charmed by this cretin any further.

        Given I am as lax with my veto as I am, it says something that Salstarat joins only the multiple personality BobD/Christine Milne/Larry the Lefty astroturfing sock puppeteer (who was in fact a Sydney graphic designer called Jo) in oblivion.

        Good riddance.

  15. Hi again Evan,

    1. Yes, this is speculation. And character attacks. Speculation and abuse are not truth, are they? Truth is discerned via evidence. No evidence was offered for the claim that “Bill Shorten is set to resign his post next month”, was there? Only an unattributed allegation.
    Requests to Yale for the name of the source have been ignored. And he has not explained why the identity of someone seeking to damage the career of a senior parliamentarian would be concealed from readers, in violation of all journalists’ codes of ethics. So there is no truth evident here, Evan.

    2. The complaint is with anyone who claims to be a journalist but who does not respect the codes, or the readers.
    Yes, confidentiality is important. But in political reporting, once the decision is taken to air an allegation, the name must be attached.
    The editor has two alternatives: either the allegation is aired with the name of the source, or the name is withheld along with the allegation. Otherwise anyone could claim anything, however ridiculous, false and destructive.
    Media ethics 101.

    4a. Mr Shanahan’s articles included sentences which began thus:
    “Senior government sources said last night …”
    “Another senior government figure told The Australian last night …”
    “Labor ministers said last night …”
    “It is understood …”
    “One angry minister lashed out at factional leaders last night, saying …”
    Subsequent events established that what these “sources” were saying were all entirely false. So until Mr Shanahan can explain who the sources were and why they all got it so badly wrong, then it is entirely reasonable to call him a liar and a fabricator.
    He made the false assertions. The onus is on him to justify his actions.

    4b. Correct. This cannot be proved like a quadratic equation. It is a matter of sifting evidence from various places. Some people will believe what they want to believe regardless of the weight of evidence. But they will be wrong most of the time. Not much of a life.
    Mr Palmer would indeed be vulnerable if someone wanted to charge him. But like many areas of white collar corruption today, there is no identifiable victim likely to press charges, is there? And no quantifiable financial loss.
    So he is free from prosecution. He is not free, however, from the disapprobation.
    Nor are you free from the weight of Mr Palmer’s testimony regarding polls reflecting what those paying for them want reflected.

    5. Fair enough.

    7. No, it would probably cost less. Especially if:
    (a) current state ICACs were amalgamated into one federal body,
    (b) this was amalgamated with ASIC, and
    (c) the $100 million spent on the political witch hunts into the pink batts and the trade unions had been allocated to this new federal body.

    8) Cesar Melham was not in the ministry, and has not been sacked from the Labor Party. Billy Gordon has been sacked from the caucus but not the party. When they are expelled, their names will be added to the list and the tally adjusted.
    Meanwhile, the statement is actually true: Since June 2013, 15 members of state or federal parliaments have been convicted of offences or forced to resign from their party or the ministry following illegal conduct. One is a national MP, the other 14 are Liberals.
    It is also true that potential for corruption exists everywhere and should be exposed everywhere – not just in the Liberal Party.
    The fact that the TURC is only looking into Labor-affiliated unions confirms it is an exercise in generating footage for political attack ads rather than genuinely exposing corruption.

    • What all of this really boils down to, Alan, is that you want to know who told me what was going on at the ALP. At the end of the day it is that point (and that only) that really matters in the reams (no pun intended) of comment you’ve published.

      You’ve made assumptive proclamations about me and where the tip-off came from that are strongly suggestive of a mindset that ought to practice what it preaches.

      I am not a member of the MEAA or any other union: and nor, as there is breath in my bones, will I ever be.

      I am not a journalist. I have repeatedly made this point clear over a period of years.

      I am not an employee of News Ltd, and whilst I briefly worked in the advertising division of one of the Murdoch business divisions I have never been employed on the Editorial staff in any of them.

      Yet these and other false suggestions, based on what you have submitted to date, are all indicative of a mindset that is happy to lecture upon but not practice what it preaches, for had you bothered to do any research at all you would know you are every bit as guilty of peddling falsehoods and insinuations as you have tried to accuse me.

      A quick look through some of your archived material online, however, is strongly suggestive — very, very strongly suggestive — that you aren’t exactly well disposed toward the Liberal Party and/or the political Right, and readers can form their own views on that point by perusing the headlines in one online index of your work at https://independentaustralia.net/profile-on/alan-austin,67.

      It may in fact surprise you to know that in some cases I came to share some of your criticisms and toward the end of the Abbott era at least, this column became highly critical of the Liberal Party leadership.

      But as ever, where politically unfriendly observers are concerned — and I am speaking generally, not necessarily simply in reference to yourself — a penchant for allowing criticism of the Right to be made, silently, approvingly, gratefully even, isn’t “balanced” out by an inclination to run off on the attack whenever a similar approach toward the Left is deployed.

      This is something I have repeatedly encountered in the time I have been publishing this forum/column/discussion site/call it what you will, and whilst it doesn’t bother me per se (people have the freedom to express their views as they choose), it’s hardly credible to have it both ways.

      But I digress.

      Having read what you have had to say about Denis Shanahan, it occurs to me that what you really have an issue with (if not simply out barracking for Shorten and Labor) is the practice of publishing material from unattributed sources.

      I simply say to you — and I am not going to be drawn into a protracted debate on this — that I have no intention whatsoever of disclosing the identity (or identities) of the source/s for the story to which you so clearly object.

      Your “requests” have not been ignored, as you say. You will forgive me I’m sure if I draw my own conclusions about what your motives might be. I am simply not going to engage with them. And that’s it.

      Even so, you’ve made your own assumptions about where the information came from. Whilst you’re entitled to think whatever you like, for someone lecturing to me about confirmation and verification it’s a bit rich for you to then run off on tangential conclusions to make your point. Yes, the revelation of the identity/ies of who told me what would clear that up nicely for you. But as you well know, Alan, there is a reason people speak to journalists on condition of anonymity, and in this case perhaps even your conclusions as to why I might choose to agree to that could be incorrect. But that’s a matter for you to chew over. Far be it from me to point out the error or otherwise of your conclusions.

      Happy to have you with us if you want to discuss issues or, with specific reference to this matter, why Shorten is or isn’t in the gun and what impact that might have either way. As a word of caution, I don’t have a huge amount of time at present, which is why I come and go and don’t engage with readers as often or as fully as I would like.

      But if you continue to ask the same question on the same subject please don’t be surprised when you receive the same response you have to this point.

      But again, to conclude this response to you, I have neither the inclination nor any intention whatsoever of disclosing the confidential source/s of information for the Shorten article to you or to anyone else. There should be no misapprehension on this point. And if you continue to chip away, goad, harass, bombard (or insert whatever other word you deem appropriate) then from this point you will elicit silence. If that amounts to ignoring you in your own view, then far be it for me to argue otherwise.

    • Incidentally, Alan, now I have responded to you, I’ve started my look over the morning news: here’s a piece from Laurie Oakes that bears out part of my point, albeit not the part you are interested in: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/six-weeks-since-coup-serious-talk-suggests-turnbull-will-head-to-polls-sooner/story-fni0cwl5-1227588715171

      At the risk of sounding trite, it isn’t referenced in the way you wish either. But clearly, these issues are in play.

    • Name your sources, name your sources, name your sources. Sheesh. Get over it, dude! Deep Throat remained unnamed for over 30 years. Were you outraged/highly offended at that? Journalists frequently don’t cite their sources, because if they did, they’d have no inside information on which to report. News would become a round of press releases, and nothing more. So can you please pull your head out of your backside on that issue?

      And just one other thing – your increasingly strident (bordering on shrill) carry on in this regard is somewhat suggestive of the author being far closer to the mark than you would like to admit.

      As you were.

    • 1) I would dispute your assertion that “Speculation and abuse are not truth”. Speculation has often been accurate in the past, and therefore should not be dismissed out of hand, and simply because a criticism is phrased in what you might consider an abusive manner does not mean that it is not founded in fact.

      Moreover, notwithstanding the fact that Yale has not provided a named source (and I refer you to his lengthy response on this issue above), you still have not substantiated your accusation of deliberate fabrication. You have demonstrated that this article may not be true. I agree. I have done so from the outset because I cannot confirm its truth. I suspect that even Yale himself may not be absolutely confident. But that is not good enough.

      2) Once again Yale has quite comprehensively addressed this issue.

      4a) There could be a number of reasons for this. (a) The sources were mistaken. (b) The sources lied to Shanahan. (c) Shanahan fabricated the sources. Until you have excluded (a) and (b), it is inappropriate to assume that (c) is necessarily true. And if either (a) or (b) are true, it is not up to him to explain why that information was misleading (even if one might encourage him to be more careful in future).

      4b) Nobody is asking for absolute proof. As you say, that would be virtually impossible. But it would be nice of you to present evidence that suggests that systematic manipulation of opinion polls is probably occurring. Even that standard of proof would be an improvement.

      7) I take your point on saving on administrative costs by merging the bodies, although this would likely have an effect on their effectiveness. After all, that is why successive governments have not chosen to amalgamate every organisation in a certain field into one.

      But even on the financial front alone, I would suggest that an inquiry which is more wide-ranging than another is likely to cost more given that it costs money to inquire into things and therefore the more things into which you seek to inquire the more money you will spend.

      As for pink batts, out of respect to those who were killed by the scheme I would ask that you refrain from referring to the inquiry as a “political witch hunt”. Any scheme with such disastrous consequences, and managed so poorly – as the Auditor-General has said – needs to be fully investigated, and any political advantage that might arise from such an inquiry is entirely beside the point.

      8) That proves my point. While the Coalition has driven out anyone who has been revealed to have acted improperly, the Labor Party has approached this sort of conduct in a far more lenient way. It is an indictment on Labor, I think, that Billy Gordon and Cesar Melham have not been treated in a more assertive manner. This proves that whatever the raw numbers may be, Labor has a broader problem on the corruption front.

      With regards to the Heydon Royal Commission, I think that it is not right to suggest that if one set of organisations is to be investigated, everyone must be. Judicial inquiries are set up with very clear and often narrow terms of reference. They are not intended to be broad inquiries against sin and wrongdoing in general.

  16. Thanks, Yale. Appreciate this.

    Australia has many excellent blog sites which contribute positively to analysis of complex issues. It also has several which lie and fabricate and damage the political process. The former deserve support from readers. Occasionally this includes correcting errors. If they are genuine contributors, this will be welcomed.

    The first response arose when your blog, above, appeared on a constructive facebook page with a message of approval. It seemed courteous to post a corrective response on your blog as well as on that facebook page.

    Misunderstandings about whether you purport to be a journalist, Yale, arise from phrases which suggest you do. These include:
    “I simply don’t have the resources at present to operate as a journalist on a fulltime basis.”
    “… we will relay the news in the conversational discussion style readers are familiar with”
    “… the details are very much an early break on a developing story.”

    Being “well disposed toward the Liberal Party and/or the political Right” or to Labor and the political left is not the issue. Everyone is entitled to their personal political bias and party affiliation. The more biases and partisan spruiking the better.

    What is highly damaging, however, is deliberate falsification of information and “news”. This should be exposed and opposed whenever it occurs. One way to minimise this is for all of us engaged in political discourse to observe the codes of ethics, whether we are association members or not.

    The rule on protecting sources applies to specific situations. It does not apply to published allegations damaging to a person’s livelihood from a political or commercial enemy.

    CJ raises the matter of the Watergate investigation. This is highly relevant. So more on that shortly.

    Thanks, Yale.

    Cheers, AA

    • I think you’re just having a fine time trying to poke a conservative discussion forum and its participants in the eye, Alan.

