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"In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me."

Posted July 28, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

Great essay by a former serviceman, Alex Hortonis, who knows a little bit about kicking down doors and sticking guns into people's faces. Enough that when it happened to him he knew what to do when it happened to him. And after.

I got home from the bar and fell into bed soon after Saturday night bled into Sunday morning. I didn’t wake up until three police officers barged into my apartment, barking their presence at my door. They sped down the hallway to my bedroom, their service pistols drawn and leveled at me.

It was just past 9 a.m., and I was still under the covers. The only visible target was my head.

In the shouting and commotion, I felt an instant familiarity. I’d been here before. This was a raid.

...

Hortonis argues that militirising police work creates a militarised, high threat environment that is more dangerous to operate in:

...law enforcement officers need the cooperation of the communities they patrol in order to do their jobs effectively. In the early stages of the war, the U.S. military overlooked that reality as well. Leaders defined success as increasing military hold on geographic terrain, while the human terrain was the real battle. For example, when our platoon entered Iraq’s volatile Diyala province in early 2007, children at a school plugged their ears just before an IED exploded beneath one of our vehicles. The kids knew what was coming, but they saw no reason to warn us. Instead, they watched us drive right into the ambush. One of our men died, and in the subsequent crossfire, several insurgents and children were killed. We saw Iraqis cheering and dancing at the blast crater as we left the area hours later.

The way he went about piecing together the circumstances and context of his own raid experience is very impressive citizen journalism. Better than a lot of pro journalists could manage, actually.

It's all here.

17 Responses to ‘"In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me."’

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted July 28, 2015
Always better to try and use reason before force, even in a defensive situation.
A fair number of folks, and not just cops, don't get that.

dweeze has opinions thus...

Posted July 28, 2015
SOP - shoot first, ask questions later. For some folks, it's easier to squeeze a trigger than talk nicely.

damian would have you know...

Posted July 28, 2015
It shouldn't be possible for such people to become cops. It says that it must be really, really hard to recruit good cops. Or there's no interest in paying for them.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon mutters...

Posted July 28, 2015
I passed this one on to a mate - response was "To Protect and Serve" . . . . . . ourselves.I'd seen something similar to this a few months back but it was about Aussies in Afghanistan (and the red rat). Also an interesting read but can't for the life of me find it anywhere

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NBlob asserts...

Posted July 28, 2015
I daily intercept & inspect people who'd rather I didn't. I wonder how my approach would differ in different contexts. In Noosa I risk upsetting a clients Labradoodle or spilling their Pinot Grigio. I don't routinely risk being shot in the fkn head.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2015
It's a different world, isn't it. If it's hard to recruit good cops in some places, it'd be even harder to stop them turning into manic cagerats with itchy teeth. I guess the way to do that is actually to change the conditions in which they operate, but that's a next level up challenge and many large interest groups like it the way it is.

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GhostSwirv has opinions thus...

Posted July 28, 2015

Seems to me a key element in how this scenario played out is race ... if Alex Horton was black and found sleeping in an apartment the police believed was illegally occupied he most likely would not have survived the encounter.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted July 28, 2015
Yep.

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2015
Ghost, the key element in this scenario is that he knew what was going on and stayed calm. He didn't spaz out, or panic, nor did he try to go after one of them.

I have found, even with the first rate dickheads that are in law enforcement, that the best thing to do is just stay calm and be very, very, painfully polite to them.

Umm, the other side of that is that I NEVER go to them with a problem. If I have a problem, I handle it myself.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 29, 2015
One of those situations where Right & Fair don't matter. It should be the professional's responsibility to manage the situation, Not the punter. But that isn't the reality. If Right & Fair were the dominant forces I wouldn't be up @ 0500, instead I'd be snuggled up between 2 bikini models sleeping off a coke binge. Instead I'm off to work.

GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted July 29, 2015

I haven't had any personal dealings with police of late, (if I don't count family functions as my youngest sister is now a zealous Police Prosecutor), but by all accounts the Thin Blue/Black Line has solidified into a very scared, very aggressive and very well-armed agency of govt.

A model of behaviour our current Federal govt. wants to ape for our Border Farce of a Customs and Immigration system.

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HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted July 28, 2015
Just saying is all.
https://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2014
10 x vehicles and 47 by gun fire.
Imagine the fkn uproar here!..worksafe would go fkn EPIC on their arses.Just remember...the line of work AINT THE FKN SAFEST!......

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w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 29, 2015
The most concerning thing was the seeming lack of any minimal enquiry before bursting into a person's bedroom in full swat team mode.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted July 29, 2015
Exactly, a swat team for a break in was the thing that made me say WTF? Maybe they've had past history of squatters taking residence and defending their newly found home with a full arsenal of grenade launchers and really bad language.

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Halwes mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2015
This reminds me of the circumstances here since the intervention. A big bunch of bored coppers will always find something to do except bust the child sex offenders which seems to be all too hard for them. Instead they sit on the track and empty peoples possessions onto the road searching for that single gramme of pot that might justify their cushy existence.
If you do run into an NT copper I would suggest, from painful experience, that you be very polite and agree with everything he says. You might as well because you are going to be verballed no matter what you do. If you run into a man hating female NT cop then you have got no hope.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 29, 2015
Given the militarization of Police is it possible the old adage applies "if all you have is an hammer, every problem looks like a nail"?

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Trevor Pyle is gonna tell you...

Posted August 25, 2015
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
This is a real and growing problem here in the states, but it won't (safe to assume) be really addressed until a bunch of white folks continue to have bad, highly visible experiences like this one.

Remember how people said that there wouldn't be an Ebola treatment "breakthrough" until whites became infected...

