November 05, 2004


"Howard will never get your hearts, and he will not try," writes Fixing Australia:

His appreciation ratings have never been high enough to even rate in any rankings. While Latham has a PhD and has written several books, and also has several biographies on the bookshelves, Howard remains absent in the hearts of Australians, and I think he knows it.

Latham has a PhD? In what? Meanwhile, unions are shunning Labor:

The trade union movement in NSW has publicly dissociated itself from the party it spawned.

From January the Trades and Labor Council will be known as Unions NSW. The move to "re-brand and repackage" comes as unions struggle to arrest a membership plunge that has virtually halved their numbers since 1990 and threatened their place in the modern workplace.

The reason for the change? Because research shows their association with politicians is killing their core business. And internal polling finalised yesterday shows that only 49 per cent of unionists in NSW voted Labor last month.

And almost a third went for Howard. He mightn't have their hearts, but he's got their votes.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 5, 2004 02:20 PM

Having read the article about unions shunning Labor, one thing is apparent: It's a cosmetic change designed to fool workers.

While the Labor Council has changed its name, there is no indication that unions will stop funneling workers' pay to the Labor Party, nor that they will give up their stranglehold on Labor Party policy decisions.

It's a fake move.

Posted by: EvilPundit at November 5, 2004 at 02:28 PM

A PhD in 'ladder of opportunity studies'?

Latham apparently has an economics degree from Sydney Uni (which isn't particularly useful in the real world since they only teach marxist political economy).

Posted by: Art Vandelay at November 5, 2004 at 02:47 PM

A PhD in "Ease-The-Squeeze" studies, no doubt.

Posted by: JPB at November 5, 2004 at 02:49 PM

This mockery of Latham's intellectual, literary and academic achievements is very unkind. I can think of several fields of scholarly endeavour in which he might have, or at least deserves, a book or PhD, including;

Taxi-driver assault (Thesis title; "An inquiry into certain osteological phenomena among self-employed personal transport contractors")

Apocalypse Now: ("Heart of Darkness; A personal experience")

Viritily plays ("Manhood for the Monorchic")


Posted by: Sue at November 5, 2004 at 03:01 PM

A PhD in drink mixing.
His official job as listed in - barman.

Posted by: Felis at November 5, 2004 at 03:05 PM

Apparently nobody has actually read Mark Latham's biographies though, or they would have noticed there's nothing in there about getting a PhD.

Art Vandelay is a little harsh on the quite respectable economics department of Sydney University though.

Posted by: Jorge at November 5, 2004 at 03:08 PM

Jorge, so why wont government agencies and consultants hire economics grads from Sydney Uni (as economists)?

Posted by: Art Vandelay at November 5, 2004 at 03:13 PM

It's a fake move.

Ah, but is it fake, but accurate.

(Sorry, someone had to say it)

Posted by: Quentin George at November 5, 2004 at 03:20 PM

Ok, so despite all the media support, both John Howard and George Bush won, with a nett percentage increase in their popular vote. One reason may be explained in a new book by a bloke called George LakoffGeorge - "Don't think of an Elephant"

(from, of all places,

here's a Salon article on Lakoff and the book

Here's an
excerpt that will give you an idea of what he's talking about. In short, conservatives have a message that resonates with the story of a strict father who operates in a world of divisions: Good and Evil, winners and losers, absolute right and absolute wrong. Children are born bad, wanting to do what feels good instead of what's right, so they must be made good. You can see how this resonates with the Christian population.

Progressives reflect a nurturing parent world view. Both parents are equally responsible for raising the child, who is born good and can be made better. The world can be made a better place and it is our job to work on that. Nurturing means empathy and responsibility: if you have a child, you must know what every cry means, and take responsibility for the child's well-being. You look after yourself so you can look after your child.

So why did so many Australians vote for John howard (and so many Americans vote for Bush) ? Because, in both campaigns,the conservative side described their policies in terms of the moral framework. If the morality behind the message resonates, the people vote for that candidate.

When you compare the Australian experience with the US election, one thing (amogst many) that they had in common was tha the Issues and the Facts don't have the same weight (Remember marketing 101 ?) There is this persistent myth that, as rational beings, if you put the facts in front of people then they'll vote according to those facts.