      With respect, your post was not a “courteous corrective message,” it was a series of directives and instructions. Perhaps you are a fine journalist, Alan. But you’re not God, and you certainly don’t have any authority over me or what I publish here. There’s not much point trying to bully me, however reasonably couched the message might be.

      I might use some colourful phraseology from time to time, but one thing I don’t do is fabricate material. This is not the News of the World. I appreciate that you don’t like the fact I chose to publish a tip-off received from usually reliable quarters, but I am under absolutely no obligation whatsoever to disclose the identity or identities of the person or people involved.

      So leave that one alone, eh? Time will tell if the information was correct or not. And as I said in a follow-up piece a couple of days later, there is scope for the resignation to occur in early December (i.e. a few days after the arbitrary timeframe suggested) or, speculatively, that Shorten could hold on for a while out of desperation. This is politics. It’s fluid. And again, you should know that, irrespective of which side of the fence your own allegiances might lie.

      This site is a DISCUSSION forum, not a news portal — something I have been explicitly clear about since day one. It has a core readership that is well aware of the fact I am not a journalist, and if the irony in one remark you have zeroed in on escaped you as a newcomer, then there you go.

      But relaying news Bill Shorten will resign is not an “allegation,” to use your term: what have I accused him of? What false offence have I slurred him with? Other than suggesting — in admittedly colourful terms — that he is full of shit, based on the drivel that passes for his contributions to political debate, I haven’t accused or prejudged him on any of the various legal issues that have erupted during his tenure (and have in fact been careful not to do so). But what are we to do if Shorten quits: prosecute him? What is the penalty for resignation? It’s a straw case you make on that one. And of course, an election called in the next week or two would make the entire question redundant. Again, this is politics we’re talking about, not dentistry or flower arranging. Literally anything might happen.

      (This site has also been critical of Liberal Party figures over the journey, too, just in case you think I only target Labor and the greens).

      In any case, the only surprising thing about speculation over Shorten’s resignation (or removal by his MPs) is that there hasn’t been more of it. He’s hopeless. Unelectable. And a good number of Labor people I know, fearful of retribution for saying so openly, agree with that assessment. And I disagree with you completely that speculation over his position is “damaging to (Shorten’s) livelihood.” The contention is based on a false premise. He’s a politician; people speculate over their fortunes and career trajectories incessantly. It goes with the turf.

      We may have to agree to disagree on my refusal to disclose a source to avoid this ending in an acrid stalemate. I’m fair-minded about these things, but I have to say it is beginning to look like nothing more than petulance on your own part. How many times do you have to be told “no” before you realise I am not going to budge on this? You have your reasons for wanting to know. I have mine for agreeing to maintain confidentiality. But let me be brutally candid that there is and was NO fabrication, and frankly it is insulting for someone clearly of considerable intelligence (if not, perhaps, someone I might at other times agree with) to be making baseless accusations of that kind.

      Especially when you are issuing moralising lectures whilst incorrectly declaring me a MEAA member, a News Ltd journalist, speculating (wrongly) about the source of the information I received, and so forth — all things that are just as bad as what you’ve been writing lengthy essays accusing me of.

      As a side issue (and bearing in mind that unlike the case of the dickhead Salstarat I had the misfortune to have to blacklist yesterday — amusing as he was in some respects — I would prefer to keep this light-hearted if possible) the Watergate debacle, and indeed the entire Nixon presidency, is a matter of great personal interest. A discussion of it would be most interesting. But for the love of God, Alan, if you are simply going to use it as a pretext to continue to bang on about the same stuff, I’d as soon leave it out if it’s all the same to you.

  17. Hi CJ.

    Pretty sure the Watergate saga supports my position rather than Yale’s and yours.

    There was no publication of any information from Deep Throat without confirmation from other sources, was there?

    The book ‘All the President’s Men’ by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward quotes editor Howard Simons’ edict that nothing would run in The Washington Post unless it was confirmed by sources quoted on the record.

    Metropolitan editor Harry M Rosenfeld told them: “You’ve got to make sure none of that gets into the paper unless it’s fully supported.”

    In May 1973 Bernstein and Woodward knew that two New York Times reporters’ telephones had been illegally wiretapped. One reliable informant had given their names – Neil Sheehan and Hedrick Smith. The editors demanded confirmation from a second source. Frustratingly, they could not find another, so the names weren’t published.

    At another critical stage, Bernstein and Woodward had three informants confirm that the President’s chief of staff John Haldeman was one of the controllers of a secret political slush fund. The editors were unsure. This was a serious allegation. They demanded four.

    The fact that these basic rules are violated routinely in Australia is one reason the country is now governed so poorly.

    Cheers, CJ.

  18. Hi again Yale,
    Have just read the item you linked by Laurie Oakes.
    It is entirely free of unsourced allegations
    Not one malicious insult to be found anywhere.
    It offers no speculation regarding the future of Mr Shorten, does it?
    In fact, it doesn’t mention him at all.
    A

    • No. The point is that it introduces talk of an early election — something else I alluded to in my own piece.

      This, however, deals with the Labor leadership.

      The point is that the labyrinth that could force Shorten from his post is coming together — these things are not linear. All the ingredients are there. The Oakes piece was for interest, not to provide another opportunity to pry the identity of a source out of me.

      However, as per the lengthy response I posted some minutes ago to another of your demands to know who told me Shorten would quit, I fear you and I are going to have a very short conversation on politics indeed. If you can’t see that the approach you are taking — assuming a cloak of the high moral ground for cover, which I have already shot holes through — presents as either a troll or a Labor sycophant trying to be a pain in the arse, I’d be stunned.

  19. Hi again Evan,

    1. No, speculation is not truth.
    These are all speculations:
    “Mr Shorten will lose his position next month.”
    “Mr Shorten will keep his position next month.”
    “Mr Shorten will win the next election.”
    “Mr Shorten will lose the next election.”
    They are not all true, are they?

    No, it is not for the sceptical reader to prove falsehood. It is for the writer publishing a malicious allegation to prove it is true.
    If Yale did indeed have a valid reason for withholding the name of his “informant”, don’t you think it would have been offered by now?

    4a. Similarly, now the multiple allegations against Ms Gillard by Dennis Shanahan have been proven false, it is for him to explain how and why this happened. Perhaps an apology from the publishers might be in order as well. Until these are offered, it is entirely fair for readers to regard Mr Shanahan as a fabricator. Especially as this happens quite frequently.

    4b. The evidence of poll rigging is overwhelming, Evan.
    Clive Palmer’s testimony is only one recent item. Enough former employees of polling companies in Australia and elsewhere have also blown the whistle.
    Have you noticed that Newspoll sometimes has footnotes like this: ‘sample adjusted to reflect population distribution’? In other words, the results published in the newspaper bear little or no resemblance to what respondents actually told us on the telephone.
    You still have not answered this question, Evan: Why would Clive Palmer admit to fraud and bribery were it not true?

    7. Not at all, Evan. The opposite is true regarding the pink batts scheme. It served not only to save Australia’s economy from recession and deep unemployment – alone in the Western world – but actually saved lives in the order of 350 to 450 – as sworn testimony and documentary evidence tendered to the royal commission established.

    8. Yes and no, Evan. “While the Coalition has driven out anyone who has been revealed to have acted improperly …” is simply not true.
    Several Liberals who have admitted to or found guilty of impropriety remain party members, including Barry O’Farrell, Troy Buswell, Paul Nicolaou and Bronwyn Bishop.
    More to the point, Evan, how many Liberals have not yet been revealed to have acted improperly?
    That is a question a full inquiry into all political parties can answer.

    • 1) Speculation is not necessarily truth, but can be true. Simply because a statement is speculative does not mean that it has been deliberately fabricated, as you claim. In any case, instead of playing word games about the meaning of speculation, I would appreciate it if you were to substantiate your allegation of deliberate fabrication. Where is the evidence?

      As for valid reasons for withholding names, you will no doubt be aware that often sources will not divulge information unless promised confidentiality.

      4a) You have just repeated an assertion and failed to address my comments at all.

      4b) Your assertion was that polling was systematically rigged. It is all very well and good to speak of “overwhelming evidence”, but unfortunately you have not presented any apart from vague references to “former employees”. As for Palmer’s comments on this matter, they may well be true. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that they are true. That would prove that he had tried (successfully or otherwise) to rig one poll or several polls. I would not consider that systematic manipulation.

      As far as sample adjustment is concerned, that is a necessary statistical technique. If your sample under-represents one demographic group, you’d have to weight their responses to obtain an accurate representation of the population. This generally increases the accuracy of polls.

      7) I note that you’d only responded to a very small part of my comments. I must take exception to your assertion that the pink batts scheme saved lives. The Hanger Royal Commission and the Auditor-General came to a very different conclusion and even Kevin Rudd accepted that the outcome was a “deep tragedy”. and if you seek to assert that the opposite is in fact true then you had better have very good evidence to support you assertion.

      So far as preventing recession is concerned, you have again presented no evidence. I note that at the time our terms of trade were absurdly high and the mining investment boom was in full swing. Indeed in the absence of the boom we would have suffered a projected 1.5% fall in GDP. There are therefore other explanations for our relatively strong economic performance. Even if you are right in suggesting that the stimulus program was the primary cause of this, the pink batts scheme (a) was only a very small part of that program and (b) the money could have been spent in a more effective manner elsewhere without any loss of alleged stimulatory effect.

      8) There was no issue of criminality or even deliberate misconduct in the case of O’Farrell, and I regret that you’ve felt it necessary to suggest otherwise. While Buswell certainly did a few questionable things, again there was no issue of criminality of which he was not cleared (apart from a few traffic offences which are hardly hanging offences). And in any case he suffered from mental illness, so we should cut him a bit of slack. As for Bishop, expenses issues are not really that exceptional in politics and, while deeply regrettable, should not be treated as such. She was right to resign as Speaker though, but we are still waiting on Tony Burke, who hypocritically went after Bishop despite skeletons in his own closet. (As I’m not privy to the internal dealings of the Liberal Party I can’t comment on what has been done to Nicolaou.)

      In any case, while you may be able to point to alleged oversights in individual cases, I would still far prefer the Coalition’s record on dealing firmly with misconduct than Labor’s.

      As for your question “how many Liberals have not yet been revealed to have acted improperly?”, I can only say that it is quite absurd to criticise an organisation on the basis of hypothetical misconduct of an unspecified nature which may or may not have happened, committed by unspecified hypothetical individuals who (whoever they may be, if they even exist) have not been the subject of an substantive allegation (much less evidence).

      • Hi Evan, I regret the need to do this, but in addition to the points you raise — and the unfounded and baseless accusations Alan has made of me, which you will have read — it is necessary to point out to all readers that however pleasantly written his missives are, he is nothing more than a blinkered keyboard warrior of the Left. Moreover, he appears driven by a near-hatred of the Right.

        https://twitter.com/alantheamazing?lang=en

        https://independentaustralia.net/profile-on/alan-austin,67

        As for half-truths, deliberately misleading propaganda and committing the sin of omission, this garbage piece from Crikey http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/09/01/australia%E2%80%99s-government-debt-look-over-there-bill-shorten/ makes the factual point of rising government debt since 7 September 2013, but fails to utter a syllable on known ALP strategies prior to the election of that date to “booby trap” the federal budget to render it unmanageable and uncontrollable to a Liberal government, the Wayne Swan strategy of pulling income forward and pushing expenditure out to try to artificially create a budget surplus for 2012-13 (it failed), and nor does it make any mention of the impact of the obstruction of government legislation in the Senate regarding revenue and expenditure measures since the present government took office.

