Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Watched ABC TVs QandA tonight. QandA

I haven't watched it for a long time as it often seemed to degenerate into a platform for politicians to strut in.

(in spite on Tonys efforts)

Tonight however was well worth watching. This was a return to real politics with debate and commitment.

Monday 9.35pm

Joining Tony Jones on the panel were Penny Wong, Malcolm Turnbull, Christine Milne, Graham Richardson and Tom Switzer.

This was the first program after the "Great Debate" (cough).

There were many highlights, all participants went well at some point , with the notable exception of Tom Switzer whose idea of making an argument seems more like asking you to accept the assumption that any world view not does not correlate  to Margret Thatcher's is suspiciously limp.
That said he did make his point well a couple of times. (though without offering any way forward).

Penny Wong was as cool/warm and brilliant as ever, I am increasingly a huge fan of hers.

Graham Richardson is still a "harden up and get on with it" sort of guy whose courage and honest pragmatism  always impresses me. His defence of Penny Wongs stand on Gay Marriage was old school brilliant.

I agree with his defence: we ask leaders like Penny to self immolate to our own detriment.
I tire of this from people who never seem to see the achievement, guts, painful compromise and plain slog it takes to be an effective public figure. They never seem to get the difference between tactical and strategic.  Though, hey I can usually understand the sentiment!

Malcolm Turnbull, is often above the stupid "new speak propaganda" "disney sloganeering" that passes for dialog from the Liberal Party in particular.
He is able to hold an informed and intelligent discussion with only just enough party speak to ensure I never could vote for him :)

I have a lot of respect for him in his current role and even more so for his past leadership on the Republic Issue. He may be the last liberal in the Liberal Party.

Then there is Christine Milne.

Over time I have actually mistaken her for a Liberal Party attack Harpie.
She is much better than that. Much better.
Her beliefs appear honest and are backed by good research and conviction.

I guess its just her way / style but whenever she debates she often resorts to "we're holier than thou" or even plain old " my footy club is better 'cause its not yours ... so there"  arguments.

Just like the Libs.

(Though it must be said without the "born to rule" subtext.)

She has great knowledge and great communicative abilities, but even when asked a walk in gimme by a "non fan" in the audience, around an area she has almost expert knowledge, she chose instead to see the question as an attack on the greens as being "airy" or something.
After the launch of the Greens 2050 plan and the Zero Carbon 2020 plan I was expecting this guys lack of homework to have him enrolling in an engineering course at the very least.

Now yep, the question was negatively (almost rudely) premised, and it was a question asked from the safety of near anonymity, some ignorance [1], and with a hint of a sneer.

Mz. Milne could easily have rolled out more detail on the economical and technical advantages of a Carbon free economy AND got in the quote of the night which was "Without an Environment there is no Economy".

Unfortunately it looked defensive when in fact the Greens really are the only ones with a plan for a new economy _and_ a better environment.
Once again it seems we are all too stupid to understand a real answer or something...
Perhaps that is right, but couldn't she at least hope !

Using the Standard righteous Liberal party (page 27 in their "Actioning Argument"  manual I expect) approach  may win Senate votes from wettish  Liberal voters though.
 (I guess thats the idea ?) Perhaps this is Christine's constituency ?
 Mind , she is at least consistent. :)

I think though that she is underselling herself and her party, more worrying she alienates her own core constituency which is  to some extent at least looking to the Greens for a cleaner political approach.

The question was about "What are you going to do... what ARE your plans" not about "you stupid hippies have no idea" !

Penny Wongs final response to the same chap was more "contained"  and I think a little stilted as a result of Christine's ramble. Though she answered only a subset of his question. Penny also had the opportunity to lift the level around this time but missed it.

It IS difficult. I certainly could not be a politician, you have to be part idealist part shonk part barrister and frankly, brave. I get anxious at small committee meetings.. and usually lose my temper or near pass out trying not too :)

QandA finally let some air and light into the issues around this election, it exposed the facile nature of much of the Professional Commentary... and the public conversation to date.

For what its worth thanks to all concerned. Its reassuring that the party marketing departments are not making all the policy.  


This blog will (eventually) contain other material.
There is an election on though, and I finally got round to using twitter, which led me to this thing, which i thought may be a good place to quietly but with some threat of scrutiny publish some Howtos ... so those later. :)

a Link or two:

Tom Switzer

[1] The guy hasn't even bothered to check the Greens web site.
Even it he was a neo-con stooge the answer was a missed opportunity.

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