The "progressives" (ALP & Democrats) were working from a point of oppositio, a place of reaction. In both cases, they completely failed to identify a moral framework, let alone describe policies in terms of a moral framework. Their laundry list of issues ("education / social security") and facts ("the Prime Minister / President lied!") were a poll-gathered random collection of grievances and proposals instead of the logical expression of core beliefs.

The "progressive" list of issues just didn't resonate with the electorate.

Posted by: martin at November 5, 2004 at 03:23 PM

I've got to say that I've much about this blog being a bastian for sophisticated conservative discussion - but sadly all I've found is a lot of hubris and clap trap. Is there a word limit on your posts because no one appears to be very keen on submitting anything other than simplistic one sentence (and rather unhumerous incidently) jibes at their political enemies.

Perhaps you people should start discussing the virtues of small government, creating maximum incentive for people to work, the end of the welfare state, further deregulations and the future of conservative thought.

Perhaps I can start with a discussion point...

Does anyone here feel dissapointed that John Howard hasn't gone far enough with his reforms in his first three terms, and that the potential exists for him to continue to dawdle with his reform program in spite of his senate majority? Is there also the thought out there that he may not want to reform the country too much given that he was elected on his record and that he has a larger number of voters to please.

Howard really is a little too left wing at times with his $6bn in spending promises and large welfare handouts to middle Australia. What happened to Thatcherism?????

Posted by: ND at November 5, 2004 at 03:26 PM

Mark Latham has written several books. So has Max Walker. And I bet I know which one has sold more.

Posted by: Mike Hunt at November 5, 2004 at 03:30 PM

Mark Latham: PhD = Phucking Dope

Posted by: George at November 5, 2004 at 03:32 PM

"What happened to Thatcherism?"

True, he's a devotee of the baroness. However, I think we're already to the right of British society - much of her program was probably already put in motion by even Hawke/Keating. Further, many of her reforms are the province of state government in this country (privatising public housing for one). Plus we have 3-year terms instead of 5. Hard to put those short-term pain, long-term payoff reforms in.

Privatising Telstra is the biggest lingering piece of Thatcherism yet to be done, but before that we'll get the unfair dismissal changes. The coalition has a long shopping list, so I wouldn't worry about lack of reform over the next term.

Posted by: Craig Mc at November 5, 2004 at 03:40 PM

Thatcherism was a response to the fact that Britain's economy was imploding. She was able to put through drastic changes because drastic changes were clearly necessary.

And in his first three terms, Howard had to deal with an obstructionist Senate. No longer. Let's see how he does now.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 5, 2004 at 03:42 PM

Fuck off you troll.
There, was that a lengthy enough discourse for you?

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 5, 2004 at 03:42 PM

So THAT'S his dirty secret!
Mark Latham PhD. (Piled Higher & Deeper)

Posted by: Boss Hog at November 5, 2004 at 03:43 PM

As to Latham's PhD and Howard not having done anything, I think you'll find Howard has an MBA or MPA from the University of Canberra or the Canberra College of Advanced Education as it used to be. I distinctly remember reading his thesis in the library there when I was doing some work at UCan myself. I forget what the topic was - something about Parliament and change. Interestingly, Howard does not mention it in his bio in Who's Who.

Posted by: theories at November 5, 2004 at 03:44 PM


ND called us 'unhumerous'. As in 'humerus' which is the bone of the upper arm from the shoulder to the elbow.

ND made a pun about Mark 'Bonebreak' Latham!

I guess we are 'unhumerus' here, ND.


Posted by: JDB at November 5, 2004 at 03:56 PM

"Thatcherism was a response to the fact that Britain's economy was imploding. She was able to put through drastic changes because drastic changes were clearly necessary"

But wasn't Australia economy imploding when Howard took over??? Weren't interest rates 17% when he came in? Aren't the 14 years of consecutive growth all down to the Tories??

Posted by: ND at November 5, 2004 at 04:05 PM

Fuck off you troll.
There, was that a lengthy enough discourse for you?"

Yeah, good one Gubbaboy. A call for more in-depth discussion is met with a response like this? And it's even a suggestion from a fellow conservative. I try to refrain from using this term, given the shrill response it gets around here (and I'm not one to steal Tim's catchcries), but you're an idiot.

Posted by: Karl at November 5, 2004 at 04:06 PM

I'm guessing it's a honorary doctorate if it's not on the old resume, and someone bit on it.