        (Largely for Mr Austin’s benefit, I reiterate what regular readers of this column well know: despite the efficacy or otherwise the 2014 budget may have had in redressing the budget bottom line I was critical of it from the time it was delivered, and Alan can read an early article to that effect here, and a typical piece penned once the smoke from that budget cleared and the full import of its ineptitude became apparent here).

        In fact, many of Mr Austin’s missives (and the links provided to a couple of them will quickly bear this out) border on the “abuse” he has sought to accuse me of here. It’s the old adage among political warriors: when we do it, we’re merely stating the facts as they stand; when they do it, it’s abuse, defamation, intimidation, bullying, lying, and — as some on the Left are wont to throw accusations of far too lightly — corrupt.

        If Alan wants to come in here and openly engage in debate as a left-wing political operative I am happy to join those arguments. I think he might have something to add to the discussion even if I, and others, disagree with him. But we don’t need moral masters in our midst: contrary to Alan’s assertions, we don’t fabricate material here, we don’t defame people, we don’t present some imagined conservative Nirvana as fact when it is not, and we are careful not to overreach in our speculation of the likely course (or otherwise) of political events. We are right far more often than we are wrong, although the very nature of politics dictates some calls made will invariably go awry. Others — such as the correct prediction the Queensland LNP would be defeated less than nine months after it was elected in a landslide in 2012 — should be indicative to people like him that there is some degree of serious comprehension of the material at hand at the very minimum, even if they dislike its import from time to time.

        However, a close examination of his own publications shows his posturing and lecturing to this column to be little more than an exercise in gross hypocrisy.

        I am not prepared to have the comment forum attached to this site filled with endless empty lecturing and (very polite) rants from someone who a) is not engaging with discussion (beyond trying to make a fool out of me) when b) he singularly fails to practice what he preaches.

        A message to Mr Austin overnight, highlighting some of the factual errors contained in his statements on this site about me personally — whilst attempting to remain open to legitimate political discussion with him — was ignored, and the fact it has been received and ignored is evidenced by the fact he posted a further two times well after I published that message to him.

        In almost five years of publishing this site I have only ever blocked two people from participating: “Salstarat” on Friday (who was amusing, to say the least) and an astroturfer whose multiple personality constructs were kicked out early this year.

        Loath to censor, I am reluctant to add to their number. But if all Alan wants to contribute is a spam feed consisting of a regurgitation of the same points over, and over, and over again, then regrettably, I won’t hesitate to do so.

  20. Hi again Yale,

    Always happy to respond to questions. I have only discerned one from you, however, which seemed more rhetorical than seeking information.

    “But relaying news Bill Shorten will resign is not an ‘allegation,’ to use your term: what have I accused him of? What false offence have I slurred him with?”

    Mr Shorten is continuing to present himself to the public as the long-term leader of the Labor Party, as you will know from his daily media releases. As such he is announcing policy decisions and negotiating with interest groups on future policy decisions. He is also continuing to negotiate with the Liberal and National parties, the Greens and the minor parties – those in the current Parliament and those who hope to be in the next one. These negotiations and agreements are made on the basis that he is the unchallenged elected leader and intends to stay there through what looks like being a challenging election campaign.

    If he has made a decision to resign but has not announced this publicly, then that is a form of deception or fraud on the electorate and the groups with which he is negotiating.

    Your other concerns, Yale, have pretty much been dealt with in response to the direct questions from Evan, don’t you think?

    “Having read what you have had to say about Denis Shanahan, it occurs to me that what you really have an issue with … is the practice of publishing material from unattributed sources.”

    Yes, that is correct.

    “Alan even thinks I am a union member!”

    Not at all, Yale. I am not either. All of us who seek to engage in the world of public online publishing ought respect the basic codes of conduct, whether association members or not.

    “He has made a number of completely ridiculous (and completely false) assertions in the past two days about me, my sources, my motivation for publishing Tuesday’s article, and so forth.”

    No, I don’t think so, Yale.

    But if so, quote them back and I will retract, explain, validate or whatever, as required.

    Your advice I will take on board. Thanks, Yale.

    Happy to discuss all these and anything else.
    Cheers,
    AA

    • A few points Alan, and then we can hopefully move past this. As I have said, there is no point bogging down in an acrid stalemate, which is where this has been at risk of heading for some days.

      I think you take a rose-coloured view of Shorten’s positioning as the “long-term leader of the Labor Party,” and in doing so make a quite literal presentation of the functionalities of that role as opposed to any realistic appraisal of the political realities that surround it. Tony Abbott was making similar utterances about his own position as late as the morning of the day he was dumped. Bob Hawke gave an interview to the Bulletin magazine in mid/late 1991 in which he outlined a fifth-term vision that included the anointing of a successor other than Keating. Andrew Peacock’s lieutenants in 1989 boasted of the utter dishonesty they used to lull Howard into a false sense of security, and Malcolm Fraser told John Gorton to get a good night’s sleep before knifing him the following day. These are merely the first examples that spring to mind. In all cases the leader went about his business — sometimes believing in the potential longevity of his tenure, and sometimes suspecting or knowing it to be predicated on a lie — but in all cases, the incumbent has to present a public face. We can disagree, but I believe those motions are the ones Shorten is going through at present.

      I agree — if he has made a decision but not announced it, then it indeed would be deceptive or fraudulent. But what if he hasn’t made the decision — or doesn’t yet know that he will “make” it, if you follow me? The only thing i will say to you in relation to my information is that it did not come out of the opposition leader’s office. These events, I think, are very much in flux. Someone I know a little, close to the ALP, is trying to tie me to a 30 November deadline as a non-negotiable, final cut-off as proof of the veracity or otherwise of my information. But if it spilt over a few days until the end of the parliamentary sitting, that might be strategically sound (for a new leader to get the benefit of the silly season press) whilst not particularly disproving the tip I received. If others are trying to crowbar Shorten out and he scraped out a couple of months until the new year but was still dumped, that wouldn’t necessarily disprove the basic premise of the information I received either. Unless an election is very quickly announced (not at all impossible, you will agree) to lock him in, I think 2016 (if he were to make it that far) would see the desperate ALP beast dump Shorten as it dumped Rudd, Gillard, Crean, and undermined Latham. Labor is ruthless in its quest for power. These are its tactics. With chief electoral trump card Tony Abbott now on the backbench, Shorten has nothing to offer by way of a winning formula, and his party is awake to that.

      You will forgive me if I have misunderstood you, but at various times in the past few days I have been given the distinct impression you believed I was an MEAA member, a News Ltd journalist, or a working journalist at all. Any suggestion I would join a union is laughable (there’s a better chance of spotting sunrise in the west tomorrow). The other two are simply not true. By the same token, you may have drawn a not unreasonable conclusion on the third point if you are unfamiliar with the ongoing conversation that happens on in this column, and that would be the simple explanation were any lack of clarity to have been conveyed on my own part.

      Having said that, I accept your assurances at face value. However, there is obviously a key difference on the use of confidential sources over which — on this occasion at least — we will have to agree to disagree. Even so, this site isn’t in the business of fabricating anything, although (the Shorten issue aside) I have gone out on a limb from time to time on instinct and a reading of political circumstances as I see them. The LNP election loss I alluded to earlier today is one such example. People thought that was a hilarious pronouncement to make. They didn’t laugh so much when it turned out to be accurate. There have been others.

      I have a clear idea of where you sit on the Left-Right spectrum and whilst I sit on the mainstream Right, you should be assured that redneck positions associated with the lunar Right don’t find all that much oxygen here. I am aware that some readers are further to the right than I am, just as others are to the left. The point of this site is to have a discussion about things, and differences of opinion are valuable to that. As it’s just me running the site, in my spare time as an outlet for a love of politics (the “lack of resources” bit that probably helped give you the idea I work as a journalist as well as this, which I don’t) I don’t get to every issue I would like and sometimes don’t get to devote the time I would like. As it is this weekend, I have been responding to you between gaps in a heavy slate of other work. But should you wish to participate in discussing issues, you are more than welcome to do so, with the rider that we will disagree, that I don’t get to respond to everyone, and whilst I would like to publish daily, 5-6 pieces a week is the usual — and in the past few months 3-4 if I’m lucky. Busy times. But I digress.

      It is true I have little time for Bill Shorten, and that Labor’s last three leaders all seem to have had deep, deep defects either politically, as individuals, or both. But to be frank, I would like nothing more than Shorten leading Labor at the next federal election. I think if the ALP has any brains it will get rid of him, and as quickly as possible. Time will tell if it does or not.

  21. Hi again Yale,

    1. No, I have no view of Shorten’s positioning as Labor leader. But I’m not involved in negotiations relating to programs worth billions and the future of the country. Those who are will need to know at the earliest if he is set to resign.

    2. Regarding: “I think 2016 (if he were to make it that far) would see the desperate ALP beast dump Shorten as it dumped Rudd, Gillard, Crean, and undermined Latham.”
    No. The party rules have changed. The processes which allowed removal of those leaders no longer apply.
    The dominant view among Labor supporters seems to be that policy development and announcement are on track; all portfolios are well-managed; the first Coalition leader and several prominent ministers have been shown the door; bipartisanship has been restored with the new PM; so business is proceeding.
    Changing the leader will not change the unprecedented obsessive attention the mainstream media and parts of the new online media are showing this fairly ordinary, unremarkable politician. They will seek to destroy Ms Plibersek, Mr Albanese, Mr Bowen or anyone else in the same manner. The opinion polls will be manipulated just the same.
    As long as that is their view, there seems no real impetus for change.

    3. No, I have not thought you were a member of an association or a working journo, Yale. I did hope, however, that you were aware of the codes and respected them. This is the huge value and potential of the alternative media – that they aspire to higher standards than the old media and serve the community better.

    4. Regarding: “Labor’s last three leaders all seem to have had deep, deep defects either politically, as individuals, or both.”
    Certainly. But which leader doesn’t have defects?
    The critical issue is how they manage to run the country. For all the media focus on the leadership issues between Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard, they still managed to produce the best-performed economy in the world – as measured by all the key indicators. Some say Australia’s economy in 2012 and 2013 was the best the world has ever seen.
    The electorate may well decide that party policies which maintain standards of living are more important than defects in individual politicians.

    • I don’t know if you are aware, but the Rudd leadership model is easily circumvented by a vote in Caucus to set those rules aside (requiring only an absolute majority to succeed) and following that with a straight leadership vote also requiring an absolute majority (currently 41 of 80 votes if everyone shows up).

      In recent months, chatter has emanated from Canberra to the effect people around Plibersek had been out looking for the 48 votes needed to satisfy the 60% rule that applies whilst the ALP is in opposition. That chatter always came with the rider they were always several votes short. Such whispers have died out since the Liberal leadership change. However, should the party elect to dump Shorten, it is obvious they will use the procedural mechanism and not to “Rudd rule” were Shorten to refuse to go. As I understand it, the justification would be built around the fact Shorten scored less than 40% of the support of rank and file members in 2013.

      I have also realised from this comment that you like to present your points in lists, and that this was not a phenomenon particular to your initial set of comments. Now I know that, I can work with it.

      Regarding what you term the “alternative media” (and there are a lot of terms around for it: nobody seems to have settled definitively on what to call it) I agree. In my own case, one objective is to make the direct calls in commentary that are cloaked in spin in political circles and shunned in the mainstream press. You will find some colouful language used from time to time — not gratuitously, and as often as not in quotation of people rather than in reference to them — but one of the (many) reasons people are fed up with politics is they perceive it to be too full of BS. So here, we call things as we see them. It’s not a licence to behave like the News of the World, or some of the other comment sites floating around that trade on outrage, bad language and defamatory judgements (actual defamation, rather than simply making blunt calls). I call it as I see it — when I can find the time to call it at all, that is 🙂

    • Are there 10 comments in the string? WP limits it there because of the concertina format its comment strings follow. Other than that I have no idea — I haven’t made any changes to your access at all.