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Get to da choppaaa

Posted July 25, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

When I realised it was my turn to write the Saturday News Review column for SMH and Bronnie was still Speaker of Parilament, I was so excited I could hardly finish my foie gras. There were two challenges for this column.

First was coming up with something, anything, that hadn't already been written, blogged, tweeted or meme generated about her grotesque appetite for living large on the public tit. Second, was cramming it all into one column. Once you look into her expense claim history it's hard to know where to start. The helicopter rides are a crowd fave, but far from the most most lucrative the many operators of Australia's booming luxury transport business.

Booming because of the efforts of one, very naughty Madame Speaker.

3 Responses to ‘Get to da choppaaa’

insomniac mutters...

Posted July 25, 2015
The quote. How hard did you look? First page of Google.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted July 26, 2015
Good god, Man, did you actually attribute the quote "Get to the choppa" to Commando?
For shame. For shame. Dutch will not save you now.

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Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27, 2015
I think that's the most frightening piece of photoshop ever.

Ever.

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Patriotic Texans Resist Teaser Pony Grab

Posted July 16, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

Dateline: Beaver's Lick. TX.

Fearful of a Federal Gubbermint intent on grabbing their teaser ponies and precious freedoms, residents of the Lonestar State are burying their ponies before Ayatollah Obama's forces can sweep in under the cover of the Jade Helm 15 military exercise and take them all.

State Governator McKinney McKinney has ordered the National Guard to monitor the exercise and check all US Army horse floats entering and leaving the Lone Star state.

Local man Randall Biceps declared that all three residents of Beaver's Lick are ready to resist any move on their teaser ponies, but resistence forces appeared to split this morning when neighouring Beaver's Licker, Miss Missy Flagstaff claimed Mr Biceps would likely be too drunk to wake up during the two week duration of the exercise.

27 Responses to ‘Patriotic Texans Resist Teaser Pony Grab’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 16, 2015
How the fuck did those yobbos figure out that the exercise is a cover for a federal military take over of Texas?

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted July 16, 2015

Wait a minute - I thought the U.S. of A's finest were doin' War Games in the Deep North of Oz at the moment?

Is this Lone Star Lickin' just some kind of diversionary mission?

dweeze ducks in to say...

Posted July 16, 2015
PNB - I reckon that their tin foil hats homed in on the secret signals from Barry's bunker in Washington. Time for you to lock and load and prepare for martial law.

Bunyip is gonna tell you...

Posted July 17, 2015
PNB, it is obviously Greybeard's fault.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 18, 2015
+1

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 16, 2015
Personally I thought this conspiracy had all the hall marks of a Prof Boylan exercise in winding up the locals. <h3 style="-webkit-transition: all 0.1s ease; transition: all 0.1s ease; font-size: 18px; margin: -4px 0px 0px 40px; font-weight: 400; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">
</h3>

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Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted July 17, 2015
On a serious note, I can't even wrap my head around the notion that Jade Helm could be considered a covert, take over Texas, exercise.
Of course, it is the same state which claims that Moses is a Founding Father.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted July 17, 2015
Seems reasonable to me.
Was at a cigar shop the other night, not my normal cigar digs, minding my own business when some guys around me pulled me into a discussion, as happens in cigar shops, about the situation in Greece.
That turned to a discussion of the eventual breakdown of American society and what would happen. I advised them that I was already eyeballing Warlord status and that they would do well by swearing fealty now before the rush.
One guy asked me why I thought that I would survive.
My reply, "Already having a plan, my sociopathic ruthlessness coupled with a sense of fairness, charisma and a bunker stocked with weapons, ammo and food/water.
Reasonable on all levels.

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted July 17, 2015
and a spectacular hat ... don't forget the hat.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 17, 2015
After informing your conversation partner about your plan, did he try to buy in? I most certainly would have. I have an agreement in my pocket at all times should I ever need to buy into an End of The World survival plan.

And please, from the rest of you: no lawyer jokes. You would do this, too, if you had the sense, the education, and the cash.

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Cintamani has opinions thus...

Posted July 17, 2015
What i dont understand is why they would invade their own country in the first place.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted July 19, 2015
Because they hate freedom.

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Halwes reckons...

Posted July 17, 2015

Is there really a place called Beaver Lick.? I want to live there.

Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted July 17, 2015
And wtf is a teaser pony?

insomniac asserts...

Posted July 17, 2015
Dave W
It's the little horse who gets the mare all excited and then gets lead away with a superboner while the stallion strolls in and does his bit.

yankeedog asserts...

Posted July 17, 2015
Halwes-there is indeed a place called Beaver Lick. Actually, two-one in Missouri, one in Kentucky. There's also a Big Bone Lick (also in Kentucky) for those so inclined.

Wisconsin boasts Bong State Recreational Area (named for famous WWII ace and pioneer jet pilot Richard Bong and resident of Wisconsin-not named after the smoking device). If there'd been a just God in the universe, Bong would have been a resident of Weed, California.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 18, 2015
I think Bong is a western suburb of Weed, California. I distinctly remember seeing a big sign reading "Welcome to Bong" and under that in smaller letters "The Gateway to Weed.)

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 18, 2015
There's a town called Woodenbong in northern NSW, near the Queensland border. It's more or less between Mount Warning and Mount Mistake.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 17, 2015
This is very Boylan.

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Governor McKinney McKinney puts forth...

Posted July 18, 2015
The situation is in hand and for a bit of real world fun with words, there IS a liquor store in Beaver Colorado named Beaver Liquors. Not kidding.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 18, 2015
How far is that from Houston?

