Why isn’t it being funded by the Libs?

Here is a story that is in some ways easy to understand but not in others: Major networks, cable and streaming services reject Gillard biopic as too toxic for TV ratings.

Surely there is someone out there willing to sacrifice a few dollars on behalf of the country. The only condition if they are to get the money is that the film must be released a month or two before the next election. The whole story is even worse than you can imagine, the blacklisting of this film and all. As Tim Blair discusses:

Everything was looking good for Griffiths when plans for the biopic were announced in 2013. “I am thrilled to portray Australia’s first female prime minister and explore the private aspects of her remarkable term,” Griffiths said.

“I believe that the creative and intellectual capacity of the team involved will produce a stunning drama that will reframe this historic period in our cultural and political life.”

Alas, television networks and almost everybody else did not share Griffiths’s belief. The project was rejected by networks, cable broadcasters, digital streaming services and possibly even children’s puppet theatre workshops.

“They think the public were sick of the story and no one will watch this show,” moaned the telemovie’s executive producer Richard Keddie.

“The networks think people still hate Julia.”

Not to worry. I’d watch it for sure. It would be better than The Rocky Horror Show and then some.

Same old same old

According to today’s Oz, the Leader of the Opposition has joined the rest of us in seeing that the R-G-R government was a hopeless mess.

BILL Shorten has attacked the governments of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, highlighting their flaws, mistakes and misjudgments, arguing that he has learned the lessons of Labor’s election defeat and declaring the party must accept them too.

That’s a start, but where to from there? Will it be balanced budgets, no more wasted money, no longer jumping onto every PC bandwagon such as global warming. Will it be pulling unions off the back of business, reducing regulation, telling the truth before elections and then doing what you said you’d do? Well actually, nothing as specific as that. This is the list of six vapid principles, as content free as it is possible to imagine.

The first is to “treat people with courtesy and respect”.

The second is not to “launch a thousand ships, a thousand ideas (and) a thousand thought bubbles”.

The third is to focus on policy implementation.

The fourth lesson is to build a good relationship with business..

Fifth is to be a “no surprises” government.

The final lesson was to communicate with voters more effectively. “You have got to explain what you’re solving. Don’t go straight to the solution.”

And then there’s a seventh:

“Having a formal relationship with unions” which he said “is a strength, not a weakness.”

In other words, nothing new. Just hoping that the present government irritates just enough voters in doing what needs to be done to get Labor back over the line at the next election. A Shorten-Palmer Government should be quite an experience.

Andrew Bolt on “The Left is the natural home of the bigot”

No one wants to be on the wrong end of a racist rant but more importantly, since so much of modern day racism comes from minorities who would like to see their bigotry protected, the only way through this mess is to allow free speech and discussion. If the decency or the Australian public will no longer protect you, then nothing else will either. This is from Andrew Bolt in a post he titled, Carr is a warning to Jews: the Left is the natural home of the bigot.

Many of Australia’s most prominent Jews face a terrible reality that I’ve warned about for almost a decade: the natural home of the anti-Jewish bigot is now the Left. Too many prominent Jewish intellectuals here have pampered their enemy.

ABC chairman Jim Spigelman concedes the point:

Spigelman: My father was a bit of a lefty from his Polish days because Jews in Poland tended to be on the left ‘cause all the anti-Semites were then on the right. That’s exactly the reverse today.

Throsby: Is it?

And, right on time, former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr takes the stage.

Carr is not an anti-Semite, but his views on the Jewish lobby are absurd and dangerously close to an anti-Semitic trope:

BOB CARR: … And what I’ve done is to spell out how the extremely conservative instincts of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne was exercised through the then-Prime Minister’s office…. I found it very frustrating that we couldn’t issue, for example, a routine expression of concern about the spread of Israeli settlements on the West Bank….

SARAH FERGUSON: You’re saying that the Melbourne Jewish lobby had a direct impact on foreign policy as it was operated from inside Julia Gillard’s cabinet?

BOB CARR: Yeah, I would call it the Israeli lobby – I think that’s important. But certainly they enjoyed extraordinary influence. I had to resist it and my book tells the story of that resistance coming to a climax when there was a dispute on the floor of caucus about my recommendation that we don’t block the Palestinian bid for increased non-state status at the United Nations.

SARAH FERGUSON: They’re still a very small group of people. How do you account for them wielding so much power?

BOB CARR: I think party donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel. But that’s not to condemn them. I mean, other interest groups do the same thing. But it needs to be highlighted because I think it reached a very unhealthy level. I think the great mistake of the pro-Israel lobby in Melbourne is to express an extreme right-wing Israeli view rather than a more tolerant liberal Israeli view, and in addition to that, to seek to win on everything, to block the Foreign Minister of Australia through their influence with the Prime Minister’s office, from even making the most routine criticism of Israeli settlement policy using the kind of language that a Conservative Foreign secretary from the UK would use in a comparable statement at the same time.