  22. The main problem with the mainstream press, Yale, is that they lie to you routinely.
    The greatest offenders in the English speaking world, of course, are the Murdoch outlets, as demonstrated overwhelmingly in the USA, the UK and Australia.
    In Australia you have the findings of the Australian Press Council, various findings of courts of law and other tribunals, and the results of a number of academic research exercises.
    You have referred to The Australian in your recent post regarding tax reform. Why, Yale?
    Do you believe what you read in The Australia without checking?
    If you have to check, why bother accessing it in the first place?
    (PS. This is sent in part as a test. Other posts are not accepted.)

    • Your “test” was successful.

      In any case, the links to the Oz were predominantly outlines of options Under consideration and timelines that are being reported across the board (and in fact are the actual options being canvassed).

      I include a lot of links for reader interest — and often enough they come from Fairfax and sometimes the ABC, as well as non-mainstream and international sources.

      Please don’t tell me you are going to start campaigning for an end to posting links here fromMurdoch-owned publications? It AIN’T GOING TO HAPPEN, Alan!

  23. Hi Evan.

    1. “Speculation is not necessarily truth, but can be true.”
    That is correct. And we will soon see.
    Regarding “I would appreciate it if you were to substantiate your allegation of deliberate fabrication. Where is the evidence?”
    Not at all, Evan. I didn’t assert this was deliberate fabrication. It is possible Mr Shorten has decided to resign in November and has communicated this to associates, one of whom has confirmed it to Yale. I simply noted that “Unless there is a name, the source’s motivation cannot be determined. Nor can pure fabrication be discounted.”
    I did say Mr Shanahan and others employed by Rupert Murdoch engage routinely in fabrication. That is the case.
    Regarding: “As for valid reasons for withholding names, you will no doubt be aware that often sources will not divulge information unless promised confidentiality.”
    Yes and no, Evan. The issue is not with divulging. The issue is with publishing what is divulged. For a legitimate publisher to “promise confidentiality” there must be a good reason. Especially where the information published will damage the reputation or career of the person being attacked and cause potential harm to many others. Yale has not offered his reason for concealing his informant’s identity, has he?

    4a. No. Pretty sure all your comments have been addressed, Evan. If anything has been missed, please repeat the question. Thanks.

    4b. Well, I certainly find the evidence of poll rigging compelling for the reasons given. I accept others don’t. But that’s not surprising. That is the pollsters’ job, after all: convincing people to believe what is untrue.
    There have been several exposés over the years of poll rigging by employees in Australia, the UK, the USA and Canada. Easily googled.

    7. Yes, the pink batts scheme cost four lives directly. Tragically, construction in Australia – and mining, agriculture, postal delivery and other sectors – cost more than 180 lives each year, usually commensurate with activity.
    Those fatalities were the outcome of work in more than 1,100,000 ceilings – an incredibly low fatality rate compared with the rate that had applied in the industry before that period.
    The royal commission was presented with evidence from other countries which showed preventable fatalities resulting from the recession – suicides, homicides, heart attacks, and others – were counted in the multiple thousands. Had a recession occurred in Australia, an estimated 350 to 450 lives would have been lost.
    Most economists who have studied the GFC believe the main reason Australia averted recession was the rapid implementation of the BER and the HIP.
    Happy to discuss this, Evan. But it’s a bit off topic.

    8. No, Evan. I have not alleged criminality. You used the term “acted improperly”. We are discussing improper conduct, not just criminality.
    In the case of the Liberal Party, impropriety is not hypothetical, is it?
    There is a long list of prominent MPs and party officials who have admitted or been found to have acted improperly in recent times – at least 31. When the Victorian matter of the missing $1.5 million is finalised there may be one or two more. Again, this is a bit off topic.

    If there’s anything else not adequately substantiated, let me know. Thanks, Evan.

    Cheers, AA

    • 1) I have to remind you that the first thing you said when you joined this discussion was “there is no truth to this story at all”. Unless you mean to say that Yale, by accident or some sort of strange hallucination, had somehow unwittingly conjured up a story that was totally (but honestly) mistaken, I think that that is more likely than not an accusation of fabrication. That has not been substantiated.

      As for not disclosing reasons for not naming sources, you would no doubt be aware that this is not general journalistic practice. For my part I have never seen a news article which has provided a full explanation of why an unnamed source asked not to be named.

      4b) I have not been able to find a source which is credible and not openly biased which makes the allegation you make. If there is evidence of systematic – as opposed to occasional – polling manipulation, I’d appreciate it if you provided that evidence.

      7) A citation for your figure of 350-450 lives saved by the stimulus package would be very helpful. I would also make the point that the debate among economists on the issue of the effectiveness of the stimulus package is not quite so one-sided as you are keen to suggest. Moreover, even if we accept the views of the more sanguine economists, $52 billion in stimulus is said to have saved 210,000 jobs; that is to say, it cost almost $250,000 per job. This seems to be quite an exorbitant cost.

      To specifically address pink batts, if the scheme was so fantastic, perhaps you would like to offer an explanation for the conclusions arrived at by the Hanger Royal Commission, the Commonwealth Auditor-General and even the Labor ministers responsible for the scheme, who accepted that they had not taken adequate measures to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the scheme.

      Furthermore, even if the stimulus package was as effective as you say, the pink batts scheme was only a very small part of the stimulus package and was therefore not necessary (assuming an MPC of 0.4 as some do, the scheme would only have created $1.7 billion in extra national income, even according to Keynesian models). Even if it was necessary it could probably have been implemented more effectively.

      8) I would argue, as I’ve stated before that the Liberals have dealt relatively more firmly with instances of misconduct than Labor, having not engaged in the same sort of behaviour we saw in relation to Craig Thompson, for example, when he was shielded from the consequences of his unlawful actions for as long as possible for Labor. Nor have they had an individual analogous to Eddie Obeid who was controlling pre-selections while engaging in criminal behaviour.

      Secondly, while you are right to note that some Liberals have gotten themselves into trouble more than just hypothetically, you specifically said, “how many Liberals have not yet been revealed to have acted improperly?”. This, and this alone, is what I referred to as hypothetical, and given that it is undeniably hypothetical it is not a sound basis upon which to make a criticism of any organisation, and I would respectfully ask that you refrain from taking my comments out of context and making a pretense of giving them a proper response.

    • Which Victorian Liberal MPs do you anticipate are guilty of criminal offence in the matter of $1.5m stolen from party coffers by former state director Damien Mantach — who not only had form for five-fingered discounts when state director in Tasmania beforehand, and admitted to Michael Kroger that not not had he taken the money but that part of the reason it had been concealed from other party officials for so long was that it had been a one-man heist involving transactions only he personally had the authority to initiate? I would love to know who you have in mind and how they fit into the Mantach debacle.

        • But there already has been, Alan, and the miscreant has been named, shamed, and is being prosecuted. A considerable proportion of the embezzled funds have been recovered. A rigorous overhaul of the party’s back office and financial processes has been conducted.

          Aside for wasting time and money it is difficult to ascertain any Benefit from the action you suggest, and do remember this is my own state division of my own party we are talking about: as outraged as I/we are over Mantach, there is general satisfaction with the way it has been resolved.

          Aside from some sham inquiry for the look of it t satisfy political opponents, what you suggest is pointless.

  24. Not at all, Yale.
    One miscreant is being prosecuted. How do we know there are not others?
    Let’s wait until the process of prosecution is through, shall we?
    The fact remains, Yale, that of the last 15 members of state or federal parliaments convicted of offences or forced to resign from their party or the ministry following illegal conduct, 14 were Liberals, one was a National.

    • Hi Alan,

      WordPress defaults to requiring administrator approval for anything with more than three links in it as an anti-spam safeguard, although three of your comments have come through in the past half hour and I have approved them. If any of these are duplicates I will have a look when I get back o Melbourne tomorrow and remove any double-ups, but there is no issue with you posting (beyond the quirks of WordPress, that is).

      You are absolutely right that Mr S is a blacklisted term, and when I blocked his access t the site that name was one of a number of identifiers used to prevent him posting comment. Differences of opinion I can handle, but that sort of thing is just not on. I am lathe to censor but…he bangs the grand total of banned participants to two (or six if you nclude the multiple personalities f the other person excluded)

      Let me know if you encounter further problems but be assured, there has been no move to restrict your access.

      • Thanks, Yale.
        Yes, I understand the WordPress safeguard now. Meks sense.
        And yes, the one reply to Evan has been posted three times. So please just delete two of them. Thanks.
        Cheers, AA

  25. Hi again Evan,

    1a. The questions seem to be these: Has Bill Shorten made a decision to resign which he has communicated privately to others, one of whom has communicated it, directly or indirectly, to Yale? Alternatively, have others in the Labor Party determined that Mr Shorten will be gone by month’s end, one of whom has communicated this to Yale?
    On the information offered we cannot be sure one of those is correct, can we?
    So we do have speculation, which may turn out later to have been correct, but we do not yet have truth. We must wait and see. We will know whether it is true or not at the end of the month.
    Make sense?
    As to how or why the story originated here, that also remains a mystery to be solved at month’s end.

    1b. Regarding unnamed sources, Evan, the general journalistic practice in Australia is for these to be used when journalists are simply fabricating.
    Refer the false front page story by Dennis Shanahan in The Australian, linked earlier. And the false story by Greg Sheridan, also in The Australian.

    4b. Here is a book about how the Gallup polls are manipulated:
    http://www.davidwmoore.us/
    The Canadian experience of poll rigging this year has been quite intriguing. Here is one of many commentaries on that:
    http://thetyee.ca/News/2015/04/07/Should-We-Trust-Election-Polls/
    More here on Clive Palmer’s involvement:
    https://truthinmediaresourcecentre.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/claims-emerge-of-opinion-poll-rigging/
    And an item here on why we should just ignore all polls:
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/jan/12/two-very-different-uk-polls-we-should-ignore-them-both

    7a. The 350-450 is an extrapolation from the data and methodology in the British Medical Journal:
    http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5239

    7b. The $52 billion stimulus averted widespread unemployment, yes. It also built real assets including roads, rail, ports, insulation, school buildings, defence housing, national parks and other public infrastructure.
    More crucially, it built the best-performed economy in the world at the time – as measured by GDP growth, jobs, income, wealth, net debt, taxation, inflation, trade and interest rates.
    Some say the best-performed economy the world has ever seen!

    7c. The pink batts royal commission produced the findings it was paid to produce. Pure and simple. Same as the trade unions royal commission.
    The Auditor-General’s report was fine as far as it went.
    Different Labor ministers had different perspectives. Some were more valid than others. All were in serious damage control mode, of course, following the irrational obsessive hatred and frenzied opposition the scheme was confronted with from the outset.
    Happy to discuss this also, Evan, if you don’t mind straying a bit from the topic at hand.

    8a. Perhaps the Liberals have been better at this than Labor. Maybe. On recent findings, this does not seem to be the case. But how would you know without a full inquiry into both parties? That is the point.

    Happy to discuss further, Evan.

    Cheers, A

    • I’m sorry that I’ve taken my time to respond. As you might imagine, occasionally reality intrudes on my free time. Anyway:

      1a) Your initial claim was “there is no truth to this story at all”. Now you are saying “we cannot be sure one of those is correct”. That I do not dispute. What concerns me, however, is that you have neither substantiated or withdrawn your original assertion. Do you still stand by it, and if so why?

      1b) Two articles from the same paper are not exactly sufficient to prove a general state of affairs. Many papers with a good record use unnamed sources, and moreover they are often correct.

