Tony Abbott

Key is “a twenty-first century Holyoake” – Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter has written a very good post about why he thinks John Key may well go on to become NZ longest serving Prime Minister…but for the foibles of MMP.

IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2 months) would be surpassed and the title of longest-serving National Party Prime Minister would pass to the incumbent. How tempting it would then be for John Key to set his sights on “King Dick’s” (Prime Minister Richard John Seddon’s) crown of 13 years and 2 months. Just imagine that – a fifth term! By then the youthful Jacinda Ardern would be 41 years old!

Some will dismiss Key’s musings as yet another example of his celebrated political bravado. But there is another message to be drawn from his speculations concerning a fourth (or even a fifth) term. The Prime Minister’s suggestion that he and the National Party are good for another two or three election wins may also be read as his pledge to the electorate that any government he leads will be moderate and restrained in its policies.

Sir Keith Holyoake could not have governed New Zealand from November 1960 until February 1972 as anything other than a consensus-seeking prime minister. By indicating that he is not adverse to such a lengthy term of office, John Key is signalling to us that he, too, is a consensus politician.  Read more »

Lessons from Australia for the Labour party

I have had people ask me why I post on politics in the UK and in Australia.

My usual answer is because I believe them to be relevant. Those two countries provide a hint as to what happens in domestic politics. Especially with the Labour party.

Whilst National maintains loose ties with the Conservatives  in the UK and somewhat closer ties with the Liberals in Australia it is Labour that maintains very close ties with Labour in Australia and the UK labour party.

Many of David Shearer’s and now David Cunliffe’s strap lines and core policies come from UK Labour. So watching what happens in those countries leads to a closer and better understanding of what is going on here.

Which brings me to Labour’s problems in New Zealand…and the similarity between the problems the ALP is currently experiencing.

THE time has come for someone to take the Labor Party by the scruff of the neck and shake it until it recognises reality, truly admits defeat, reorders its priorities and changes key policies that have failed it repeatedly at the ballot box.

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Logic and survival dictate that the ALP must drop the convoluted arguments it has used for defending the carbon tax, the mining tax and its economic management for much of the past six years. Labor has to do what Tony Abbott did to the legacy of John Howard’s Work Choices, and bury and cremate the mining and carbon taxes.  Read more »

Aussie PM on flight MH370: “confident that we know the position of the black box”

Search and rescue officials in Australia are confident they know the approximate position of the black box recorders from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

At the same time, however, the head of the agency coordinating the search said that the latest ”ping” signal, which was captured by a listening device buoy on Thursday, was not related to the plane.

”We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometres,” Abbott said in a speech in the Chinese commercial capital Shanghai.

”Still, confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost four and a half kilometres beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on the flight.”

I think the whole world wants to know what happened.

At least the location the plane went down, and the flight path to get there, is now fairly well established.

 

– Reuters

Unions whining in Aussie as Royal Commission get underway

Finally they have a government in Australia who has the courage to take on the unions rorting the system, and slowly push them a little closer to extinction.

If only the John Key government would push for the same thing here, just grab a copy of their terms of reference, adapt it for NZ, and get the show under way.

After all, the honest unions have nothing to worry about.   So, no problem is there?

A ROYAL commission into trade union governance, slush funds and corruption is nothing more than a witch-hunt and taxpayers will be better served if more money went to enforcing existing laws, unions say.

The royal commission into trade union governance started in Sydney on Wednesday, with commissioner Dyson Heydon saying the inquiry’s both broad and restrictive terms of reference will probe the facts behind a range of union practices.

Justice Heydon says the commission does not want to see unions abolished or curbed into insignificance.  Read more »

The Key to defeat

Luke Malpass at The Spectator has an interesting article on how it is that John Key will be defeated…and ironically John Key’s decision to only provide a lacklustre opposition to MMP may bite him.