Posted by: Dylan at November 5, 2004 at 04:08 PM

Gubbaboy is too busy pulling himself over Lesbo premium , I for one being conservative say we need more discussion about a radical conservative agenda for the big man's fourth term. Smaller government , less welfare payments and tipping the bludgers out into the workforce . Privatise the ABC , no queers in the High Court and cut back on that socialism gone mad Medicare.Let's get a bit of deep thinking happening here.

Posted by: A Prof Shytononomouse at November 5, 2004 at 04:23 PM

Why am I detecting many names but one voice Karl??

I am with Gubbaboy on this one ie. I smell Troll.

Posted by: Just Another Bloody Lawyer at November 5, 2004 at 04:38 PM

Karl,I hope not Rove but all I see in these bating questions is an eventual unravelling of a pretend discussion and in the end an unreasoned hatred. A troll is a troll is a troll.I may be wrong, wouldn't be the first time but let's not get to precious and see what happens.Anyway shrill is the new black.
Shit on mouse-What's a lesbo premium?

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 5, 2004 at 04:40 PM


I always preferred 'Left wing Pinko'.

In any case Gubbaboy - I've got to say that your a walking talking testament to how well ex-One Nationers have melded into the Coalition.

Good for you.

Posted by: ND at November 5, 2004 at 04:51 PM

Love Mark Latham, even his first wfe had enough of him.

Posted by: Le clerc at November 5, 2004 at 04:59 PM

unions 'rebranding' themselves? everyone knows you can't polish a turd!!!

Posted by: roscoe at November 5, 2004 at 05:09 PM

I secong gubbaboy's motion.

The lefties don't seem to cope with the fact that we RWDBs are able to laugh at both ourselves and the luvvies. The luvvies get miffed when we point out things such as over 50 lies in so called documentaries or Rathergate. They find it difficult to make jokes of our many short comings let alone laugh at themselves. And, so they come here trying to bait us about Howard and Bush not being small government or reformers. Well, first you got to be in government, then you can make the changes, especially once you have control of both houses of Parliament.

Posted by: Razor at November 5, 2004 at 05:49 PM

Just Another Bloody Lawyer

NB might sincere but 'its' need to supervise is another indicator.

Posted by: Gary at November 5, 2004 at 06:19 PM

Generally the aussies on this blog get to sneer at the pinko, lefty, namby pamby Government we have to put up with over here in NZ but not tonight. Because tonight is Guy Fawkes Night!!! Remember that one?? I'm presently sitting in the dark at the computer, pausing to glance out the window into the Auckland night just watching those rockets fly. And not organised skyworks events but the local residents firing them off all over the place. Good god look at that one.

I can't remember which interferring state government so cruelly took those crackers off me when I was a kid but I hate them whoever they were.

I'd be outside setting off a few rockets myself right now but the son is up at his catholic school of all places firing off a few rockets with his friends and helping to burn efigies of dead matryers.

I wish he would hurry up and get back.

Posted by: mike.a at November 5, 2004 at 06:31 PM

ND ----Goodness gracious, John Howard would have pushed through many more of his reforms but for the intransigence of Labor,the democrats and the watermelons, who blocked, if I remember correctly, over 700 motions and had the Liberals working with one hand tied at all times- perhaps you will see some action now, and especially come July.
Mark Latham!!! is a great example of a 'Free' Uni'education - life as a perpetual student at taxpayers expense, the perfect prerequisite for eventual leadership of a party out of touch with real people. And a very nasty man who thinks teaching your child to hate an ideal parenting skill- he might be better employed by the Palestinian Authority who have uses for such men and especially with a proven ability to break arms.
Mr Howard has a Law degree and is the son of a small business man who ran his own garage and repair shop. A highly inteLligent man who can speak without referring to notes-match that Mark L!!

Posted by: Rose at November 5, 2004 at 06:35 PM

ND I admire your guts for posting on this site.

But I got to say most Margoo Kingstoon's mates can only hack about 20 minutes of cambat and then disappear. If you can handle the weekend you can tell the ABS that you have been employed over the last month! But don't tell Centrelink, it might reduce your allowance.

Yes, Howard hasn't pushed through as much reform as we would have liked but he has no excuses now, does he?

Government expenditure (as a % of GDP) went up under Thatcher.