      4a) i) That book was attacked by a credible academic journal (the Public Opinion Quarterly) as being little more than “some interesting examples and anecdotes” of little use to “the serious student of public opinion”. Moreover, it goes on to describe its point as “debatable” – not exactly definitive proof. And in any case it’s about American polling.

      ii) Apart from the fact that that article relates to Canada, nowhere does it allege systematic manipulation – only that voter models are sometimes flawed. Fair point, with which I have always agreed anyway, but it proves nothing else.

      iii) Neither the site nor Clive Palmer are credible sources, which is what I specifically requested.

      iv) I feel that you have characterised the message of this article in a very misleading manner. It doesn’t say that we should ignore polls; it says that we should not fixate on individual polls and focus on trends. Again this is not something that I’ve ever taken issue with. In relation to the specific poll that I mentioned about the Royal Commission, however, the figures were well outside the margin of error and thus this admonition about individual polls does not hold so much weight.

      7a) In other words you do not have an actual source, and you are basing a fairly dramatic claim on a few back-of-the-envelope calculations based loosely on a source.

      7b) You have not addressed any of the issues I raised. You have also failed to consider the fact that that public infrastructure may not have been cost-effective. And you have also neglected to take into account other potential causes for our relatively strong economic performance. As for people believing the Australia economy to be the “best-performing economy the world has ever seen”, I’d like to know who these people are.

      7c) i) Obviously the expectation of the government when they set up the Royal Commission was that it would uncover compromising facts. One does not establish a judicial inquiry unless one suspects that there was impropriety. This goes for governments of all political stripes, and that fact alone is not sufficient to negate the conclusion of the Royal Commission. Do you have actual evidence to support your allegations?

      ii) So you do not reject the criticisms of the Auditor-General then?

      iii) If that is true, what you are really saying beneath layers of inadequate justification is that Labor ministers went before a Royal Commission under oath and misled the Commission and the Australian people on a very serious matter. In other words, they committed perjury – and not to get out of trouble, but to incriminate themselves! If this is true, Labor is even more devious and incompetent than I had ever previously imagined.

      8a) Let us stick to what we know for the time being and not get ourselves tied up in epistemological knots.

  26. Thanks, Evan. No problem with the delay at all.

    1a. Yes, “there is no truth to this story at all” remains the case. It still seems most likely that it will be proven false at month’s end. We shall see.

    1b. No, unnamed sources are rarely legitimate. Certainly not in party political matters except to engage in tawdry partisan attacks. This is not sound journalism.
    The rule on party politics is this: if you haven’t got someone with the balls to put their name to an allegation, then you haven’t got a story.
    In Australia, the mainstream media haven’t got a story much of the time.

    4a. You asked for evidence of systematic polling manipulation, Evan.
    Those four documents add to the weight of evidence. Plenty more available. Easily googled. But no amount of weight will sway those who wish to believe the polls are accurate and are not open to persuasion otherwise.
    A bit like no amount of evidence that the Murdoch media concoct much of their ‘information’ will convince those who wish believe their reports are accurate.

    7a. No, there is a fair bit more to it than that, Evan. The documents accessed to reach the number 350 to 450 Australian lives saved by the home insulation program include these:
    (i) The British Medical Journal’s paper, September 2013: “Impact of 2008 global economic crisis on suicide: time trend study in 54 countries”
    (ii) The World DataBank’s world development indicators, and
    (iii) the Australian Bureau of Statistics database: 3303.0 – Causes of Death, Australia, 2009
    The fact that the HIP royal commission didn’t even bother to explore this area and answer the question definitively is a great failing. That’s yet another proof that it was set up purely as a political attack on the Labor Party.

    7b. Yes. This was another serious failing of the HIP royal commission. Surely the first question to be answered regarding a scheme which cost several billion dollars, was this:
    Did the scheme achieve its objectives? Was the HIP the reason Australia averted the recession which destroyed every other developed economy in 2008?
    Those who say it was include Australia’s Treasury, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University, UNICEF consultant Bruno Martorano, Sydney University’s Professor Rodney Rodney Tiffen, Australian Trade Commission’s Tim Harcourt, Lowy Institute for International Policy director Mark Thirlwell and heaps of others.
    None of these was called to testify, nor was any other authority on fiscal stimulus. Abject fail by the royal commission.

    7c.(i) Yes, there is plenty of evidence that the HIP royal commission was an exercise in political payback. Even Malcolm Fraser said so. Happy to pursue this, Evan. But we are way off topic.
    7c.(ii) The Auditor General’s opinion was fine as far as it went. But neither did he address the critical question: Was the HIP the reason Australia averted the recession which destroyed every other developed economy in 2008?
    7c.(iii) Nonsense, Evan. Have you had a chance to read Peter Garrett’s new book? See page 368.

    8a. Agree, Evan.

    Thanks. Cheers,
    AA

    • 1a) Would you care to actually substantiate that allegation? I don’t think that anyone will actually be persuaded by you simply repeating it.

      1b) Which authority came up with this “rule” that you mentioned?

      4a) I take objection to your assumption that I am some sort of unthinking moron who swallows everything that the Murdoch press throws at me. (You may be surprised that I rarely ever read Murdoch papers, although more by habit than for of ideological reasons.) The evidence that you have presented is either serious flawed, or has been grossly misinterpreted by you. That is not my problem.

      7a) i) I read the study. It specifically excluded Australia.
      ii) Which data series did you look at?
      iii) Irrelevant. Correlation is not causation.
      Moreover, it would be of assistance if you could reproduce your calculations here.

      I also make the point that it was not within the remit of the Hanger Royal Commission to investigate the mental health effects of economic policy. Judicial inquiries are given very specific terms of reference. They are not interested in every single aspect of a certain issue.

      7b) I was addressing my concerns specifically at you: “You have failed to consider etc…” I never said anything about the Royal Commission. Would you like to respond to those concerns?

      As for the opinions of Stiglitz et al., I would assume that they were talking about the $52 billion stimulus package as a whole, not the $1 billion HIP. If you can find me a source that says otherwise, that would be another matter.

      7c) i) If you claim that there is plenty of evidence it helps to actually present it. (And Malcom Fraser’s opinion is not evidence. He was not active in politics at the time, and given that his government was largely ineffectual I would take his opinions generally with a grain of salt.)
      ii) That is not the Auditor-General’s job. Moreover, accepting for the sake of argument Keynesian economic models, why would the stimulatory effect of the HIP not have been achieved had proper safety procedures been in place?
      iii) As one of the main participants in the formulation of the HIP, he would have every reason to misrepresent the nature of the scheme and of his involvement in the scheme. That said, if you would be kind enough to include the relevant quotation in your response we can have a look at it.

  27. Hi again Evan,

    1a. Okay. Maybe this will help:
    Had the author said “Senior Labor Party official Joe Bloggs told this writer that the ALP is preparing for the imminent resignation of its ‘leader,’ Bill Shorten …” then that would have been fine.
    It may or not be true that Mr Shorten will resign. But if Mr Bloggs (or whoever) said he would, then that sentence would have been truthful.
    But the actual sentence was: “Usually reliable sources report that the ALP is preparing for the imminent resignation of its ‘leader,’ Bill Shorten …”
    The expression “usually reliable sources report that …” is used routinely by Murdoch employees when they fabricate. So are “This column understands …” and “It is understood that …”
    Plus the author’s failure to seek a response from Mr Shorten’s office before publishing the allegation is further evidence of fabrication.

    1b. The rule has been in place over the last 150 years or so of modern journalism. It is reflected in all codes of ethics. Items 1, 3 and 5 of the MEAA code. Items 3 and 8 in the APC’s general principles. The SPJ Code of Ethics highlights it as rule one:
    “1. Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.”
    And so on.

    4a. Fair enough, Evan.

    7a (i) Extrapolation of the same methodology yields deaths between 350 to 450 over the duration of the crisis.

    7a (ii) The World Bank’s data series on annual negative GDP growth for most of the world’s economies was examined, together with the data at tradingeconomics.com on quarterly negative GDP growth. These show that of the 34 advanced OECD economies, only two avoided more than two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth through the GFC. These were Australia and Poland – the two countries which allocated the highest percentage of GDP in early direct stimulus.

    7a (iii) This is an absolutely critical area of investigation by the HIP royal commission. History will record this was more of a political witch hunt than even the first Voyager royal commission. But it will not take so long.
    My calculations were presented to the royal commission. They are all on the record:
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/hip-royal-commission-submission-part-3-hundreds-of-lives-saved,6817

    7b. There is no doubt among independent economists who have studied this that Australia’s response was the most effective. Bar none.
    Refer UK prime minister Gordon Brown, US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson and Professor Joseph Stiglitz for starters.

    7c (i) Evidence that the HIP royal commission was political payback resides in:
    (a) declaration in the commissioner’s initial letter seeking submission that he had already decided the scheme was a failure. His mind was made up, and was not about to be changed by any evidence. This was why he was given the job.
    (b) refusal to explore the scheme’s extraordinary success in achieving its objectives.
    (c) refusal to accept testimony on the quantum of deaths the scheme averted.
    (d) refusal to quantify the remarkable decline in fires during the HIP.
    (e) refusal to quantify the extraordinary decline in rate of injuries and deaths in the insulation industry during the HIP.
    (f) refusal to explore the reasons for the dramatic decline in total electrocutions during the HIP.
    (g) refusal to explore reasons for the 33.8% decline in construction deaths overall from an average of 104.25 between 2005 and 2009 down to just 69 in 2009-10.
    (h) refusal to investigate why the concerted effort directed towards training, procedure and regulation was necessary at all as late as 2009? Why had previous governments not ensured an adequate safety regime well before then?

    7c (ii) Correct. The Auditor General’s report was fine as far as it went. But it did not go far enough.
    Safety procedures were criminally inadequate when the scheme was first proposed. Vast resources were expended rectifying the safety regime inherited in 2007.

    7c (iii) No. It’s off topic. You can chase it up if you want to.

    Thanks, Evan. Cheers,
    AA

    • Alan, I have to say this: if confidential information were disclosed as brazenly and as bluntly as your example suggests, nobody would be breaking political news at all.

      But it does underline a couple of things: a) whoever provided the information should, by your reasoning, be exposed for the ALP and its little helpers to render permanently unemployable in any field (if they are lucky) or subjected to all manner of retribution — which, I am sure you will agree, would be the logical and certain end consequence of what you advocate.

      And b), that you remain convinced the information was supplied by the ALP. I have told you it did not come from the opposition leader’s office. Beyond that, I have said I won’t elaborate and I won’t, but reiterate the point in light of a) above.

    • Again I apologise for the delay. I have been busy lately.

      1a) The assertion that you made on 28 October was that “there is no truth to this story at all”. A description of general tendencies (of Murdoch journalists, of which Yale is not one) does not suffice to demonstrate anything in this specific instance.

      Also, does anyone seriously doubt what Shorten’s office would have said in response? Of course they would have denied the allegation regardless of whether or not it was true.

      1b) i) The MEAA code permits the use of anonymous sources where the source’s motives have been considered. You have not demonstrated that these motives were not considered. Moreover, it states that “Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.” I would respectfully suggest that given your repeated attempts to induce Yale into revealing his sources, it is rather hypocritical of you to rely on the authority of the MEAA code.

      ii) Aside from the fact that Yale is not a journalist and is not bound by the APC’s standards, you have not clearly demonstrated that this article is based on inaccurate information (as per item 3), and you will also note that Yale has been entirely open about his partisan affiliation, so there is not undisclosed conflict of interest. On the other hand, your profile at Independent Australia does not mention a political affiliation.

      iii) The SPJ code does not actually include the quotation you cite, which calls into question your credibility somewhat, I’m sorry to say. Furthermore, the code only demands disclosure of sources “whenever feasible”, which is not necessarily always the case given the sensitivity of political information.