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted July 18, 2015
Ive done a little reading about Jade Helm after hearing about it on the rather excellent 'Stuff they don't want you to know podcast.' I'm astounded, completely amazed that anyone could buy into this. Ok, so you are sure you got some extra- terrestrial Hopoate action, convinced 911 was an inside job & believe there is a cartel of bankers who control the world, but really? Seriously, I'm intrigued. Has it reached a point where if the federal government says X, then axiomatically Y is true? Someone cleverer than I (shut up Wrinkly) once said 'when the governed lose faith in the governing, revolution is imminent.' What happens when a (small & vocal) % of the population becomes convinced that Everything the Government spokes-suits say is a lie?

damian puts forth...

Posted July 18, 2015
By way of trying to find some sort of meta-index of scholarly articles and research in the growing field of "liberals and conservatives are different in surprising ways", I recently came across and read a book called "The Republican Brain" (which provided such an index). It may be an interesting read in the context of the question you just asked. It's far from solid, sometimes degenerates into schoolboyish sniggering, but it does pull together a number of real current streams of activity based around trying to understand what and why these things happen.

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damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 18, 2015
Okay I'm having trouble not reading that as "taser pony".

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 19, 2015
I grew up in Beaver County.
The county seat is the town of Beaver. Famous for appearing in the 1986 Michael Keaton movie Gung Ho.
The Japanese in the movie swam in the Beaver River (empties into the mighty Ohio). My favorite bar, The Riverside Saloon, also sits on the Beaver River. I have drunkenly skinny dipped in that river on several occasions. Because, hot chicks. Beaver in the Beaver we used to call it.


John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted July 19, 2015
Livin' the dream.

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Who is distracting whom?

Posted July 7, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

"For a government that is so very, very keen not to be distracted by same sex marriage, the Abbott government is doing a hell of a job distracting itself with increasingly bugshit arguments against same sex marriage...."

More at Blunty.

11 Responses to ‘Who is distracting whom?’

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 7, 2015
It would be a great pleasure if Tony Abbott was forever known as the Gay Marriage Prime Minister.

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2015
I agree Sleepless, but you haven't given Tony Abbott enough due credit.

Proto-coal demands he be known as the ...

Gay Death Cult Terror Marriage With Coal Q&A Is Evil Prime Minister

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Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted July 7, 2015
Is now a bad time to gloat about the United States of America taking the lead on a piece of social policy ahead of Australia?

Also, when will they switch to the drachma? I'm looking forward to traveling to Athens for some tax deductible research on the cheap.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 7, 2015
I for one thing it's a perfect time to gloat about exactly that, and by the way well done you guys.

Dave W puts forth...

Posted July 7, 2015
Mrs W and I are travelling to Greece in a few weeks. I'm a little scared, to be honest. We're either going to be seen as walking ATMs or targets. Either we're going to be welcome, I'm sure.

w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted July 7, 2015
I hadn't realised that gay marriage was already legal in 36 of the 50 states. Australia can be proud that, at the federal level, we do not have politicians corruptly accumulting high personal wealth via their positions. On the flipside, we have some weird zealots in there.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted July 7, 2015
I'm pretty sure by last count nearly everyone is taking a lead ahead of Australia on one social policy or another.

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yankeedog has opinions thus...

Posted July 7, 2015
Of course, everyone realizes that if the 'gay marriage' issue is taken care of in Australia (through judicial action or policy change or plebiscite or however), and the politicians can't spend endless hours arguing about it, it forces them To Take Action On Something Else. Something, well, possibly important. That may or may not be a good thing. We're running an awful risk of them screwing something up really badly...:)

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Blarkon mumbles...

Posted July 7, 2015
Abbott has the calculus down - he knows that while a majority may agree with the proposition, it won't change many votes come election time. He's quite happy to let progressives expend a lot of energy on the issue *because* if the energy is being spent there, it isn't being spent on something that might change votes come election time.


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dweeze is gonna tell you...

Posted July 7, 2015
You mention a 'mature polity', 'grown ups' and Abbot government in the one article. These things would seem exclusive of one another. Clowns - oh for sure, but the only work that they show any great zeal for or competence at would be that of distraction from their many failings.

Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted July 8, 2015
What Dweeze said. So long as these clowns can keep everyone distracted with the 'look over there' issues that keep social media in a frenzy, nobody is going to notice the very real damage from their cuts to funding for homelessness, drug & alcohol rehab, mental health & DV shelters.I drop my OH at the train at south bank at dawn every day for the morning commute, & this winter we've both noticed a big increase in the number of people sleeping rough and kids riding the trains at night trying to stay warm and get some sleep because it's the safest place they can find.Thanks to the cuts to other areas, finding a place in a DV shelter for the night is now like winning the lottery, because they are picking up the slack from cuts to other areas. But as long as the LNP pout and sulk about Q&A, that story will stay on the back pages of the ABC website where it belongs, eh.

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The Boxer

Posted February 7, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

At the Herald this morning:

Finally the PM will stand up and defend the magnificent record of this government by doing what he does best, lashing out with ill-timed, poorly aimed haymakers that are as likely to knock the false teeth out of a passing grandmother as they are to land on anyone else.

"I am very confident, I am very confident," he repeated for reporters at the leadership weigh-in, before adding that he was very confident. "I know my colleagues, I trust my colleagues, I know and trust my colleagues. I know my colleagues got elected to end the chaos and that's exactly what we'll do," he said, swinging a chaotic, looping roundhouse punch at a picture of Malcolm Turnbull taped to a heavy bag. The blow landed, with a sickening wet crunch, on the jaw of a would-be medical student whose guard was down while she contemplated the crippling university fees with which the PM had cunningly distracted her.

Image ©Glen Le Lievre

67 Responses to ‘The Boxer’

JG mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2015
A fabulous story. Thanks for the link, Damian.

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MickH would have you know...