Govt expenditure has gone up under Howard but he is giving lots away in rebates and credits etc. Waste of bloody money giving it to the govt so they can give it back.

If he brings some market reforms to the universities most of the tenured old bits of flesh won't survive.

Posted by: TN at November 5, 2004 at 07:07 PM

ND, you seem to have got into the one sentence thing swimmingly.

'Perhaps I can start with a discussion point...'

Consciousness-raising workshop for the unreconstructed?

Posted by: Inurbanus at November 5, 2004 at 07:10 PM

It amazes me how willing some people are to make complete prats of themselves by jumping into some of the most successful blogs on the planet and proceeding to tell the blogger what he should be talking about in his own blog!
Given the way the blogoshere works, it would be rude to do it to a blogger with a minor readership, but in a blog like this that has such a massive following, it really is laughable.

Posted by: Michael at November 5, 2004 at 07:37 PM

Doctor Crappen.

Posted by: Tony.T at November 5, 2004 at 08:06 PM

Of course we of the left are going to tell you slack jawed common folk what to talk about. We elites see it as our duty. You'll find my fellow elites on the supreme court bench, public schools, the fairfax press and the abc doing much the same thing. Simply having your boys in government (congratulations on that by the way - no bitterness here) isn't especially going to stop me of the chattering classes pointing you in the right direction on various issues - even in regard to what you should chat about on your blogs. And being a successful blog means nothing, we should all be aspiring to something better.

Thanks for the compliment about having guts posting on here, but its really not that hard. You guys are alright - a bit rough around the edges perhaps, but I'm an accepting fellow.

Bye now. I've got a nice latte here and its getting cold.

Posted by: ND at November 5, 2004 at 08:15 PM

Thank You

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 5, 2004 at 08:18 PM

and goodbye

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 5, 2004 at 08:33 PM

Hmmm...according to his bio on the Australian Parliament website...

Qualifications and Occupation before entering Federal Parliament
BEc (Hons) (Syd).


Research assistant and consultant.

Hmmm...honours. He's no more got a PHD than I have.

Posted by: Quentin George at November 5, 2004 at 08:36 PM

ND, Are you trying to provoke the right wingers of this blog to pursue your aims as you detailed at Backpages Blog: "I take comfort in hearing right wingers rant on about how good they are because it sounds like they are getting the confidence to pursue some of their rattier policies."?

You should try being more honest.

Posted by: pat at November 5, 2004 at 09:03 PM

Troll or not, I agree with ND (fraudulent as his post may be) regarding Howard's actual conservatism. I've written quite a bit on the issue- the federal Liberal Party is more a Labor Lite than an actual conservative party- still rather keen on large, intrusive government (they were the buggers who disarmed us after all) and I don't see any real committment to really meaningful reform, such as dismantling Medicare, privatising universities and the rest of the areas where government is involved but has no place. (ABC, the yatrz etc). Still, better than the alternative. BTW- I think it stands for Pill Has Dropped off.

Posted by: Habib at November 5, 2004 at 11:26 PM

Howard may not be as classically liberal as we'd like but that's politics. People like government handouts and welfare nets and you need to get elected at some point if you're to have any of your policies put through.

I think Howard finds a pretty good balance, this country isn't doing too bad.

Posted by: Amos at November 5, 2004 at 11:36 PM

Damn you pat, you've foiled my brillint scheme.

Posted by: ND at November 5, 2004 at 11:38 PM

Hey know what I'd REALLY like to see? Howard utterly defund the 'arts' community. Let the fuckers find someone to actually buy their crap.

It would have no effect on the larger economy, it would just give me great personal satisfaction, and a say that as a film maker and supposed member of said 'community'.

Posted by: Amos at November 5, 2004 at 11:39 PM

Oh no! The dream is over!

Posted by: Craig Mc at November 5, 2004 at 11:46 PM

It has me buggered why the Howard government panders to that particular patch of parasites- it's not as if there's either a vote or a whiff of revenue likely to come their way from the luvvies. It'll be interesting to see how well they fare under a revised FTA with the USA- I can't see Paramount lining up to buy another badly written, poorly acted and dreadfully edited load of turgid bollocks about westie crims pulling off a big one/brave bogan battles bureauracracy/downtrodden natives picked on by evil white bastards- that about covers the script options.