John Key is the most popular leader in the western world. Not by a little, but a lot. His net approval rating (approvals minus disapprovals) has consistently been around 50+ per cent. That compares with Tony Abbott at 10+ per cent and Bill Shorten at 8+ per cent. Julia Gillard was somewhere down in the -20 territory. Barack Obama and David Cameron are both around -10 per cent. So why on earth will Mr Key and his government struggle to get re-elected on 20 September? The answer is simple: Mixed Member Proportional.

This electoral system, reconfirmed at the 2011 general election, is a blight on New Zealand politics. In the same way the Hare-Clark system in Tasmania delivered the recent Mickey-mouse, tail-wagging-dog government, so MMP does in New Zealand. It entrenches minority government at the expense of stability and introduces obfuscation where accountability should reside.

The left wing is an assortment of average to failing parties of little support, but group them together and the most popular government and PM in modern history may well lose…beaten by a coalition of losers.

In theory, according to its advocates, MMP is great. As it is extremely difficult to get a majority of the primary vote (1950 was the last time it happened) there can be no ‘elective dictatorships’. Because you vote for an electorate and a party, you can split your vote and elect a local candidate you like, without necessarily voting for their party. Party lists allow highly competent people with little political appeal to be elected. Parties have to constructively get along, and no government can get too far ahead of the people.   Read more »

Only a fool believes you could legislate to determine a degree of personal offence

Larry Pickering comments on the offended nature of the left wing.

Change the names and terms into a New Zealand context…it is the same here as it is in NZ. Swap out Aborigine for Maori…

Greens and Labor’s Left dream of the perfect egalitarian PC world where no-one is offended by anything and everyone sleeps in the same conjugal bed. Well, that’s not the way it works, fellas, and it’s you lot that have made an art form of offending people.

No-one can agree with racial vilification, although we all come across it, but this debate is inane and widens, rather than closes, “the gap”.

Only a fool believes you could legislate to determine a degree of personal offence. Is “whitie c…” less racially offensive than, “boong”? Is “gwailo” (white ghost) more racially offensive than “chink”? Is “wog” racially offensive to a southern European when he refers to himself as a wog?

The terms, “Pom”, “Kiwi”, “Newfie”, “Yank”, “Jap”, “Coon”, “Abo”, “Chink”, “Wetback”, “Fuzzy Wuzzy”, “Raghead” are all racially based, but which is legally racial bigotry? All, none or some?

What about “Shortarse” ,”Fatso” and “Freckles”? Are they less or more offensive?

Those terms, and hundreds of others, will always be used, sometimes affectionately and sometimes not. It depends on how they are used, how well you know the person and in what context.

There is no law that can decide “offence”! And there is no law that can determine one’s legitimate or feigned degree of offence.

In the 1970s Labor tried to outlaw the term “Wog”, but unfortunately “Pom” and “Kiwi” were caught in the same legislative net, it was duly ignored.

Let’s not kid ourselves, existing law is all about Aborigines. But Aborigines are as guilty as we are of racially discriminatory remarks, at least in my experience. Reverse racism is rampant wherever Aborigines reside in numbers.

There is a massive battle going on in Australia right now. Tony Abbott is seeking to remove the hate speech provisions and the left is fighting hard.

PM Abbott’s proposed changes to current legislation will place “free speech” above what an individual might perceive as “offensive”. And “free speech” should win that battle every time.

Andrew Bolt was legally vilified for discussing “white Aborigines” and how they use a nominated ethnicity for financial advantage.

Okay, Bolt got a few facts wrong but he was right to say this is happening and right to ask is it fair.

Legally you are not required to prove you are of Aboriginal descent, that’s “offensive”, you need only to declare you are, and you can then join an entitlement queue that heavily favours Aborigines.

Is that fair to those who legitimately depend on social services?

This racial anomaly is what Andrew Bolt was debating, yet it was deemed illegal for him to do so, much to “white Aborigines’” delight.

Free speech was what our forefathers fought for, it’s a jewel in our Aussie ethic. No Labor/Green Lefty or Aboriginal activist should be allowed to take it from us and we want it back!