      7a) i and iii) Given that the BMJ article only addressed suicides, your calculations are not credible.

      I might take this opportunity to remind you of your comments dated 1 November, when you said: “The pink batts scheme… saved lives in the order of 350 to 450 – as sworn testimony and documentary evidence tendered to the royal commission established.” Now it turns out that this “documentary evidence” was tendered by you. Do you understand why I might again be questioning your credibility at this point?

      ii) Again, correlation is not causation.

      7b) i) Given events in the UK and the US, I would not be inclined to take economic advice from Brown or Paulson in particular.

      Moreover, if I can refer again to your comments of 1 November, you said “the pink batts scheme… saved Australia’s economy from recession and deep unemployment”. Now, I don’t deny that Stiglitz probably did credit the stimulus program for saving Australia’s economy (he’s a Keynesian after all). However, your claim related specifically to the HIP. Do you wish to substantiate that?

      ii) I remind you that your claims on 2 November (in response to Yale) and on 3 November (in response to me) that the Australian economy during the GFC was the “best-performed [sic] economy the world has ever seen” have still not been substantiated.

      7c) i) a) The Royal Commission was established to examine the ill effects of the HIP. Far from being an indication of partisan bias, this is necessarily the function of a judicial inquiry. Judicial inquiries are not established to allow grateful citizens a public forum in which to heap praise upon fantastic program X, but to investigate mistakes and make suggestions for future changes. (Not that you’ve demonstrated that that HIP was particularly fantastic.)

      b) Would you care to make a more specific claim?

      c to f) I actually took a look at the article you had written on this topic and the Crikey article you cited. If you look at Steel’s article of 19 October 2010, he writes that “Some folks found [the fall in fatality rates etc.] surprising… but… the industry before the program was completely unregulated”. Now, I will take the figures on face value since I have no inclination to go through them in detail, and I will even, to be generous, assume that correlation in this case does equate to causation (which it does not), but you will see that the introduction of new regulations on home insulation could have occurred without the need for the government shelling out $1 billion on paying for more home insulation. As such, the HIP itself was, even by those standards, not necessary.

      g) Are you prepared to definitively attribute those figures to the HIP?

      h) The oversights of previous governments – while unfortunate – have nothing to do with the flaws of the HIP.

      7c) ii) Again, that is not the point. I’d also note that the Queensland Coroner and Allan Hawke (former Secretary of the Department of Defence) had less-than-complimentary things to say about the level of competence with which the HIP was implemented.

      7c) iii) Being off-topic has not proven an impediment to us in the past, and I see no reason why that would change at this juncture.

  28. Hi again Yale,

    Couple of issues here. The first is “breaking political news”. According to traditional journalistic standards, you are not doing this. An assertion damaging to a political player made by unnamed sources is not news, is it? It is just political muckraking, or playing tawdry party politics.

    You only have a news story when you have a named source prepared to go on the record.

    If you get a chance to study the Watergate saga, Yale, this comes through loud and clear. All Washington Post editors – Howard Simons, Harry M Rosenfeld, Barry Sussman – emphasised continually that nothing was to be aired until named sources – multiple sources usually – were available. That was the challenge. And finally getting named sources – like the admission from John Mitchell in September 1973 – was the triumph.

    Regarding your point (a), Yale, that depends on the motivation. This is critical to the story. That is why the MEAA and SPJ and other codes of ethics all deal specifically with motives of sources.

    Regarding (b), no, I have no idea at all regarding the source. You imply it is someone privy to internal Labor manoeuvrings with this: “the ALP is preparing for the imminent resignation of its ‘leader,’ Bill Shorten …”
    And also this: “News of Shorten’s intention to vacate the Labor leadership …”

    We shall soon see.

    Cheers, AA

    • I did tell you, quite unequivocally — by way of first and final elaboration on where the information came from — that my source was not someone in the opposition leader’s office, for that has been the clear import of some of your remarks, that’s all.

      In any case, it’s certainly on — it’s just a question of when. My understanding is that it is only a matter of locking in the numbers against him that is the variable. Once that is set in stone, he will fall on his sword rather than fight it out. If it drags into December or January, it doesn’t mean the information is wrong — just that the fluid aspect of the whole thing has been a little more fluid than those in good position expected. But the only thing that will keep Shorten in his job is an election announcement, and quickly. My understanding is that if it drags into next year, the imperative to move him on quickly will be critical on account of the fear of a February or early March election. A change of leader before 17 November would trigger an instant election announcement, but the window on that is closing. Personally i think he will be gone by Christmas, but as ever with these things, anything can happen.

  29. This is getting confusing, Yale.

    You just said, “Personally i think he (Bill Shorten) will be gone by Christmas …”

    But on 27 October, you said unequivocally, “Bill Shorten is set to resign his post … next month.” You claimed specifically: “the ALP is preparing for the imminent resignation of its ‘leader,’ Bill Shorten, during one of the two parliamentary sessions scheduled for November.”

    Which do you really believe, and on what basis? In November, or by Christmas?

    Thanks, Yale.

    • I’m not going to discuss this with you any further Alan — all you are interested in is to try to push me into a corner to tell you where I got my information from, or the basis for any qualification to it.

      I can see all too clearly you are a warrior of the Left. I have tried to be conversational with you, but the bottom line is this. You’re not getting what you want, and that’s final.

      Not that I have led you to believe any differently, over this matter, since the article was first published.

  30. Hi Evan,
    No problem with the delay.

    1a. The onus is on the publication making damaging allegations to prove them true. Not the other way around. Correct?
    The writer here has failed to do so, and failed in a manner strikingly similar to the mega fails seen routinely in Murdoch publications.
    We do not know what the response from Mr Shorten might have been, do we? Whether predictable or not, he must be given that opportunity. All codes require that.

    1b(i) Neither the codes nor accepted practice permit publication of damaging allegations based on unnamed sources.
    Yes, Yale must protect his sources. But he cannot publish their allegations without other sources – preferably more than one – prepared to confirm them on the record.
    Please note the Watergate experiences, summarised above, on November 9 at 10:43 pm.

    1b(ii) Correct. We do not know if the information is accurate. We will know in 18 days.
    I have no party political affiliation, Evan. During elections in France and in Australia I often volunteer to assist somewhere in campaigning or scrutineering. I did so in Melbourne last November for one of the minor parties. It is not always the same party, however.
    Party membership is no problem for journalists. All are welcome to spruik for their preferred party. Yale is to be commended for his partisan efforts, as are the Liberal Party functionaries who run The Australian, the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph.
    What they are not permitted to do, however, is falsify information presented as “news” in order to deceive readers into believing things which are not true.

    1b(iii) It is an accurate quote, Evan. There are various versions of the SPC code, which is revised continually, it seems. Hence it does not always appear as item number one.
    Here it appears word for word as dot point number three:
    http://www.caluniv.ac.in/global-mdia-journal/DOCOUMENT/Document%207.pdf

    In this version, the wording is slightly different: “Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.”
    http://www.spj.org/pdf/spj-code-of-ethics.pdf

    7a(i) and (iii) That is the whole point, Evan. Had it been a genuine exercise, the HIP royal commission was precisely the place to test those submissions – from me and others keen to know the answer to the central question: Did the HIP achieve its fundamental aims or not?
    The answer would have been a resounding yes. Hence the question was not even asked, let alone explored with competent witnesses.

    7a(ii) Correct. Correlation is not causation. More analysis is needed. When this is done, it can be shown that there is indeed both correlation and causation.

    7b(i) Substantiation here, Evan:
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/pink-batts-extraordinary-success-in-averting-recession-part-one,6470

    7b(ii) Substantiation is not hard to find. Google: IAREM world’s best economy 2013

    7c(i) (a) No, the purpose of the pink batts commission was to collect damaging footage of Mr Rudd, Mr Garrett and Senator Arbib for TV ads. The trade unions one was to get footage on Mr Shorten and Ms Gillard.
    If it had been “established to examine the ill effects of the HIP”, then some measure of the actual rates of fires, injuries and deaths would have been attempted, as urged by submissions. Everyone in the room knew what this would have revealed: that the HIP was an extraordinary success. So it was not investigated, was it?

    7c (i) (b) See 7b(i) above.

    7c(i) (c) No, the HIP was necessary to avert recession by maintaining employment and consumer demand nationwide. It was the second most successful stimulus program implemented anywhere in the world.

    7c(i) (g) The dramatic decline in deaths is attributable to the extraordinary efforts outlined by the Queensland coroner, here:
    http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/203374/cif-fuller-mj-barnes-rk-sweeney-ms-20130704.pdf
    Annexure A has about 40 pages on the efforts needed to rectify the criminally unsafe regime allowed to flourish from 2000 to 2007.

    7c(i) (h) Of course they are relevant. None of that concerted effort the coroner outlined should have been necessary. Regulations ensuring safety should have been monitored and amended as the fledgling industry grew.

    History will one day record the truth, Evan, even if it takes some decades, as happened after the first political royal commission into the Voyager disaster in 1964.

    Cheers, AA

  31. Hi Evan,
    No problem with the delay.

    1a. The onus is on the publication making damaging allegations to prove them true. Not the other way around. Correct?
    The writer here has failed to do so, and failed in a manner strikingly similar to the mega fails seen routinely in Murdoch publications.
    We do not know what the response from Mr Shorten might have been, do we? Whether predictable or not, he must be given that opportunity. All codes require that.

    1b(i) Neither the codes nor accepted practice permit publication of damaging allegations based on unnamed sources.
    Yes, Yale must protect his sources. But he cannot publish their allegations without other sources – preferably more than one – prepared to confirm them on the record.
    Please note the Watergate experiences, summarised above, on November 9 at 10:43 pm.

    1b(ii) Correct. We do not know if the information is accurate. We will know in 18 days.
    I have no party political affiliation, Evan. During elections in France and in Australia I often volunteer to assist somewhere in campaigning or scrutineering. I did so in Melbourne last October for one of the minor parties. It is not always the same party, however.
    Party membership is no problem for journalists. All are welcome to spruik for their preferred party. Yale is to be commended for his partisan efforts, as are the Liberal Party functionaries who run The Australian, the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph.
    What they are not permitted to do, however, is falsify information presented as “news” in order to deceive readers into believing things which are not true.

    1b(iii) It is an accurate quote, Evan. There are various versions of the SPC code, which is revised continually, it seems. Hence it does not always appear as item number one.
    Here it appears word for word as dot point number three:
    http://www.caluniv.ac.in/global-mdia-journal/DOCOUMENT/Document%207.pdf

    In another version, the wording is slightly different: “Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.” Easily googled.

    7a(i) and (iii) That is the whole point, Evan. Had it been a genuine exercise, the HIP royal commission was precisely the place to test those submissions – from me and others keen to know the answer to the central question: Did the HIP achieve its fundamental aims or not?
    The answer would have been a resounding yes. Hence the question was not even asked, let alone explored.

    7a(ii) Correct. Correlation is not causation. More analysis is needed. When this is done, it can be shown that there is indeed both correlation and causation.

    7b(i) Substantiation here, Evan:
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/pink-batts-extraordinary-success-in-averting-recession-part-one,6470

    7b(ii) Substantiation is not hard to find. Google: IAREM world’s best economy 2013

    7c(i) (a) No, the purpose of the pink batts commission was to collect damaging footage of Mr Rudd, Mr Garrett and Senator Arbib for TV ads. The trade unions one was to get footage on Mr Shorten and Ms Gillard.
    If it had been “established to examine the ill effects of the HIP”, then some measure of the actual rates of fires, injuries and deaths would have been attempted, as urged by submissions. Everyone in the room knew what this would have revealed: that the HIP was an extraordinary success. So it was not investigated, was it?