Posted February 7, 2015
Why is it that a majority of the LNP MP's and the media haven't cottoned on to the fact that you really can't draw comparisons between what happened to Rudd and what is happening to Tone?
Rudd was an extremely popular leader with the voters and the reasons for his shock dismissal were kept from them. The resulting anger was understandable. But that's not the case with Tone. Tone, through his own actions, is an extremely unpopular PM and a large majority of them want the embarrassing fuck tard removed from office forthwith. (I have even heard of a few parties being organised to celebrate this if it comes to pass).

What the LNP needs to realise is that if, according to the polls, Turnball is made the PM, he becomes the preferred PM over Shorten by a country mile!
As a Labor voter, I'm now thinking I'd rather Tone stay with the job! :)

JG is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2015
It's a worry. I don't think Abbott will last until the next election. Either way--whether Toned Abs survives this round or not--ie spill #1-- the Libs' disgraceful policies remain.
I'm worried that the Libs will be re-elected at the next federal election if Malcolm Turnbull gets to be the Liberal Party's leader. Trouble is that Turnbull might be more popular than Shorten, purely based on charisma, rather than policies. I hope the Australian public wake up to themselves next election.
Witty article, JB (and clever illustration). Had me smiling with your imagery. I can just see Abbott jigging around in the boxing ring, spurring for a fistie fight. Australia: land of boxing roos and red speedoed politicians. Take your places. Ring the bell.
Joanna

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MickH mutters...

Posted February 7, 2015
'Abbott isn't president. He might want to run the prime ministership like a little Oval Office but this is a parliamentary democracy, not a republic with a directly elected executive. His desperate insistence, again and again this week, that the Australian people elect the Prime Minister, is exactly the opposite of being true. What a delicious irony that such a reactionary monarchist should appeal to pure republicanism in his final moments.'
This is fantastic! Not many people, I suspect, have realised this. Oh! To bathe in the hot bubbly irony pool!

Kate H ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2015
Yes that is absolute GOLD...But TA is a simpleton and prepared to do and say anything to hold onto power.

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MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2015
Campbell Newman approached to stand in Victorian seat of Indi'
WTF?!!!

Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2015
Hmm let's see. Independent Cathy McGowan was elected on a wave of frustration with the incumbent, Sophie Mirabella, who was seen as a blow-in from the big smoke (she set up a legal practice in Benalla not long before being pre-selected for the hitherto safe Liberal seat). Much of the frustration her constituents had with her was based on her lack of consultation and her focus on party issues and inside-Canberra-beltway matters instead of her constituency.
So I would have thought parachuting Newman in from Qld with a view to him going on to lead the party would be a great way for the Libs to show the people of NE Victoria that it has heard the message they are sending them.

Anthony would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2015

The best bit is the comment that 10% of the army are stationed in that seat and the presumption that they would be automatic votes for Newman. Somewhat problematical hen the government shafted the military over pay and conditions and the incumbent is a well liked moderate independent conservative.

In fact the ex-military people I know (almost universally conservative voters) despise Campbell Newman.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2015
What are the true odds that Abbott will get das boot?

damian mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2015
Uncertain. During the week I'd have said it is unlikely, but we've just seen a bunch of revelations that he's basically been so difficult with his supporters (notably including Julie Bishop) that you would have to imagine they are on the edge between exasperation and changing side.
It is more that the likely candidates aren't ready. Bishop herself will have seen how the press dealt with Australia's first female PM, who came to power in eerily similar circumstances, and I think rightly would not consider stepping into the line of fire like that. Morrison, unbelievable though he might be as possible PMial material, will be groomed by the right as a successor (Abbott isn't really from the right, but he plays to it and in return it has given him his power base) but certainly can't do that for himself and will need a few years.
Pyne should be disregarded... he's like a goblin riding the shoulder of one of the stronger candidates and flinging poo at rivals and enemies alike. If he's lucky he'll pick the winner and be permitted on that shoulder (no guarnatee).
Hockey is out of the running and it's possible his career will go down with Abbott's.
Turnbull is most likely, but he is the sort of bloke to pick his fight rather than to let the fight pick him. There's every indication that he won't regard this as auspicious timing, and will decline from entering the fray.
There may be no spill on Tuesday. There may be a spill, but the current partnership of Abbott and Bishop may be re-elected unopposed. This may be a reprieve and a last chance for Abbott (and Hockey). But most would see it as the right buying time to groom Morrison. If that's the way it plays, Turnbull will eat Morrison alive. No matter what happens, I think they are on their way to 2 or 3 terms of electoral oblivion, unless whoever takes over when they go down at the next election (presumably Turnbull) pulls a miracle out of his back pocket.

MickH mutters...

Posted February 7, 2015
As I said above Damian, Gillard did NOT come to power in the same circumstances, she organised the spill. Tone did it to himself here

damian puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2015
I say next election, but it's still very possible the ALP will win it for the Lib/Nat coalition next election, just like they did last time. Please note that it's the ALP who brought Tony Abbott to power, something I personally will find difficult to forgive in future years, if I ever find I can at all.

MickH ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2015
Paul, I have seen a number of these scenerios play out and they always end with a new PM. The very fact that his back bench feels the need to question his leadership, along with his poor poll results, have sunk him. Thank god.
I'll gladly give Damian odds that he goes.

BigWillieStyle has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2015
I'm willing to bet Toned Abs is going nowhere. It's waaaaaaay more important to the Libs that they be seen as NotLabor, than actually doing what the entire country wants them to do, which is to consign this dumb little man to the curb/kerb. I reckon he'll lead the Libs to the next election.

damian reckons...