Carr is not wrong to say there is a Jewish lobby, or Israel lobby, just as there are other ethnic and religious lobby groups, including Aboriginal ones. The Jewish lobby is more organised that most, and on certain issues speaks with more unity than most, too.

This can come with a risk, as we now see in the debate over the Abbott Government’s plans to reform the Racial Discrimination Act to allow more free speech. Jewish community leaders have been the strongest opponents of this change, and base much of their argument on an issue of particular concern to Jews: that such a change would permit Holocaust denial. I suspect most non-Jews also loathe Holocaust deniers but would not be so quick to say they should be gagged by law – and that the rest of us should be gagged from arguing other propositions as a consequence. The danger here is that Jewish leaders are seen to be arguing for an illiberal ban to the benefit of their own community, but at the cost of the wider one. Such tribalism comes at a risk in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith nation.

I think it is fair to make these points. But Bob Carr’s comments go further – dangerously further.

He is singling out the “Israel lobby” as having had a more “unhealthy” influence than other such groups in that it had “influence with the Prime Minister’s office” under Labor, seeking “to block the Foreign Minister of Australia” from aiding Palestinian interests. This influence, claims Carr, is exercised through “party donations and a program of giving trips to MPs and journalists to Israel”, trips which indeed both Gillard and I have received.

Here is where Carr oversteps.

Carr completely ignores the reality that many supporters of Israel in the case he raises have not been bought, bribed or otherwise influenced by “unhealthy” lobbying, but have reached their opinion by judging on the merits of the argument. They see a democracy threatened by terrorism, an open society challenged by a closed one, and they decide accordingly. Yet this difference of opinion is portrayed by Carr as just the evil product of “unhealthy” Jewish influence peddling.

It is a joke to believe Gillard as prime minister could be further influenced by the offer of trips from Melbourne Jews. Politicians and journalists are also offered trips to the Muslim Middle East, yet Carr does not declare those “unhealthy”.

And how much influence did those Melbourne Jews have really? Carr boasts that he actually defeated Gillard on the issue by leading a caucus revolt against Gillard’s position.

That raises Carr’s dangerous double standards – to decry a “unhealthy” a Jewish influence he defeated while saying nothing about the more troubling Muslim influence to which he surrendered – and Labor with him.

Labor politicians have done dangerous favors for Islamist extremists like Sheik Hilali, revoking moves to throw him out in exchange for votes, but Carr has not criticised that as “unhealthy”. Labor made a politician of a Muslim ethnic boss and supporter of the Syrian dictator in exchange for votes, but Carr did not say this was “unhealthy”. Nor did Carr say it was “unhealthy” when even Liberal Prime Minister John Howard appointed a Muslim Community Reference Group to advise him – one third of whose members were supporters of the pro-terrorist Hezbollah.

Carr did not denounce this “unhealthy” influence, either:

Australia’s senior Islamic cleric threatened to withdraw community support for federal Labor in Western Sydney if union leader Paul Howes replaced Bob Carr in the Senate, a leaked email reveals.

The email, written on behalf of the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, by his chief political adviser, accused Mr Howes of a “blind bias for Israel” and said that if he was appointed to the Senate, community support for Labor that was mustered for the federal election would be withdrawn.

The email was sent to MPs and ­officials on September 9… Mr Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, withdrew from the contest …

Note that the Mufti has shown support for Hamas.

But let’s talk about the truly unhealthy influence in the very case Carr discusses – a bid by Palestinians for greater recognition.

Labor ditched Israel in that instance not so much out of principle but out of Labor self-interest. As former Labor speech-writer Troy Bramston wrote at the time after talking to the players, Labor feared the influence of the Muslim lobby and the votes it could muster in key Sydney marginal seats:

And, critically, there is the growing Muslim and Christian make-up of several key western Sydney Labor seats, which have exposed MPs to different points of view on the Middle East.

Some sections of the party suggest Victorian Labor is too close to the Israel lobby and does not fully understand the underlying changes in Sydney’s outer suburbs.

Did Carr denounce that “unhealthy” influence? No. He in fact was among the first to give in to it:

BUT of all reasons given, the worst and most repeated was as the Daily Telegraph said: “NSW Right MPs … were more concerned a no vote at the UN would offend Middle East and Muslim communities in their fragile southwest Sydney seats.” The Sydney Morning Herald heard the same: “Many MPs in western Sydney, who are already fearful of losing their seats, are coming under pressure from constituents with a Middle East background.”…

Carr reportedly stressed “the electoral problems in Sydney” to Gillard, and The Australian reported the “demographically challenged” Water Minister, Tony Burke, insisted on not rejecting the Palestinian resolution.

Burke’s “demographic challenge” is that the proportion of Muslim voters in Watson, his Sydney seat, has rocketed to an astonishing 20 per cent… In fact, of the 20 seats with the most Muslim voters, Labor holds all but one.

That’s why Carr’s attack on the Jewish lobby is so sinister. He exaggerates its power, falsely assumes those who agree with the lobby have been bought, and meanwhile is silent on the rise of more troubling lobby that has influenced Labor – the Muslim lobby, which includes supporters of extremists.