    7c (i) (b) See 7b(i) above.

    7c(i) (c) No, the HIP was necessary to avert recession by maintaining employment and consumer demand nationwide. It was the second most successful stimulus program implemented anywhere in the world.

    7c(i) (g) The dramatic decline in deaths is attributable to the extraordinary efforts outlined by the Queensland coroner, here:
    http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/203374/cif-fuller-mj-barnes-rk-sweeney-ms-20130704.pdf
    Annexure A has about 40 pages on the efforts needed to rectify the criminally inadequate safety regime allowed to flourish from 2000 to 2007.

    7c(i) (h) Of course they are relevant. None of that concerted effort the coroner outlined should have been necessary. Regulations ensuring safety should have been monitored and amended as the fledgling industry grew.

    History will one day record the truth, Evan, even if it takes some decades, as happened after the first political royal commission into the Voyager disaster in 1964.

    Cheers, AA

  32. Hi Evan,
    No problem with the delay.

    1a. The onus is on the publication making damaging allegations to prove them true. Not the other way around. Correct?
    The writer here has failed to do so, and failed in a manner strikingly similar to the mega fails seen routinely in Murdoch publications.
    We do not know what the response from Mr Shorten might have been, do we? Whether predictable or not, he must be given that opportunity. All codes require that.

    1b(i) Neither the codes nor accepted practice permit publication of damaging allegations based on unnamed sources.
    Yes, Yale must protect his sources. But he cannot publish their allegations without other sources – preferably more than one – prepared to confirm them on the record.
    Please note the Watergate experiences, summarised above, on November 9 at 10:43 pm.

    1b(ii) Correct. We do not know if the information is accurate. We will know in 18 days.
    I have no party political affiliation, Evan. During elections in France and in Australia I often volunteer to assist somewhere in campaigning or scrutineering. I did so in Melbourne last October for one of the minor parties. It is not always the same party, however.
    Party membership is no problem for journalists. All are welcome to spruik for their preferred party. Yale is to be commended for his partisan efforts, as are the Liberal Party functionaries who run The Australian, the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph.
    What they are not permitted to do, however, is falsify information presented as “news” in order to deceive readers into believing things which are not true.

    1b(iii) It is an accurate quote, Evan. There are various versions of the SPC code, which is revised continually, it seems. Hence it does not always appear as item number one.
    Here it appears word for word as dot point number three:
    http://www.caluniv.ac.in/global-mdia-journal/DOCOUMENT/Document%207.pdf

    In this version, the wording is slightly different: “Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.”
    http://www.spj.org/pdf/spj-code-of-ethics.pdf

    7a(i) and (iii) That is the whole point, Evan. Had it been a genuine exercise, the HIP royal commission was precisely the place to test those submissions – from me and others keen to know the answer to the central question: Did the HIP achieve its fundamental aims or not?
    The answer would have been a resounding yes. Hence the question was not even asked, let alone explored.

    7a(ii) Correct. Correlation is not causation. More analysis is needed. When this is done, it can be shown that there is indeed both correlation and causation.

    7b(i) Substantiation here, Evan:
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/pink-batts-extraordinary-success-in-averting-recession-part-one,6470

    7b(ii) Substantiation is not hard to find. Google: IAREM world’s best economy 2013

    7c(i) (a) No, the purpose of the pink batts commission was to collect damaging footage of Mr Rudd, Mr Garrett and Senator Arbib for TV ads. The trade unions one was to get footage on Mr Shorten and Ms Gillard.
    If it had been “established to examine the ill effects of the HIP”, then some measure of the actual rates of fires, injuries and deaths would have been attempted, as urged by submissions. Everyone in the room knew what this would have revealed: that the HIP was an extraordinary success. So it was not investigated, was it?

    7c (i) (b) See 7b(i) above.

    7c(i) (c) No, the HIP was necessary to avert recession by maintaining employment and consumer demand nationwide. It was the second most successful stimulus program implemented anywhere in the world.

    7c(i) (g) The dramatic decline in deaths is attributable to the extraordinary efforts outlined by Queensland coroner Michael Barnes. Easily googled.
    Annexure A has about 40 pages on the efforts needed to rectify the criminally inadequate safety regime allowed to flourish from 2000 to 2007.

    7c(i) (h) Of course they are relevant. None of that concerted effort the coroner outlined should have been necessary. Regulations ensuring safety should have been monitored and amended as the fledgling industry grew.

    History will one day record the truth, Evan, even if it takes some decades, as happened after the first political royal commission into the Voyager disaster in 1964.

    Cheers, AA

    • Starting to show your true colours now Alan? I’m to be commended for “partisan efforts,” am I? I wonder what Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Peta Credlin, Brian Loughnane, and a number of ministers in the previous regime would say about that when this column slated them, pilloried their incompetence, and repeatedly campaigned for their resignation or removal.

      Liberal Party functionaries running the Murdoch press? I thought this myth was the other way around, that the Liberal Party is supposedly run by Murdoch functionaries. But that’s the problem with the Left, isn’t it? It trips up on the inconsistency and bullshit that mostly form the substance of its silly view of the world. Ignore whatever facts get in the way of a good story, rely only on those items that fit the decree at hand, and tell a story that adds up to exactly zero.

      Your mate Bill Shorten, for whom you seem determined to act as a one-man proxy, is in fact an excellent example of the end destination of this brain-dead strategy: trying to be all things to all people, refusing to concede that difficult choices required in difficult times mean some people will feel some pain, Shorten is, in the big scheme of things, just a vapid, vacuous parrot of meaningless pre-prepared lines that simply fail to cut through. An attack chihuahua, indeed.

      It is like Khruschev’s own son once said of his father: he was a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch. The implication is that that makes it all right. That’s pretty much the mentality you are defending, isn’t it?

      In any case, from 10,000 miles distant, you seem to believe that acting like a one-man Press Council as cover for trying to bully the information out of me that you so desperately want will work, or failing that, out come the insults. That carefully-confected veneer of sober, restrained language and polished rhetoric is beginning to slip with every cheap shot now, Alan.

      We’ve all seen your online showreel. If you want to talk about rank partisanship it seems proper to observe that there are an awful lot of vicious, anti-Coalition headlines in that list.

      And perhaps you could explain (given this columnist is at the top of any leftie’s list of reviled Murdoch columnists) exactly what is wrong with this piece from Piers Akerman today?

      You probably won’t, of course, because every syllable you’ve contributed here has been aimed at one objective and one only: trying to bully me into telling you who told me about the likely leadership change at the ALP. Even when I provided the one morsel I was prepared to (that it did not come from Shorten’s office), subsequent comments simply continued to restate that that was whence the tip came. And no matter how many times I make it crystal clear that I am not going to answer your question, back you come, either with more “reasons” I should do whatever you demand and/or the creeping insertion of cheap insults into your diatribe.

      We’re getting very close to the kind of bullying and harassment I explicitly indicate that I won’t publish.

      I don’t know who the hell you think you are, and/or whether anyone in Australia has put you up to what you’re doing. As a voracious consumer of news and public affairs for decades, I hadn’t even heard of you until a fortnight ago, which probably says more about you than it does about me, to be frank.

      Perhaps it might be a better use of your time to take your moral posturing and feigned outrage — and clear partisan objectives dressed in a tattered facade of “principle” — somewhere else.

    • Oh, and by the by,

      You have form for the very “outrages” you accuse me of.

      https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/libs-move-to-axe-abbott-after-poll-shock,5152

      1. Your brilliant expose on the of knifing Abbott never came to pass, did it?
      2. You didn’t name your sources, did you?
      3. Your central premise — that Tony Abbott would lose the 2013 election — was wrong, wasn’t it?

      You even quote a source who, by your own account, told you the material he/she gave you was off the record — and then went ahead and printed it anyway. And you want ME to listen to lectures from YOU about standards of ethical conduct? Don’t waste my time, Alan.

      Better go and dob yourself into your beloved MEAA. I’m sure they’ll give a shit. Or the Press Council, indeed.

    • 1a) Given that the only way Yale’s claims can be proved right or wrong is for us to wait until the events he predicts come to pass (or not), this seems a rather unfair criticism. Furthermore, if that is the standard of proof to which you want to hold people, then surely it should apply to yourself if you are going to accuse Yale of defaming Shorten and intentionally misleading his readers, which is not exactly a trivial assertion.

      As for Shorten’s response, I suggest that you are being very unreasonable here in trying to claim that it would not have been predictable. If he planned to stay, would he have admitted to an intention to resign? No. If he planned to resign, do you seriously think that he’d admit it (to a right-wing blogger of all people)? No. If you know the answer, it is not necessary to ask the question.

      1b) i) I am not interested in re-litigating Watergate. As far as the codes are concerned, none of them place blanket bans on publishing stories without identified sources. They do not explicitly permit them, but we would all be in trouble if we always waited for someone else’s approval.

      ii) Well, then you have multiple partisan affiliations which you have failed to disclose. Arguably this is even more problematic.

      iii) It might have been a good idea to consult the SPJ’s own website as opposed to the University of Calcutta’s website.

      4a) I let this slip my mind a few days ago, but you have yet to provide credible evidence of systemic polling manipulation.

      7a) i and iii) You seem to have a bad habit of ignoring vast swathes of what I’m saying and picking and choosing what most plays into your hands. You have not addressed the credibility of your calculations, which are not actually based on the methodology of the BMJ (which did not cover homicides, car crashes etc.). Nor have you responded to my concerns about you claiming that there is “sworn testimony and documentary evidence” supporting your assertions when in fact this testimony came from you. At best this is rather misleading.

      ii) You seem to be assuming that causation will be demonstrated. How can you know that until the study has been conducted?

      7b) Your claim was the Australia had the “best-performed [sic] economy the world has ever seen”. Emphasis on “ever seen”. Initially I was inclined to think that this was an honest mistake and that you had meant something a little different, but given that you repeated the assertion I suspect otherwise. Now, the source you identified did not actually contain, much less substantiate, that assertion. Secondly, the source you identified was composed by you. The index you refer to was composed by you. Again, this is problematic.

      7c) i) a) Firstly, that allegation is not one that you have once bothered to substantiate. With regards to fire data, pg 266 of the report may be of particular assistance.

      c) Identify a single source which makes that claim. I want it to relate specifically, and exclusively to the HIP (not to the stimulus program generally.) And it should not have been composed by you.

      g) Your parsing of the Queensland Coroner’s report is not an accurate description of what it actually says. There are elements of that report which are quite critical.

      i) They may be relevant, but not to this discussion.

      7c) ii) Not addressed.

      iii) Not addressed. Please provide the relevant excerpt.

      • Even, just like any good little leftie, he ignores everything that doesn’t suit his argument. I have told him unequivocally three times that the tip didn’t come from the opposition leader’s office, but he is still banging on about just that.

        I have also published a secondary comment today highlighting one of his own articles and drawing attention to the fact that he is as guilty as sin of what he accuses me of himself. Check it out. It is well worth a look.

        I have also said (although I am sure you will have seen) since the original article that a fluid situation dictates that some variance in the baseline facts may occur, particularly in a political environment. I’ve since posted, and answered Alan in comment, that whilst the change may be delayed the moves to engineer it remain on course, and that Albanese has emerged as the replacement when the time arrives. Alan has chosen instead to try, pathetically, to hold me to the literal terms of the first post in full knowledge that politics is not a black-and-white pursuit, and that even things seemingly set in stone can change. There’s no point arguing with a brick wall. In fact, if the puerile demands for my source to be revealed continue, I may have to exclude him from further participation in this site. To date, Alan has made no comment on any other post and has shown no interest in criticisms I have made of Liberal Party figures. He is obsessed by the Shorten piece. I think I’ve let it go on far enough in terms of giving him his say: it’s not adding anything, so we’ll just see what he comes back with — assuming, that is, he takes the hint.