Posted February 7, 2015
Like I said, during the week it was unlikely, now it's uncertain. I won't give more than 50/50 either way, for the reasons above.
There's a separate discussion going on about education reforms where my main bugbear is reading comprehension and I pick it being worst between our parents' and our generation... and I s'pose this discussion is an example contributing to my case there.

Abe Frellman reckons...

Posted February 7, 2015
Paul, the market odds for him getting the boot between now and the next election (c.15 months away) are 3:1 on, ie there is a 75% probability he is toast. However, because at Tuesday's meeting he is able to determine how the vote will be run, he can call for a show of hands on whether to run a vote in the first place. This will split those against him between the vocal backbenchers who will happily put their hands up to call for a vote and those who are being quiet about it, for eg cabinet ministers, junior ministers, etc, who would probably vote against him in a secret ballot. So the likely result on Tuesday is that the motion to have a vote is defeated, possibly quite convincingly. His future from then on looks grim though, as those disgruntled by the fact they had to break cover via the show of hands use that as justification to whiteant him. Result: slow, messy demise. Or as a mate of mine who is a lot less balanced in his politics than yours truly said to me this week: "Don't shoot, LET 'EM BURN!"

MickH mutters...

Posted February 7, 2015
abe, the brisbane times said yesterday that the spill vote will be by secret ballot

Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2015
I think his short term future swings on this.

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2015
I'm going with the NotLabor angle suggested by Big Willie, at least until the next fuck up, which won't be long. Tones will survive this one, think his leadership and policies have been endorsed, and carry on to fuck up in a short time frame, and if not then the next budget will do it.

Abe Frellman mutters...

Posted February 7, 2015
The thing is, Insomniac, there are going to be a lot of backbenchers in marginal seats who value their jobs more than the need to appear as Not Labor. But you've certainly hit the nail on the head as to the argument that the old guard from the safe seats will trot out.

Abe Frellman is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2015
MickH, I caught some of Turnbull's 'doorstop' this morning (really a journo was camped outside his home and he and his wife just happened to be going out for an early morning walk). While he pledged his support for The PM, he made a point of quoting John Howard to directly contradict him - leadership being a gift of the party room etc. The other thing he did was to gushingly complement The PM on using a secret ballot (so that nobody feels under pressure) and leaving the meeting for Tuesday, to give members a good chance to chat on Monday in Canberra.
I think both sides are being deliberately ambiguous about whether the secret ballot is for just the leadership vote (in the event the spill motion is carried) or also for the spill motion itself that precedes it (the vote to have a vote, as it were).
Turnbull is signalling that he thinks the spill motion should be by determined by secret ballot, but I'm not convinced that TA has actually committed to it. Could you point me to this BT article please?

Abe Frellman mutters...

Posted February 8, 2015
And after hearing this, TA has within half an hour announced that the meeting will be brought forward to Monday morning. It's all happening.

damian asserts...

Posted February 8, 2015
I guess our Malcolm's been keeping his powder dry for a while. If TA offers him Treasurer, do you reckon he'd take that and use it to build his profile? He may be in a position to take credit for "fixing" the stuff that Hockey, rightly or wrongly, has been in the frame for since June. Is TA one who would even consider longer term stuff like arranging a structured transition?

Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2015
He might, but TA has brought forward the meeting to this time tomorrow, so unlikely to happen I think.

Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2015
Actually, if the spill motion is narrowly defeated (regardless of how it's conducted, but particularly if he goes down the show of hands path), TA might then try to shore things up by washing his hands of both Credlin and Hockey. Then maybe he moves Morrison to Defence to keep him quiet. As the Mythbusters would say, Plausible.

damian mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2015
Morrison is an interesting figure at this stage. By those guys' standards he's performed well - he's proved himself capable of eating a shit sandwich for the team and loving it. But for those very reasons people in general don't like his breath very much at the moment, so he needs a bit of time eating nothing but peaches, custard and elderflowers before he's a plausible leader.
Dunno about Hockey. He's in one of the safest Lib seats in the country, unless he loses endorsement he'll probably outlast them all and eventually die in office. But who knows... maybe in 15 years he'll do a John Howard

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted February 7, 2015
PNB, if the spill motion gets through they have the option of secret ballot or show of hands.He'll have more credibility if he allows it to go to a secret ballot & he survives the blood-letting.I watched 7.30 report on ABC last night, it's on iview if you can access it, and it has a good take on the odds of that.If he does survive this spill then the verdict is that he's been mortally wounded & it's only a matter of time before the entire pack sets upon him & rips him into pieces.As others have said, the only person who could replace him with any hope of winning the next election is Malcolm Turnbull & he's too moderate for most of the LNP to tolerate that.

damian asserts...

Posted February 7, 2015
Turnbull is only moderate on social/progressive issues. On economics he's as hard as they come, probably more so than most because he lacks the believing-your-own-sides-propaganda veil that tosspots like Corman and Abetz seem to wear.

pi has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2015
I reckon if it's a secret ballot in the support of the spill motion, he's goneski. If it's a show of hands, he'll win but be mortally wounded, there'll be six more months of turmoil, the NSW government has a good chance of being toppled, and he'll be gone anyway.

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Lobes mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2015
Impossible
for Abbott to stay in power now. As we saw with Rudd/Gillard the media
and the leakers will never stop until he is rolled. Only two possible
candidates to replace him; JBish and Turnbull. The Liberals will never
select a leader from outside their Sydney power base so Game-Set-Match
to Malcolm.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2015
Apropos of nothing in particular, Joe Hockey is in North Sydney, the very safe seat bordering Maxine McKew's old seat of Bennelong. Don't think he's got it in him, but you never know. If there was a time when he might put his hat on a corner pole and have a go, this could be it. Very unlikely of course.

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Sudragon puts forth...

Posted February 7, 2015
40 quatloos on the big ear'd contender in the red trunks...

