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Selective Hearing


It seems being a little deaf is vital to being a Liberal politician leader.

In an interview this morning with Marius Benson, John talks about his hearing problem from childhood.

MARIUS BENSON: And one of the things you mentioned is that from childhood you had a difficulty with hearing that prevented you from going into a career in the law that you considered but you decided seemingly that a difficulty in hearing it seems wasn’t a problem with a career in politics.

John laughed at Marius’s little joke and corrected him that the difficulty prevented him from being a barrister but he did become a solicitor. Later he says:

JOHN HOWARD: look I sometimes had difficulty hearing things and people metaphorically said I consisting had difficulty hearing things but it didn’t prove to be ..I hope ..too much of an encumbrance although it was probably a bit of a burden on my colleagues from time to time particularly in cabinet meetings when I would ask them to occasionally repeat things.

Now it seems that Tony Abbott is also showing a sign of a selective hearing problem.

It all began when Joe Hockey last week gave the government and in particular Wayne Swan 24 hours to take action and pull some levers or he will. The extraordinary threat, because that is what it sounded like to me, came out on the Thursday morning of the 21st of October.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has demanded Treasurer Wayne Swan pull the banks into line on interest rates in 24 hours or risk a Coalition attempt to do so in Parliament.

In recent months Mr Swan has warned the big banks to keep their rates in line with the Reserve Bank cash rate.

But Mr Hockey says the banks have intimidated the Government and is treating it with contempt.

“The Government’s 30 statements from Wayne Swan warning the banks and expressing concern about moving outside the Reserve Bank cash rate movement has been totally ignored by the banks,” he said.

Fronting a media conference later today Mr Hockey said the Government could use a number of measures to pull the banks into line, such as changes to residential mortgage backed securities, capital and liquidity rules and red tape reforms.

He says the Coalition may find the numbers to act against the banks in Parliament.

“I think there are a whole range of different initiatives that can be used and it’s as much about saying behind closed doors to the banks, ‘listen guys, there is a social compact between you your customers and taxpayers’,” he said.

“I am not going to be specific because I am not fully aware as the Treasurer would be of exactly what the banks are asking for at the moment.

“You can be absolutely sure … that the banks have a presence down here in Canberra and they’re asking for something, somewhere within the Government.”

Mr Hockey says the latest Reserve Bank minutes damage the banks’ arguments that they face higher costs and said Mr Swan has 24 hours to do something about it.


By the end of the day, Joe’s threat had been toned down to helpful suggestions. Don Randall accusing the policy as typical weird greenie thinking may or may not had anything to do with it.

All the while Andrew Robb sat silent and avoided anything that looked like a microphone. That is until today.

The Australian this morning reports:

ATTEMPTS by Tony Abbott to deflect Julia Gillard’s claims that the opposition is backsliding on economic reform have been undermined by Coalition infighting.

The Australian learned yesterday that opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey was strongly criticised by colleagues at a shadow cabinet meeting on Monday for proposing a Coalition government would use “levers” to have an influence on bank interest rates.

Among the critics was Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop, who warned Mr Hockey not to “trash” the Coalition’s economic credentials.

The concern mirrored the Prime Minister’s attack on the Coalition in a speech on Monday night in which she cited Mr Hockey’s comments as evidence of Coalition backsliding on a generation of bipartisan support for economic reform.


It is not all that often when a liberal party member claims THE AUSTRALIAN writes crap.

With this talk that Julie Bishop may have scoffed at the plan and had even suggested that it destroyed the Coalition’s economic integrity, Andrew Robb stepped up to the mic and claimed this was not true.

Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb has dismissed reports shadow Cabinet “berated” Joe Hockey’s proposal to take action on banks.

The Australian is today reporting that Opposition treasury spokesman Mr Hockey was strongly criticised by his colleagues after he suggested the Government could use “levers” to keep the big banks in line on interest rates.

His comments, made late last week, prompted fierce ridicule from the Government and even one of his own backbenchers who mistook it for a “lunatic fringe” idea of the Greens.

Mr Robb has told Radio National the report is “just not true”, but he did concede that there was “discussion” over whether backbenchers were adequately informed of the proposal.


This by the way comes from the man who had tried to challenge Julie Bishop shortly after the Coalition failed to woo the independents, and if you are asking me if I am suggesting there is a link, you better you better you bet!

Federal Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb has decided not to challenge deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop when the party meets in Canberra tomorrow.

Mr Robb had been considering a run for the deputy’s job and was sounding out his colleagues, but the signs were that there was strong backing for Ms Bishop to keep her position.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott warmly endorsed his deputy at yesterday’s concession press conference, and has signalled he does not plan major changes to the Coalition’s frontbench in the weeks ahead.

While there has been longstanding hostility to Ms Bishop in some quarters of the party, it is understood Mr Abbott’s desire for the Coalition to present a model of stability may militate against a change at this time.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey told ABC News Online this afternoon that he would oppose any change to the leadership structure.

“It would seem rather hypocritical for us to claim the mantle of stability and then challenge that mantle 24 hours later,” he said.

“Everyone has ambition. I respect their ambition. I support stability in the leadership and I support Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop.”


There seems to me there is a sniff in the air that liberal party leadership is not very effective. It might also be the player that maybe promoted is Julie Bishop herself. The thinking been Tony Abbott maybe a little soft on a female PM but the lady that stares down gnomes is mean lean and a fighting machine. And it seems that Tony Abbott himself is taking this seriously.

Last week on Insiders in the predictions and observations section, this was revealed by Phil Coorey

And this appeared just recently on THE AUSTRALIAN online

A lot on his mind, but Tony Abbott finally backs Joe Hockey’s bank plan

  • Joe Kelly and James Massola
  • From:The Australian
  • October 27, 2010 10:38 AM

TONY Abbott failed three times to back treasury spokesman Joe Hockey’s nine-point plan to strengthen banking competition this morning because he “had a lot on his mind”.

But Mr Abbott was later compelled to clarify his position, saying he did support Mr Hockey’s plan unveiled on Monday at the Australian Industry Group annual national forum.

When initially asked outside Parliament House today if he supported Mr Hockey’s proposals, Mr Abbott responded: “I think it’s very important that we expose the bluster of this government.”

He was again asked whether he supported the plan, to which he replied: “I think it’s very important, very, very important, that we expose the weakness and the bluster of this government when it comes to the banks.”

Mr Abbott later clarified his position, telling MTR radio that “you know what it’s like in these doorstops – you’ve got a lot on your mind, but as I said I just want to make it crystal clear: I fully support the nine-point plan”.


I bet he has a lot on his mind indeed. Tony has been VERY PRECISE in his words in his door stopper this morning. On his press grabber he was very adamant that he was at the meetings on Monday and Tuesday, and there was no “discussion” or anyone berating Joe Hockey. Not one press journalist asked him about meetings prior to that on Monday and Tuesday. And by saying there was no discussion what so ever he is basically calling Andrew Robb a liar. He also is saying that what Don Randall said did not happen either.

It’s all a matter of selective hearing. He decides what he hears and what he does not hear it seem. At least John Howard had a real excuse.

AND NOW for something completely different.

A. Ghebranious    2010     All Rights Reserved

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