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Rumbles In Both Jungles? (or Is that all you got George)


The contenders are in training. The title holders are strutting their stuff. And the media is sowing dissent.

Recently Mark Latham took the first swing calling Julia Gillard a ‘dud’  in a piece in the AFR and claiming that Chris Bowen was about to challenge. Chris Bowen called the piece a lovely piece of comedy. Anything Julia said was taken out of context. For example in a response she made on radio in regards to a question about a series of issues and the Greens stance on things, she responded “Definitely, I’m in control, of course — I’m the Prime Minister.” Gary Hardgrave also asked her about the Mark Latham interview.

HOST: Now I don’t want to lower the tone completely but this bloke Mark Latham won’t go away, he says you’re a dud and you can’t win, you must love him really?

PM: Well Mark Latham writes for one of our newspapers, I must admit I don’t normally get round to reading the column and I didn’t get round to reading it this morning.

HOST: Ok so Mark Latham no answer, that’s the simplest way from your point of view?

PM: Well, you know, Mark Latham has been involved as a personality I suppose is the best word one could use for it, he was involved as a personality during the election campaign, and he continues to be a commentator. I’ll let him do that, I’ll just get on with the job of making a difference for Australians.

(About 4.40 into interview on this page


HOST: There is this big debate that’s been signalled the last couple of days, and bright blokes like Mark Bishop, one of your Senators from Western Australia making the point about nuclear power, you would have to at least welcome the discussion, it’s an important one and I noticed Mark Bishop sort of said who didn’t enjoy an anti-nuke rally in past years, but now we’ve got to seriously talk about this and at the same time you’ve got this discussion about gay marriage, so what’s the most important thing for Labor, nuclear power or gay marriage?

PM: The most important thing is governing and governing well-

HOST: So you avoid the question?

PM: No I’m going to answer the question, but the most important thing’s governing and governing well, but as a political party we’re going to be doing two things at the same time. We’re a party of government, and we’ll be providing good and stable government in the interests of Australian families – jobs, health, education – the things that matter to Australians. At the same time, we’re a party of ideas, people come and join the Labor Party because they’re passionate about something, they want to have their say.

HOST: You don’t mind the stoush?

PM: Look we’ve got a mechanism for those passionate people to come and have their say, it’s our national conference, and I expect at our national conference people’ll come and have their say about a huge range of issues. There’ll be people who will say I come from this part of the country and it’s the most important thing for us is a particular issue, so look there’ll be a huge range of issues discussed. That’s democracy, that’s health, that’s ideas, that’ll be happening but I will be leading the Government getting on with governing.

HOST: Is it down to just simply what the Greens think on what the outcome will become?

PM: We are a political party, the Labor Party, with more than a hundred years of history. We have our own values, our own ethos, our own ways of working, we had them 50 years ago, we will have them 50 years into the future. We’ve got our own beliefs, the Greens are their own political party, they have different beliefs from us.

Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things you can come together and agree on, indeed there are things we come together and agree on with the Liberal Party, they’ve got an entirely different belief system from us.

But we are Labor, we’ve got our own beliefs.

HOST: You probably find more common ground with the Liberal Party on some things for a lot of the Labor Party, than you do with the Greens though?

PM: I think there’s a lot of, you would remember from your days in the Federal Parliament, if you actually step back, there’s a lot of things that everybody in the Parliament agrees on, they tend to be the things that don’t get the headlines because everybody’s agreed and then there’s a lot of things that the Government and the Opposition agree on, and work together on. We’ll see that in this Parliament, I hope, if Tony Abbott doesn’t stay on his current course of trying to wreck everything. There will be some things that we’re able to work productively with the Greens on, and I believe carbon pricing is one of those things.

HOST: So you’re in control, not the Greens?

PM: Definitely, I’m in control, of course, I’m the Prime Minister.

HOST: You’re Prime Minister, you’re running the place, Bob Brown’s not in the study at the Lodge all the time, telling you what’s going on?

PM: No Bob Brown is not in the study at the Lodge all the time, I meet regularly with Senator Brown, I meet with the Independents in the House of Representatives, I meet with my Ministers, I meet with my backbench and importantly I meet with Australians out and about, pursuing their own lives with their own interests and I’ll be meeting with a large number of them here in Queensland today and Clontarf State High School for a community cabinet meeting in the federal electorate of Petrie.

(about 10 minutes into the same video link provided above)


THE AUSTRALIAN then took up the fight. The headline it ran was

I’m in control, not Bob, PM vows.

Not exactly the words she used was it?

JULIA Gillard has declared she — and not the Greens — is in control of the government.

The Prime Minister spoke amid continuing sniping in Labor ranks about the influence of the minor party.

After former NSW treasurer Michael Costa advised Labor to confront the Greens to save the Labor Party, the Prime Minister said: “Definitely, I’m in control, of course — I’m the Prime Minister.”


What a minute. That’s not what happened at the radio interview. She was responding to Mark Bishop’s call for nuclear power, not Michael Costa’s call at all. But that’s what happens when people take a line from one interview and mesh it into a response from a completely different interview.

Speaking of other interviews, this time the contender and the challenger was on a different team entirely. Tony Abbott claimed that the nuclear issue can split the ALP in two, but he had not really said anything about the divisions taking place within his own party.

Liberals divided over IR reform

TONY Abbott’s pledge to leave Labor’s IR laws unchallenged until the next election has been contradicted by one of his most senior frontbenchers.

Finance spokesman Andrew Robb has declared that “serious flaws” in the government’s workplace regime should be changed.

Mr Robb, who is heading the Coalition’s policy review, yesterday told The Australian that backbench concerns would result in a new industrial relations policy before the next election.