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SZF asserts...

Posted February 7, 2015
He's been a dead man walking for at least a week - ever since the betting agencies had better odds on Tone not leading the Libs at the next election.

damian mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2015
He's had the pallour of death for a while. It's come to seem normal.

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BigWillieStyle ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2015
If Malcolm Turnbull does get the chocolates on Tuesday, have you given any thought to a witty moniker for him? We've had the Ruddbot, Orange Roughie and Toned Abs in recent times.

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Rhino has opinions thus...

Posted February 7, 2015
Listen. I know the leadership of your country is at stake and all. But, all y'all have NOT noticed, or at the very least, commented on, the humorous anecdote that I posted on the He's Baaaaack thread. Comment #34.
I gave you bastards a taste of my stream of consciousness and you will abide. No edits. One mad typing session. A gut laugh.

damian mumbles...

Posted February 7, 2015
Oh we all saw that. We were just too polite to point out that... oh yeah

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted February 7, 2015
Bastard. I stayed up all night for some slight validation. It is 0432 here. Freezing cold on the patio and my industrial grade heater is out of propane and I dare not drive to the local 24x7 store to acquire another tank lest I be pulled over and be sent to the hoosegow for having inbibed too many adult beverages this evening.
Dropping the names of Boylan, Murphy and/or Birmo would not work as well as I'd like in Cherokee County, Georgia. (Yes, the county is named after the native people that were evicted and forced to walk to Oklahoma - for you Ozites, that's like Brissy to Sydney - I think.
Actually, my fear is that they would know of Boylan, fear him, and instead of arresting me, they would shoot first and dispose of my body to avoid facing him in court.
If I mentioned Birmingham, they'd think I was an Alabama fan. An equally fatal outcome in that situation.
And, if I said Murphy. Well, Georgia was an Irish penal colony. They would assume he was my partner in drunkeness and there would be hell to pay. They would probably beat me about the head and shoulders and leave me to suffer.
So, your pitiful dismissal of my little joke does not bother me in the least.
Who am I kidding? This is killing me.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2015
In Queensland, white Australia faced a similar problem to the one your Georgians faced. Our solution was to darft a certain number into "Native Police" force, which in practice consisted of 2-3 dozens of mounted troops, each consisting maybe 30 men. The process was referred to as "dispersing native camps", whenever these became locally problematic for some reason.
The first half hour would involve shooting the inhabitants (all of them). The next few days would be about burning the bodies. The following days would involve burying the ashes. They'd generally be wrapped up in a week and a half.
In contrast to the practice in Poland and Ukraine in the 1940s, we didn't then also shoot the Native Police. Which suggests there are some salvageable elements of humanity to be found in the whole, decades-long episode. Probably much as there would be in your north-American history. But all this stuff is a bit of a challenge as you might imagine.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted February 7, 2015
Oh, and if any guy with the middle name of Bligh becomes PM ... The same middle name as his father and obviously passed down through the generations as you English-Lite people tend to do ... Well, you simple bastards will have gotten what you deserved.
Sincerely,Fletcher Christian.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 7, 2015
Quite like Bligh, as a historical figure. Damn impressive trick navigating the cutter from the Bounty over the distance he did, with so few supplies and so many men. You know the story that Christian was gentry and Bligh middle class, and the dynamic of the mutiny was all about that? Bligh was generally not among the harshest of disciplinarians in the navy, and in fact most blamed the mutiny on his relative indulgence of his crew.

Anthony swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 8, 2015
I assume that the Rhino is aware that the previous premier but one in Queensland was a direct descendent of one William Bligh of Bounty and Rum Rebellion fame.

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Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2015
Latest word is that there's a peace deal being thrashed out where Turnbull agrees not to step up in the spill motion in exchange for being made Treasurer.

So if that's true, I predict the next arc of the whole affair will be Hockey white-anting like crazy as revenge for getting tossed under the bus, and another spill motion by the end of the year at the absolute latest.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted February 8, 2015
I have never enjoyed a discussion here more than I have enjoyed this one. The chess match that is modern democracy is infinitely fascinating. The way y'all move the pieces on the board is fundamentally no different than the way it is done everywhere else.

Abe Frellman reckons...

Posted February 8, 2015
Hmmmm, I think it is missing something and could be enhanced with an extra dimension like wagering. I think in the next revamp of the website it would be good if a 'clearinghouse' of various wagers could be incorporated. For example, "Damian has wagered $10 with MickH that outcome X will occur by a certain season (where that certain season is defined as 1 second past midnight on the first of Dec/Mar/Jun/Sep)." Of course any bets lost by our host would be declared null and void as a matter of course.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 8, 2015
Yes. This is a very, very good idea.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted February 8, 2015
The only safe bet I would make is that someone pretty darn despicable will lead the Liberal Party of Australia this time tomorrow, whether or not that will involve Sir Peter Cosgrove swearing him or her in as Prime Minister of Australia (unnecessary if it's the Abster after all)....

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MickH mumbles...

Posted February 8, 2015
Is anyone else getting sick of Tone's 'Captain's calls'?

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2015
I reckon a few in his party are pissed off about the meeting being brought forward without consultation or prior warning. The stupid fucko doesn't learn.

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 8, 2015
My $.02 As always we are only getting the tip of the ice berg, through the filter of desperate journos. I suspect that TA will be PM @ the next election, as he has a reputation as a successful campaigner. What we are seeing is the application of force to a lever, with the fulcrum is the noise over the knighthood. The hands on the lever are the Drys extracting PPL.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2015
Looks to me like Tony easily won the "informal" vote.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted February 9, 2015
Well yes, but when 40% of people essentially vote for "nothing" in a one-way contest there will be leadership rumblings for some time to come.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted February 9, 2015
Cold comfort. Anything short of deposing the King is a failure.