An important freedom

As the government in Australia moves to amend their draconian anti-free speech laws the howls of outrage from those which to keep the draconian laws in place is reaching weapons grade proportions.

The NZ Herald reports.

During last year’s election campaign, Tony Abbott pledged to change the law under which one of his staunchest supporters, the right-wing columnist Andrew Bolt, was convicted of racial discrimination for accusing nine fair-skinned prominent Australians of claiming to be Aborigines to secure jobs, awards and grants.

Now, under pressure from both sides of the political spectrum, Abbott may be ruing that promise to repeal or water down a piece of legislation that even his mentor and predecessor, John Howard, chose to leave intact.

Conservative Coalition MPs – backed by the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs and commentators including Bolt himself – want the Attorney-General, George Brandis, to scrap a section of the Racial Discrimination Act that makes it illegal to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person on grounds of race.

However, ethnic community groups are horrified by that prospect, as are some Coalition politicians. The Liberal MP Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives, has threatened to cross the floor, and Warren Mundine, who heads Abbott’s Indigenous Advisory Council, has warned him he is “heading down the wrong track”.

Bolt, meanwhile, is fuming over fresh claims of racism, aired by one of Australia’s most respected indigenous figures, Marcia Langton. Langton, who spoke out on the ABC TV discussion programme Q&A last week, subsequently apologised to the News Corp columnist for offending him, but added that “his obsessive writing about the colour of the skin of particular Aboriginal people is malicious and cowardly”.    Read more »

Abbott stops the boats

Illegal immigrants flocked to Australia when Labor was the government. Tony Abbott stood on a policy of stopping the boats and since being elected has taken a hardline. The results are undeniable.

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Graphic: Edi Sizgoric Source: TheAustralian

AUSTRALIA’S crackdown on boatpeople has slashed the number of asylum-seekers arriving in Indonesia, new UN refugee agency data shows.

Monthly applications for asylum-seeker registration handled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in Jakarta — overwhelmingly the busiest in Indonesia — dropped 71 per cent between February 2013 and last month.  Read more »

Tony Abbot walks the talk

Tony Abbott has been telling Australians that times are tough and they need to tighten their belts.

He also practices what he preaches.

Undeterred by the threat of deep-vein thrombosis, Prime Minister Tony Abbott cheerfully took to economy class last month to fly overseas for a short family holiday.

It was a commendable look for the leader of a government preparing to take the razor to the budget this year. And while Abbott’s office didn’t try to publicise his frugal travel arrangements, they did not go unnoticed.

A fellow traveller on the flight out of Sydney on December 20 covertly took a photograph of the Prime Minister looking relaxed in a blue polo shirt as he strode down the aisle to the back of the economy flight, and helpfully posted it to social media sites. Abbott’s office later confirmed that he paid for the flights for himself and his family to visit his eldest daughter, Louise, for Christmas in Switzerland. It’s understood he was not interested in an upgrade.

In recent months, living within one’s means – and deliberately not making a fuss about it – has been de rigueur for MPs from the new government, which is showing it’s serious about spending cuts.

Read more »

Aussie union ratbags cost Labor a lot of votes

The stench of corruption in Australian left-wing politics and union is so overpowering it is now costing Labor significant votes.

The Abbott government has regained the lead in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen opinion poll for the first time in two months, helped by a sharp drop in support for Bill Shorten’s performance and a Labor primary vote lurching back into the low 30s.

The result has all but restored the balance that saw the Coalition easily elected last September.

After several weeks in which the Coalition government has successfully linked industrial relations reform, union power, and corruption allegations in the building industry in national debate, Mr Shorten’s personal approval has slumped by an unusually decisive 11 points.

The deterioration comes after a week in which Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the terms of reference for a wide-ranging and potentially open ended royal commission into union corruption, naming five unions specifically – one of which was the AWU, the union giant formerly run by the Labor leader.  Read more »