Posted by: Habib at November 5, 2004 at 11:47 PM

Mr. Blair --

As an American, I've always found your site extremely educational about the differences between we Yanks and you Ozzies. For instance, I wasn't aware that that path to gaining the heart of the Average Australian was to garner a PhD and write some books. Fascinating. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Ken Begg at November 6, 2004 at 01:34 AM

And being a successful blog means nothing, we should all be aspiring to something better.

"means nothing"??
utter twaddle ND. In this context its relevant. Tim has major readership because of what he writes. I'd wager that the minute he starts taking advice about what he should be writing from people who dream of being classed as an "Elites" (even if they try and camouflage those hopes in poor attempts at sarcasm) will be the minute that his readership starts plummeting to the levels of most left leaning blogs.

Of course you are right to say the everyone should aspire to be something better, but can I respectfully suggest that its those that have their heads buried furthest up their arses that need to do the most aspiring to reach clear air again?
(Oh no, that was another "rather inhumerous" one sentence jibe wasn't it? how trailer trashy of me)

Posted by: Michael at November 6, 2004 at 04:28 AM

And being a successful blog means nothing, we should all be aspiring to something better.

Chris Sheil, is that you?

Posted by: PW at November 6, 2004 at 06:00 AM

It has been said of the Jews, that their greatest contributions to Art, Literature, music was produced during the times of their greatest suffering and privation. This applied also to all the 'greats' writers, poets and Artists.
It is not for goverments to use the hard earned money of taxpayers to support these so called 'artists' with grants.

The talented first prove themselves by their work, and if truly exceptional will find they'll attract endowments and Patronage from wealthy individuals and corporations.or sale of their work.
The greatest artists in all fields were never funded this way- propped up by State largesse. Those who have made it by being successful do not need or require grants. Either one has the talent and a burnibng desire to express themselves or not, funding will not improve their ability to be creative.
Tax payers money should be used only to purchase the finished product, if of merit, for the benefit of all.

Posted by: Rose at November 6, 2004 at 10:58 AM

Actually, a lot of great art was produced by artists who led pampered lives under the sponsorship of rich people, and don't forget all the great art that was paid for by the Catholic Church. Michelangelo, for example, hardly led a life of struggle and privation.

The problem with government sponsorship of the arts isn't that better art is produced by people starving in garrets, it's the fact that artistic culture has become infiltrated and debased by Marxist-influenced notions such as the idea that the only "good" or "true" art is art that "shocks" the so-called "bourgeoise" or normal, everyday person. The normal, everyday, dull bourgeoise continues to prefer pretty pictures instead of things like cats being tortured and their torture filmed, and therefore an "unfair" dichotomy forms between the artist who doesn't make people vomit (and thus can expect people to purchase his art) and the one whose "art" no one will pay a penny to piss on. Because the idea has emerged that it is "unfair" that "sensitive, misunderstood" people like animal torturers should not make money from their "art" even if no one wants it, the idea of the government grant was born.

Of course I exaggerate, but I didn't make up that news article: I was looking for the artist who cut up a dead cow, preserved it in formaldehyde, and put it on display in some museum somewhere, and I did a Google search.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 6, 2004 at 01:00 PM

You are correct, but as I stated artists such as Michelangelo , Beethoven, Leonard da Vinci proved their worth and still were required to produce what their patron demanded-no such thing as a 'free lunch' Charles Dickens, Tolstoy,Thomas Hardy,Churchill's History of the English Speaking People, and even today Colleen McCulloch managed to work without taxpayer grants, to name but a small sample.
Private patronage was earned by proven worth but not given for some of the rubbish that passes as art today.

Posted by: Rose at November 6, 2004 at 03:50 PM

Ken Begg? High Priest of Jabootu? Well met.

Posted by: John Nowak at November 6, 2004 at 05:16 PM

How about combining the two- stuff the artists full of fireworks, skin them alive then drop them out of a helicopter? A brilliant statement about the iniquities inflicted on the Iraqi people and the privations an artist must suffer to get his work in the public area- what's more, there'd be no need for government funding, as I'd pony up all costs as long as I get video rights (gotta consider the extreme sport market).

Posted by: Habib at November 6, 2004 at 06:27 PM

See? Private sponsorship of the arts works!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 7, 2004 at 02:37 AM