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"So two vaginas make a penis now, do they?" one Coalition senator was overheard in the chamber on Thursday afternoon. The Senate had just passed a bill giving the gay partner of a mother or father the status of parent. It gives de facto couples access to the federal family law courts on property and maintenance matters. It was tweaked to apply to gay couples so as not to be discriminatory.[1]

The Liberal religious right spouts off again, and yet again embarrasses itself.

"Sack Keynesian Kevin" - does that apply to Turnbull too, considering his endorsement of the plan? If we criticise Labor's decisions in opposition, let's do the same with the coalition. And while we're at it, did it apply to Malcolm Fraser during his term in power? Or Menzies?

Pure free-market libertarianism is dead in the water. Look at governments across the world - Bush and the Republicans are bailing out and nationalising corporations! Too funny.

Rockin' all over the world - Want to annoy an arch free-marketer who believes in no government regulation or intervention in the economy? Show them how the people of the world are blaming the right rather than the left parties for the current global economic crisis. The Republicans are dead in the water in the US, the faltering governing Labour Parties of the UK and NZ have reversed their fortunes, not to mention Canada and Germany. The right is being blamed all around the world, and so they should be. A mixed economy is needed, with the appropriate regulations in place. Has the New Right had it's day?

Australia's "panic" over artist Bill Henson's photographs of a naked child have revealed a nation increasingly fearful of pedophilia, the use of children in art and the internet, according to a man who has written a book on the controversy.

Journalist, media critic and former host of the ABC's Media Watch David Marr will tonight discuss the nation's reaction to the images at the State Library of Queensland in a public lecture titled the Bill Henson Case - art and panic.

Mr Marr argues the furore, which led to police raiding an exhibition of Henson's work in May and seizing more than 22 photographs, was blown out of proportion by the media but represented deep-set, and at times irrational, public fears.[2]

I agree to an extent. As well, nothing represents this better than Turnbull supporting Henson prior to becoming opposition leader, but then slamming him after knocking off Nelson. Hypocritical? Politics? Yes to both. This entire issue has nothing at all on this single image.

...The Liberal Party has been taken over by a bunch of Hayekian market fundamentalists as demonstrated by the systematic culling of small “l” Liberals or old-fashioned Fraserian conservatives with a social conscience from their ranks. It happened in Victoria in the 1990s. It is happening now in NSW. Let’s not be misty-eyed about Friedrich Hayek: he taught (and modern Liberals believe) that there is no such thing as social justice and that the only dignity to be delivered to human beings is through their emancipation by free markets untrammelled by the state. Bob Menzies and B.A. Santamaria would be turning in their graves at the sight of what has happened to the centre-right of Australian politics as under John Howard it has moved to the extreme on industrial relations...

- Kevin Rudd, November 2006.[3]

And it continues to this day, exemplified by Turnbull's continuation of the same old policies, mixed with the same Nelson populism that nobody believes. It's a long road back...

Here it comes folks, less than a month out from the US presidential election, with polls Obama's way at around 50-42, the Republicans do what they know best. Turn in to the crying little girls they are and go for the gutter politics:

US Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has accused the Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, of associating with terrorists. With the Republicans trailing in the polls a month before the presidential election, Mrs Palin said the time had come to take the gloves off.

Speaking to supporters in Colorado and later in a Los Angeles suburb, Alaska Governor Palin attacked Senator Obama over his link to Bill Ayers, a founder of the militant group Weather Underground, that waged a violent campaign against the Vietnam War. Mr Obama served on a charity board several years ago with Mr Ayers, who is now a professor at the University of Illinois. The White House hopeful, who was a child when Weather Underground was active, has denounced Mr Ayers' radical activities.

Commentators say Mrs Palin's attack forms part of a broader Republican strategy to attack Mr Obama's character.[4]

I suppose when you're about to lose, you've got nothing left to lose. This from the woman who said coming from Alaska, which is 'sort of near Russia', gives her foreign policy experience.

THE secret file on federal cabinet minister Bob Debus held by the Australian Crime Commission has been condemned by former and serving police officials.

The Age revealed yesterday that high-ranking ACC officer Chris Enright secretly documented the personal habits, political allegiances and conversation of Mr Debus after meeting the Home Affairs Minister over dinner with other policing officials in April.

Several serving senior police said the creation of the file showed shocking judgement. The file included details of Mr Debus' alcohol consumption, views on police corruption and former Labor prime ministers.[5]

What the hell? Are we still living in the 60s/70s, where government agencies held information files on Labor parliamentarians, communists, church leaders, trade unionists, and activists. Only two Labor MPs, from both federal and SA state parliaments, did not have files... this is a disgrace. I shouldn't be surprised that they've compiled it on Debus, one of Labor's left-wingers.

"It was last century that we stopped police from compiling intelligence files of zero investigative worth on politicians and running the risk of eroding democracy by corrupt exposure and political abuse of those files," Mr Drury said.

Yeah and i'm the Queen of England.

Turnbull barely registers a bump in the polls. Rudd had an immediate, wide sweeping impact on the polls back in December 2006. Against Nelson, the most hopeless party leader in the history of this country, you'd expect a bit of a poll bounce. But Rudd and Labor remain on polling figures that Howard could only have had wet dreams over. Australians don't change federal governments very often, and it takes a lot for a party to be voted out. Anyone who thinks Rudd Labor is a 1-term government, as bad as the last 1-term government 1929-1932, is deluding themselves and still rocking back and forth in a foetal position muttering 'Howard' over and over.

Just remember, a part of modern Australian federal politics is the way the opposition party realises it must drop many beliefs it held whilst in government. So far there's been barely any change at all under the Liberals. Howard's polarisation will keep them out of power for a very long time.