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2015

+++Well yes, but when 40% of people essentially vote for "nothing" in a one-way contest there will be leadership rumblings for some time to come.+++

Someone's dug up a lovely quote from Abbott's time as Opposition leader, when he demanded of the former PM how she could possibly claim a mandate for office when a third of her colleagues had failed to express support for her.

Wonder if anyone'll ask him about that?

+++Cold comfort. Anything short of deposing the King is a failure.+++

I dunno. I think what we saw was the opening move in a longer process. It's like saying that the first axe-stroke against the trunk of a full-grown tree is a failure because it takes more axe-strokes to bring the thing down.

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted February 9, 2015
Yes, I would say, like in a papal vote, this is just stage 1. I reckon the likely longer term outcome is Abbott resigning. Depends on the party room confidence in the alternatives. Also, you sense the media have decided that it is time for a new jester. If the media maintain high interest in the leadership story, that is usually terminally corrosive.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2015
w, do you think he might not resign but instead go to an election as an alternative, just to say if I can't have the top job, no one can?

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted February 9, 2015
I wouldn't think so. He survives only at the behest of the elected federal coalition members. I reckon there had better be a poll bounce. Everyone will be looking at the next couple of newspolls with great interest. Maybe he will get a lift in thenpolls. He has looked so sad. Like a grieving child at a parent's funeral, wanting to cry but bravely holding up his little chin, but oh dear, you can see the confusion and hurt in his little eyes. Maybe he will get some sympathy votes.

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Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted February 9, 2015
If they go to the next election with him as PM, they are more likely to lose. In my view that's a win.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted February 9, 2015
I am no expert, and I tend to be wrong when issuing an opinion after unsuccessfully attempting to plumb the depths of Australian thought and culture (I pretend to be a fair minded dinkum bloke whereas I'm really spiritually closer to your average munted bogan), but I think you're wrong. This is actually good news for Abbott. He may be a fool, but he is no idiot. Watch how he responds to this unsuccessful coup.

MickH puts forth...

Posted February 9, 2015
Yes Paul, he has 6 months, apparently, to change his spots.He will be watched very carefully for this. I wouldn't doubt a book being run on it

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted February 9, 2015
that just proves your munted bogan spiritualnessness...ness

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MickH mutters...

Posted February 9, 2015
Many canny Labor supporters I know are glad that Tone still has control because if he leads that rabble into the next election he will lose. A Turnbull lead Lib party however would be a different story.

So

Go Tony go, what will you next gaff be? Knighting Rolf Harris?

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted February 9, 2015
In an effort to reunite the nation, and give his approval ratings a boost, I suspect Toned Abs will give himself a knighthood, after consulting and being collegial with precisely nobody else in the party.

"I've brought down two - count 'em, two! - Prime Ministers, I've scrapped two - count 'em, two! - sources of revenue for the Government, and I think you'll all agree, I've got a pretty sizzling set of biceps going on here. I can think of nobody else who deserves to be knighted than me."

If that doesn't work, nothing will.

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Quokka swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 11, 2015
The thing about the knighthoods is that nobody would have a problem with them getting rolled out to deeply unpopular Captain's Picks if the deal involved mandatory jousting matches.i.e. Arise, Sir Tim Carmody! Your contest in the ring today is Sir Rupert.Have at thee!

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Respond to 'The Boxer'

Goodbye to Campbell Newman and Not Campbell Newman

Posted February 2, 2015 into Politics by John Birmingham

The one downside of Saturday.

24 Responses to ‘Goodbye to Campbell Newman and Not Campbell Newman’

Halwes puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2015

Can you explain what just happened? I was in Qld and detected no appetite for change at all. It was a very low budget, low key Labor campaign and a high profile / cost, generally mistake free, on message liberal campaign. Unfortunately this isn't a great democratic socialist position to be in is it? Katter may be the controlling power as I see it and it may be better to let the conservatives manage a hung parliament. It will be a very difficult ask whoever gets in. At least the reef might get some attention.

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Halwes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 2, 2015
And if they could stop monstering motorcyclists, workers, environmentalists and old people, that would be good too.

Anthony would have you know...

Posted February 2, 2015

As a motorcyclist etc. I wholeheartedly agree. The best thing is the removal of the simpering idiot of a police minister.

I and the rider representatives were invited to a meeting with him when the anti-association laws first came in. I've dealt with lot of Ministers from all sides of politics both as part of my work and through organisations I've belonged to.


Whether you agree with their policies or not (or even like them - and some of those I vehemently disagreed with were still likeable as people) they all had one thing in common, a modicum of intelligence. All bar one; the outgoing Police Minister. I don't think I've ever had a meeting whee even the cops were trying to keep a straight face at the amazing silliness of his answers to questions. There's an interesting report on it at

http://motorbikewriter.com/logical-flaw-in-motorcycle-ride-register/


Needless to say I wasn't invited to subsequent meetings :-)

Halwes has opinions thus...

Posted February 2, 2015
What do you ride? I've got a 71 BSA 650 Lightning. Hardly outlaw material.

Anthony ducks in to say...

Posted February 2, 2015

I've got a 2010 BMW F800ST, '83 BMW R65LS and a 1983 Suzuki Katana 550 to match. The Kat and the R65 are a nice matched pair since they both came from a Hans Muth design.

They're also nothing a self-respecting OMC member would be seen dead on although your BSA would be acceptable to most since it's English. In the days of my youth before H-Ds were sold here in quantity, most of the outlaws rode British Bikes (Brando made it acceptable in "The Wild One")

Halwes has opinions thus...