  33. I must admit to being curious Alan. Do you spend as much time correcting the ABC when they publish incorrect information? Perhaps when they say that Pacific Atolls are sinking under rising seas when all scientific reports show the majority are stable or growing?

    • Yes and no, JohnB,
      The ABC deserves criticism when it gets things wrong, which it does from time to time.
      Yes, I was highly critical of the ABC when it tagged along with all the other media in the mindless condemnation of the pink batts scheme.
      But, no, climate change is not my area at all. Happy to leave that to the scientists.
      Cheers, AA

      • So you don’t worry if they spout rubbish that is verifiably wrong then?

        Re the “Pink Batts”, did it occur to you to leave it to the builders?

        It would appear that you only question what offends your belief system. Factual science and reason is a superior system, you might like to try it some day. 😉

  34. Hi again Evan,

    1a. Yes, let’s wait until the end of the month. Only fifteen days to go! Are you excited also, Evan?
    As for Mr Shorten’s response, whether predictable or not, the codes require us to ask. Correct?

    1b (i) No, there are no bans against using unnamed sources. But neither are there bans against outright fabrication. That is the point.

    1b (ii) Nonsense. Almost every writer has affiliations – family, religious, sporting, social, political, commercial, etc. These do not have to be divulged. The obligation is to ensure they do not “undermine our accuracy, fairness or independence” (MEAA code items 4 and 5).

    1b (iii) Indeed.

    4a. Evidence regarding opinion polls being rigged has been provided, Evan. Whether that evidence is compelling depends on the reader. As suggested earlier, this is not something we can prove like a quadratic equation.

    7a (i) and (iii) The calculations are credible. They are easily replicable, requiring year 10 arithmetic.
    The same methodology the BMJ uses for suicides can readily be applied to homicides, traffic fatalities, heart attacks, gastro-intestinal conditions and other causes of mortality arising from recessions.
    Sworn testimony is still sworn testimony, Evan, whoever it is from. If it is false, the commissioner has an obligation to test it, show why it is false and expose the perjurer to prosecution. If if it is true, but contradicts the findings the commissioner is paid to deliver, then he will simply ignore it.

    7a (ii) Studies have been done. Here is one I can personally vouch for:
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australia-tops-the-iarem-worlds-best-economy,6279

    7b. No problem, Evan.
    This is the profile of Australia’s economy in September 2013:
    * unemployment: 5.7%
    * gross debt: 28.6% of GDP
    * net debt: 11.4% of GDP
    * economic freedom: Heritage score 82.0, highest in the OECD
    * median wealth per adult: US$219,505: highest in the world
    * economic growth rate: 2.2%
    * interest rates: 2.5%
    * terms of trade: 98.3
    * balance of trade: -$792 million
    * value of the Aussie dollar: 92 US cents
    * productivity 100.6 index points

    If there was ever a better-performed economy in modern history, then where and when?

    7c (i) (a) Yes, indeed, pg 266 of the report is of particular assistance.
    It states:
    “12.9.26 The CSIRO’s analysis of the fire data indicates that the fire incident rate for those homes in which insulation was installed under the HIP is some 1.07 incidents per 100,000 households per year. That rate is below that which applied before the HIP started.”
    Correct. But how far below?
    Did fires, injuries and deaths drop below the rate during the Howard years by half? Or down to a third of the pre-existing rate?
    That is a pretty important comparison, don’t you think? The commissioner did not bother to verify. Why not?
    Because if he had, he would almost certainly have found fires, injuries and deaths occurred during the HIP at less than one quarter of the pre-existing rate.
    A phenomenally successful outcome! But that was not his brief, was it?

    7c (i) (c) No problem. Sydney University’s Emeritus Professor Rodney Tiffen does so here:
    http://insidestory.org.au/a-mess-a-shambles-a-disaster/#sthash.Dgfr8rM1.dpuf

    7c (i) (g) Of course. People died. So we would expect elements of the coroner’s report to be critical. But that does not negate the reality that the scheme succeeded overall in saving between 350 and 450 lives by averting a destructive recession and widespread unemployment – the only nation in the developed world to do so.

    7c (iii) I haven’t read Mr Garrett’s book, Evan. It is not available at bookshops here in France yet. I have no idea why not.
    But apparently a reputable journalist at crikey.com.au is quoted at page 368.
    Unfortunately, to discover the content, you will have to call in at your local library or bookshop. Sorry.

    Happy to discuss further, Evan. Cheers, AA

    • I’m not sure if you’ll still be inclined to respond after the delay (again, I’m sorry), but here we go anyway:

      1a) With regards to Shorten’s reply, if we know what he’s going to say in response there is no point in asking for a response. Your insistence on the codes being followed to the letter at all times seems to privilege process over substance and is, in this circumstance, little more than pointless bureaucratic box-ticking. I might gently remind you that the codes are not absolute dictates handed down from Mt Sinai.

      1b) i) Again you have not demonstrated fabrication, so that’s a moot point.

      ii) I would suggest that in the interests of transparency, it would probably be best if you did disclose your political affiliations given that you write prolifically on politics.

      7a) i and iii) You have repeated the assertion that your calculations are credible, but repetition unfortunately does not equate to truth, as an observer of politics like yourself would know. The very fact that your calculations did not go beyond Year 10 maths is indicative of how simplistic your assumptions were.

      More specifically, my primary concern is about your assumption that the trend in suicide – overseas trends too – would have been the same as the trends in everything from car crashes to cardiovascular disease: “A similar 4.2% increment in…” being the basis of your calculations is simply not credible based on the information you present in your article of 27 August 2014, or in common sense, if I may say so. Indeed, as you note yourself in that article, the outcomes for the six variables you identified were wildly divergent, from a decrease of 13.7% to an increase of 8.8%.

      Let me also make the point that the whole point of presenting evidence is to have authoritative sources corroborate what you are saying, not to afford yourself an opportunity to showcase your previous work. Moreover, the fact that you did not disclose the origin of the “sworn testimony and documentary evidence” when you first made reference to it was inadvertently misleading at best.

      As for the issue of perjury, shonky methodology is not, as far as I’m aware, a criminal offence, so you’re in the clear there.

      ii) This indicator of economic performance was invented by you and is therefore not a reputable indicator (unless you happen to be a professor of economics, which you would probably have told me already if that was the case). Also I refer you to what I said just above.

      7b) i) Unemployment was rising in Sep 2013 and had been for some time (but has now stabilised). In any case, there were OECD countries at the time with lower unemployment rates like Germany.

      ii) Gross and net debt are stock variables and not flow variables and therefore don’t provide a very good snapshot of economic performance. (And moreover they had increased substantially since December 2007 anyway.)

      iii) The Heritage Foundation? I see you have been fraternising with the enemy. More seriously though, our economic freedoms (although once again not the highest) are largely down to the efforts of the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments, and have little to do with the record of Rudd and Gillard.

      iv) This is almost entirely a function of speculation in the real estate market which, in the long run, serves little useful purpose.

      v) That level of growth is below trend and represents a marked deterioration from little more than a year earlier. I should also note that a number of OECD countries exceeded that figure (Iceland almost tripled it).

      vi) Low interest rates often reflect subdued economic conditions.

      vii) This was largely if not wholly down to the mining investment boom which one cannot credit the government of the time with. In any case an excessively high terms of trade is not always a good idea.

      viii) Not a pretty figure, even if not an immediate concern.

      ix) Refer to vii.

      x) Look at the trend. That’s pretty much where the figure should be, and is therefore not exactly very impressive.

      7c) i) a) Unfortunately the Royal Commission’s site is playing up a little and I can’t get my hands on the report. I’ll get back to you on this point in due time.

      c) I acknowledge that the piece says, “The stimulus worked” (although the paucity of figures is disappointing). However, it says earlier that “The home insulation program arose as ONE PART [my emphasis] of the… economic stimulus package”. Therefore, it is crediting the stimulus package as a whole, not the HIP, with the recovery, and hence once again you have mischaraterised the content of a source to which you refer.

      I would also remind you that the HIP cost $1 billion (although the subsequent clean-up cost even more). The stimulus package cost something in the region of 50 times that. Essentially the HIP was only a small component of the stimulus program and it is absurd to suggest that the HIP helped Australia avert recession.

      g) I think that you’d have to demonstrate the credibility of your figures before you make such an assertion. I refer you to 7a) (i) and (iii).

      7c) iii) Once again it is concerning to me that you have cited a source without being able to provide an accurate description of its content – this time because you haven’t actually read it.

  35. Hi again Evan,
    Yes, quite happy to pursue this. We are making progress.

    1a) We don’t know what Mr Shorten would have said in reply, do we?
    I remember working in radio once and doing the obligatory ask for a response, though we were sure the target would say “no comment”. To our amazement he offered a full confession. We got a great story we nearly missed.

    The point, however, is that the target is entitled to the opportunity to respond.

    No, codes are not law. But they protect both those accused by writers and the writers. In this instance, failure to observe the code incriminates the writer.

    1b) i) Fabrication has not been proven conclusively. Correct. Evidence for it has been presented. We will know next week.

    ii) No, journalists declaring affiliations in everything they write won’t work. Readers are entitled to ask, of course, and journos should be happy to respond. I have no party affiliation, Evan. My last active involvement in politics in France was leafleting for a local team called “Vivre ensemble” in last year’s municipal election. My last involvement in Australia was scrutineering in Victoria last year for The Sex Party, at the request of relatives who were candidates.

    7a) i and iii) Simple yes, simplistic no. The IAREM calculations are easily replicable. Anyone with year 10 arithmetic can check them. If false, this would have been revealed by now.

    Assumptions are normal. But it is important to specify when they are made, and the basis on which figures are chosen. Caution is also necessary when asserting conclusions when assumptions are involved. Hence the broad range of likely deaths averted by the stimulus program – between 350 and 450.

    ii) Yes and no. Plenty of professors of economics have been given the chance to review the IAREM methodology and findings, Evan. The first article was sent before publication to all economists at every university and think tank for whom email addresses could be found. All comments received were taken on board. None raised any objection.

    7b) i) Yes, some OECD countries had marginally lower jobless rates in 2013. But none had anywhere near the overall robust good health on all the indicators.

    ii) Correct. So we need to look at all the variables, not just gross and net debt. This was the major failing of mainstream economics reportage from 2010 to 2013 in Australia: it focused on debt to the exclusion of virtually all other indicators.

    iii) The Heritage Foundation. Correct. Even “the enemy” acknowledges the truth that the Rudd/Gillard period achieved extraordinarily good economic outcomes.

    iv) v) vi) vii) viii) ix) x) The point with all these figures is that overall they were far better than any other economy in the world. In fact, I cannot find any economy anywhere, ever, with better overall numbers. Can you, Evan?

    7c) Few analyses of the stimulus packages implemented by the Rudd Government assess separately the three components – the cash handouts, the BER and the HIP. This is because they were designed to be complementary and their implementation overlapped.

    The consensus abroad is that all three together were highly successful. Certainly more successful than any other program anywhere else in the world.

    g) Yes, credibility of the figures has been demonstrated. All set out in the sworn statement. Happy to look at any critique thereof.

    7c) iii) Okay. I have chased up the extract by email. But I don’t know what came before or after:

    Page 368: “Only a few members of the Fourth Estate, including Bernard Keane and Alan Austin from ‘Crikey’ … chose to step back and analyse the program in detail.
    “… Austin came to the view that the government’s achievement in avoiding recession had been virtually ignored, as had the fact that insulation had been installed in nearly a million homes at a greatly improved safety rate”.

    Happy to discuss further, Evan.

    Cheers, Alan A

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