"Kevin Rudd and I have very different political views," Malcolm Turnbull said.

"I believe that the role of government is to enable people to do their best."

"Whereas I think Mr Rudd has a different view, a view that is perhaps a more bureaucratic view, that sees government as knowing best."

"I don't think that respects the individuality, the diversity, the ingenuity of millions of Australians."[6]

That is Liberal code for "health, education, infrastructure investments are not the domain of government". And that is the difference, the Liberals don't invest in Australia's future. People want a $10b fund for health, people want a $10b fund for education, people want a $20b fund for infrastructure. We need investment in these areas, as pointed out by the IMF and world bank. And that's the problem with the Liberals - they cleanse their hands of it not believing it is for them to do. But untargeted vote-buying middle-class welfare? No worries!

The Liberals continue to bark on about the government not doing anything for pensioners "right now". Labor has a review of all pensions currently happening, not just aged care pensions, meanwhile they have given seniors a rise in their utilities allowance and a once-off $500 bonus. Let's compare this to the Liberals in government. Not only did they not talk about pensions at all during their time (let alone do anything about it), they actively considered lowering the pension! It is a shame Turnbull wishes to persist with the opportunistic politics.

A Liberal leadership change, Barnaby's crossbench Nationals Senators, and a shock 50-50 Newspoll in SA. A week certainly is a long time in politics.

When I first made it into the upper house in South Australia, a lot of politicians—state and federal—approached me in the same sort of way I suspect they would have approached the village idiot. I remember meeting the Hon. Philip Ruddock at a community event in Adelaide in 1998, where he asked me what party I was from. I replied I was an Independent who had run on a ‘no pokies’ platform. He looked at me stunned and said words to the effect of, ‘You actually got voted in on that?’

An excerpt from Nick Xenophons maiden speech in the Australian Senate, 27 August 2008.[7]

Next South Australian state election#Polling. What's happened? It takes scandals and problems of a large calibre to kill off governments. MHS isn't popular as displayed by the Preferred Premier rating, and as the ref states, the problem is a Labor one than Liberal popularity. So the issues have been the underfunded liability in WorkCover, which the Liberals supported, and water - governments cannot make it rain, Maywald is a Nationals MP and the electorate still apparently loves her and minister for water in Rann's cabinet, and the desal plant should come earlier than expected. The budget has a Triple-A rating. So what is the problem? Well I spose we could always look at it from the glass half full angle - Howard spent most of his term in office at 50-50 give or take a couple.

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. lol. Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon. wtf?

"The Howard agenda was set in the early 1990s and has washed through," says one (Liberal) MP. "It's time to move on. We've got to move forward and got to find ways to be attractive to the electorate."[8] It re-inforces that the public don't vote someone in. They vote someone out. Let's now hope the hard right elements within the party dissipate, and we can have a party with a social conscience on both sides. As much as it is going to really piss off the Howard loyalists, ilk of his kind never historically succeed. Howard and Bruce were the only real conservative Prime Ministers, coincidentally the only to lose their seats over IR reforms, both legacies have been rightly trashed. The party collapsed after Bruce, and what has happened in non-Labor politics also amounts to a collapse of the old guard.

Now is Turnbull's time to differentiate, or die. The choice is his. Either suits me just fine.

Liberals' gaffes give govt free kicks: SMH 23/9/2008

The Turnbull Liberals - and - Joyce's crossbench Nationals Senators. Politics suddenly just got interesting again.

So tell me, what happens when Turnbull wants to go in one direction while the majority of the party wants to go in the other? Part of being the leader of the Liberal Party is the authority they have over policy direction, which some see as a strength while other see as a weakness of the Liberal Party. Will Liberal Party tradition be broken with Turnbull dragged in to line by the conservative majority in the party, or will Turnbull drag the party along with him, kicking and screaming? And oh how I agree with Costello when he (and Turnbull) blames Howard for the failure to become a republic during their term of government due to the fact that it will be much harder on the Liberal Party in opposition, and that the majority of the Liberal constituency are monarchists. Costello's own (paraphrased) words. No wonder it has been dubbed 'The Turnbull Experiment'.

Can someone tell me what the difference is between Rudd, Nelson, and Turnbull when it comes to LGBT rights? They all support the removal of all financial discrimination (note the Liberals didn't care for it prior to losing government however) but are all against same-sex marriage. Does Turnbull really share the same views as Nelson, and ditto on Rudd? How bland and boring politics has become.

45-41, yet again the party is a divided party. But nevertheless, having moved away from 7 percent Nelson, expect a poll bounce. Not a great one, but a substantial one.

Liberal Party of Australia leadership election, 2008 - bwahahahahahaha. I honestly wondered, when Rudd was first elected, if the coalition was able to match their dismal performance during the Hawke/Keating years. The Liberal leadership, hostage to a book sale and a bitter leader that never was, and refuses to rule out a future run for the leadership. Nelson as low as 7 percent and 36-63 on 2pp, with Turnbull forces continuing to destabilise from their corner. Not only have the coalition matched it, but in less than a year they have blown anyone's wildest expectations at how disfunctional an opposition can be. If it was food, it would be very fattening.

The Greens win many large and small booths in the Mayo by-election and get within a couple % of winning. What a changed landscape modern politics is becoming.

Timeshift's quotes of the year:

The Liberal Party has now moved so far to the left that we don't recognise it any more.

Bob Randall, former SA Liberal President, after his defection to Family First.[9]

The last thing we want to do is develop a tradition of knifing our leaders.

Nick Minchin, coalition Senate leader, August 2008.[10]

2007 Australian federal election - Next Australian federal election

2006 South Australian state election - Next South Australian state election

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