Posted February 2, 2015
Hey cool. Mum always said I'd wind up an outlaw. That's quite a stable you've got. I looked at the ST as I trawled almost every bike shop in Sydney recently. I loved the look of them and the Triumph Tiger 1200 but have no idea how either of them would perform. I rode Bultaco matadors when I was a kid. $850 out of a box from Spain. I flogged all of them into the ground like an idiot, in my defence they did have a weak bigend, and tried to find one on the net the other day thinking that I'd pick one up cheap and do it up. No chance. I did consider hiring a Harley when I was in Brisbane for a ride up to the sunnie coast but decided I didn't want the cops rummaging through my stuff. This police state is pissing me off.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted February 2, 2015
There was widespread distaste for much of the LNP agenda. And the previous election, taking a broken promise angle, the LNP successfully ran a campaign mainly focussed on opposing asset sales. This election, the LNP ran a campaign mainly focussed on supporting asset sales. Odd! Sure, there was a large swing this election, but it was a correction to normal voting percentages.
I reckon the last good Qld state govt we had was the 1998 Beattie Govt. Labor won 44 seats, with independent Peter Wellington giving them the necessary 45 seats. Wellington seems a decent and honourable fellow and forced that Govt to be the best version of itself. I'd be happy for him to hold the balance of power again.

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2, 2015
Correction: the sentence was meant to be "Sure, there was a large swing this election, but it was a correction back to normal voting percentages."

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted February 2, 2015

I though it was a return to the form I remember Queensland having when I first moved there. A labor government, then they vote in a Lib/Nat government for one term. Everyone comes to their senses, and votes in a Labour government after the Lib/Nats start looking like creepy white shoe , white hat property developing weirdos and try to get big Joh on everything. It would really help if Queensland has a bicameral parliament again, a house of review might actually reduce the power of the executive and stop the sillyness of unchecked power in an unregulated society.

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BigWillieStyle has opinions thus...

Posted February 2, 2015
Did anybody else notice the bedroom eyes Mrs N was throwing Campbell's way during his concession speech? She was standing about 10 centimetres away the whole time, and was totally hot for him. Not all bad for the (former) member for Ashgrove on Saturday night, I guess.

damian puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2015
You're weird. She was standing like her right hand was up him... sometimes you caught her lips moving while he was talking, saying the same thing he was saying. Had no-one else noticed how much he looks like a ventriloquist dummy?

Quokka asserts...

Posted February 3, 2015
Damian, we both said the same thing when we were watching that. The man has never looked more like a muppet.And while she had that big smile on her face & she was nodding enthusiastically & trying hard to gracious in defeat, her jaw was set & angry & you could sense the rage bubbling within.

insomniac asserts...

Posted February 3, 2015
The primary observation in our house was that her head was much bigger than his head.
Ms insomniac disapproves of women who are too tall for the men they are with.

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Therbs asserts...

Posted February 2, 2015
Gonna miss @Can_do_Campbell on the twitterz. A well run account.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted February 2, 2015
Indeed.Well played that man. Some of the troll bouts were, to my taste, some of the finest bat work I've seen in years.
In some stanzas reminiscent of Birmo-after-4-reds vintage 'summer 0f 09-10-11. Remember the Chinese? Unknown serried ranks of them hating as one man.
A connoisseur of the form might argue that @C_D_C faced a different kind of opposition. Like comparing a ton with the willow against the Pakistanis, VS say Rhodesia or America.But damned fine form, damned fine.
I've a mind to put it him up for Recognition by The Bounders. Where is that Awards Officer?

Abe Frellman reckons...

Posted February 2, 2015
Anyone getting along to the Madge Court on Weds to cheer him on?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted February 3, 2015
I'm in Sydney otherwise I'd be there.

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted February 3, 2015

Guest artistic director for The Visions of Vienna gig at the Opry House? 'Splodey strudels ftw!

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted February 3, 2015
I would give anything to be there. I am fascinated with Australian due process.

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Abe Frellman would have you know...

Posted February 2, 2015
The vote count seems to have slowed right down, which is a pity, as I am waiting on a payout from Betfair.
You haven't started working for Betfair lately, have you, JB?

Therbs puts forth...

Posted February 3, 2015
So you backed Hanson, yeah? You always loved the gingers.

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Murphy asserts...

Posted February 3, 2015
So, shopping for a new Prime Minister anytime soon?

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted February 3, 2015
Shoppers are rushing towards the checkout

Shifty Tourist has opinions thus...

Posted February 3, 2015

I'm not so sure. I don't think the LNP would dare, considering the crap they levelled at Gillard. I could be wrong of course, there was a good article in Fairfax talking about how it could be possible, essentially arguing the big difference was Rudd was still reasonably popular, ratings were falling, but still not dire. Where as, Abbott does not even have Rudd's popularity at its worst.

The problem is this argument was nuanced and intelligent.... not something backbenchers or ministers (or elected reps) are known for generally. Can they see the difference? or will they stick to the simple, easily understood rule "don't kill the leader (anymore)".

Also there is the question, who leads if Abbott goes? Turnbull? A parliamentarian who is widely respected and liked... by people who don't vote liberal.

Bishop.... strong performer, but Foreign Affairs is highly uncontroversial (so long as Australians aren't currently being tortured in Gitmo).

Morrisson.... I'm not even going to discuss that, the idea is just too horrible to consider.

Ultimately I believe it can only be a Turnbull/Bishop ticket, but I think both of them are too smart to commit career suicide. Neither wants to be PM, only to be a caretaker to the role for a year before giving it up to Labour at the next election.

I think (and politics moves so quickly that I could already be proved wrong) that both of them would be smart enough to think, let Tony lose, count on Shorten being disappointing (good odds), take government off him.

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