Mr Robb’s comments directly contradict the Opposition Leader, who this week restated his campaign position that no major changes were needed to Labor’s workplace laws. “I can’t say I’m besieged by people saying that award modernisation is nightmarish, that unfair dismissal (law) is nightmarish, that scrapping of (statutory) contracts is a nightmare,” Mr Abbott told Fairfax newspapers.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott said last night he stood by the comments.

But Mr Robb said businesses were directly raising concerns with him about the impact of the laws, particularly the bargaining rights afforded unions and intimidation on building sites.


Interesting. Andrew Robb is saying businesses were ‘directly raising concerns’ with him. What portfolio does he hold again? Is it Industrial Relations? Nope. It’s Shadow Minister for Finance and Debt Reduction (according to his website). Mind you he is also the Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee but as chairman, then surely the businesses involved would be raising concerns with the whole committee and not just him.

Now if this had totally been just about Andrew, I would have dismissed it. But again, like most Coalition sparring with the public matches, this issue began with a piece by Jamie Briggs also calling for industrial reform changes. If you have not noticed, thats how parties do their thing. Send out one guy to take a swing, then if the reaction is not outright bad, follow it through with a few more swings to make the first guy seem like a visionary.

(from the same article above)

While Mr Abbott says he is not being besieged with complaints about the system, several Coalition MPs have directly contradicted him.

Mr Robb said Mr Abbott “may have had less raised with him but we’ve got committees, we’ve got people who are specialising in industrial relations and we expect them to identify where the system is working and where it is not”.

“We will take suggested changes to the next election,” he added.

South Australian Liberal MP Jamie Briggs, who was an adviser to Mr Howard on workplace relations and the Work Choices regime before becoming a member of parliament, yesterday wrote a scathing assessment of the Labor Party’s laws in an opinion article published in The Australian.

Mr Briggs has been backed by recently dumped frontbencher Steve Ciobo, who told The Australian Labor’s work laws were unacceptable and rejected Mr Abbott’s claim that he was not overwhelmed with complaints about the current system.

In a direct rebuff to his party leader, he said ignoring the issue was not what people expected from the Coalition.

“Political parties must stand and believe in certain values otherwise we run the risk of being little more than management consultants,” Mr Ciobo said.

Other Coalition MPs have also said they disagree with Mr Abbott and will pursue their push for workplace reform.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey believes dismissal laws for small business and prescriptive rules on minimum hours of work should be targeted by the Coalition as future workplace reform areas.

Workplace Relations Minister Chris Evans said the Liberals had a secret plan to bring back the worst aspects of Work Choices. “At every turn, Liberal MPs are undermining Mr Abbott’s cynical attempts to convince Australians that his party has changed its tune on Work Choices,” he said.

So thats Andrew Robb, Jamie Briggs, Joe Hockey, and Chris Evans at least all on one side and Tony Abbott on the other. Mind you I don’t see this as a challenge at all. I see this more like a scene in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Julius you see wanted to be emperor, but he couldn’t actually say that himself as it would look bad. So he waits till certain voices in the crowd demand he becomes emperor and then well, what could Julius really do but appease the masses.

In this instance the ‘voices’ in the crowd are his front bench and the ‘masses’ are all those businesses that are ‘directly raising concerns’. Eventually poor Tony ‘Julius’ Abbott will be left with no choice but to take up the wreath of ‘Work Choices’ and wear it once more. Sure he said it was dead, buried and cremated, but he is only a tool of the ‘voices’ and the ‘masses’ and he is left with no choice.

It’s called back flipping without looking like you are back flipping.

I return to the rumble in the jungle. It was one of Muhammad Ali’s most brilliant tactical fights. George Foreman was 4 years younger than he was. As you can see in the video, George had devastating power. He was a raging bull when he got going. Ali was given rank outsider odds – 33 to 1. He was too old they said. He was much lighter. And he had a big mouth. Ali did love to talk.

Ali was faster than George though. But he wasn’t fast enough to avoid the massive power of the man. Ali walked his way to the ring. George ran. Ali tried to take the fight to George and realised he had no chance going toe to toe with this man. Around round three, Ali took to the ropes and George took to him. George punched and punched and punched. And Ali would talk when he got him close. He taunted George. He waved the red flag to the raging bull. I love the quote in this video from a Zaire local.

Muhammad Ali, he was like a sleeping elephant. You can do whatever you want to a sleeping elephant. Whatever you want. But when he wakes, he tramples everything.

Muhammad Ali took more punishment from George Foreman than any man took before. But he would spoil the punches, he used his arms to block as much of the power as he could and use his speed to minimise the damage. And all the while he talked and taunted George. If you are unfamiliar with the fight, you are probably wondering what he said to George. He kept it simple. And to the point.

Is that all you got George? They told me you could punch, George!

Every time he said it, George got mad. George took swing after swing. George got tired. And you can see the second that Ali realises that Foreman has made himself vulnerable. He had been testing George. Suddenly he sees his chance. His eyes open wide and he launches his attack. It is devastating to watch. Foreman wanted to knock out Ali. He was driven to do just that. He punched and punched and punched until that really was all he had. Like lightning, Ali throws a barrage of blows at speed and power. It was probably all the strength he had left too. George hits the canvas. Ali becomes the heavy weight champion of the world…. again.

So to both leaders: To Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott – let the contenders take their swings. Let the media charge at the red flags. Let the commentators be convinced that this is your last fight. Then, after they have given all they have, trample everything.

Just don’t sneeze and scare yourselves.

A. Ghebranious   2010     All Rights Reserved

One Comment
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Never let it be said that the fools run the country. We the voters put them there.

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