Something sick is at work in the Left. It’s not just Jews who should be alarmed.


What a disgraceful breach of confidence and a shameless betrayal:

Bob Carr has published private text messages between himself and Julia Gillard to reveal the “extraordinary” level of influence the pro-Israel lobby had on the former prime minister’s office.

In a remarkable disclosure of private conversations, Mr Carr said he chose to publish the text messages in his book – Diary of a Foreign Minister – without getting Ms Gillard’s permission, because to do so was in the national interest.

Carr wasn’t the foreign minister of Australia, seeking to advance the nation’s interests. It seems to me he was merely an embedded journalist, seeking material to advance his own.

The exchange:

Reproducing private text messages, Mr Carr suggests Ms Gillard’s support of Israel was so immovable that she would not even allow him to change Australia’s vote on what he considered to be a minor UN motion.

“Julia – motion on Lebanon oil spill raises no Palestinian or Israel security issues. In that context I gave my commitment to Lebanon,” Mr Carr writes in a text message.

“No reason has been given to me to change,” Ms Gillard reportedly replies.

“Julia – not so simple,” Mr Carr responds. “I as Foreign Minister gave my word. I was entitled to because it had nothing to do with Palestinian status or security of Israel.”

Ms Gillard shuts him down in a final terse message: “Bob… my jurisdiction on UN resolutions isn’t confined to ones on Palestine and Israel.”


Mark Liebler responds, during an aggressive interview with Tony Jones:

Just unpick for a moment what he’s saying. He’s talking about the Jewish lobby, he’s talking about a difference of opinion between him and the Prime Minister. Why can’t they have a difference of opinion on a matter related to Israeli policy? No, if there’s a difference of opinion, the Prime Minister has to be controlled or influenced by someone. So the Prime Minister has to be wrong ‘cause she’s controlled by the Jewish lobby. How does the Jewish lobby control the Prime Minister? Through donations to the ALP and sending people to Israel. I mean, give me a break. I mean, would anyone sort of seriously accept that? I mean, I’m very flattered.

By the way, the Jewish lobby he’s referring to is the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. He’s referred to it in The Australian newspaper, so he’s referring to me directly. But, you know, as flattered as I am, this is really a figment of his imagination. I mean, Julia Gillard is an independent-thinking woman. She can come to her own conclusions without being influenced by the Jewish lobby and I suppose the Jewish lobby, according to Bob, … has the current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, under its influence. After all, he’s adopted a very pro-Israel attitude.

Quentin has done us a favour by showing why an elected G-G is a terrible idea

OK. Professor Julia Gillard, in her retreat by the sea in Adelaide, feels she has something to contribute on our current controversy with Indonesia. She is not only welcome to do so, but as an almost perfect direction finder on policy – do the opposite of what she suggests – she actually does contribute to the debate. Have her out in front, I say. Make sure she remains the most visible member of the Labor Party. Never deprive her of an opportunity to speak whenever she feels the need. I will defend her right to free speech etc etc etc.

However, this is not also the case of Quentin Bryce whose views seem to be as inane as the views of the former Prime Minister but the thing about those personal views is that we are not supposed to know them. She is permitted freedom of opinion, but given the job as Governor-General, she is not free to express them. I again think that by speaking her mind in public, she has actually damaged the causes she favours but that is so far from the point that it is almost not worth mentioning. It’s really this incredible lack of judgment in neither respecting nor understanding her role in a Parliamentary system that is the concern.

Indeed, she almost perfectly underscores why an elected President would cause great harm to the governance of this country. The job of the Governor-General is to hold a series of reserve powers to be applied in those very rare cases of constitutional division and deadlock. In the meantime, it is to be as far from possible from political engagement. If she doesn’t understand that she should by now. And if an apology is owed anywhere by anyone in this country, it is she who owes a private apology to Tony Abbott, and a sincere one.

But if she were an elected President, then she would feel a greater licence to say what she wants in public since she would have the authority of the approximately 50% of the country who had voted for her as President. And rather than commenting here or there on some issue of some kind, the elected Governor-General would feel free to become involved with any and every issue of the day since they would feel they have a constituency of their own.

The Governor-General has done us a favour by giving us just a taste of a world in which our head of state might feel free to enter the political debate. It is why electing the Governor-General would be the worst of all possible constitutional arrangements we might possibly construct.

Australia in the news

This was picked up at Lucianne.com.

IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison has issued a stern warning to refugees escaping the Syrian crisis – if they try to come to Australia by boat they will not be welcome.

Mr Morrison this morning said there would be “no sympathy” given to boat people, regardless of their country of origin.

His comments come in the wake of the latest boat tragedy in which at least 31 people, mostly children, drowned off the coast of Indonesia with many more still missing.

News Corp Australia this morning revealed among the dead were a group of Lebanese refugees lured to Australia on fake Syrian passports.

The families from an impoverished area of Lebanon were promised a safe “ship” to Australia via the fake identification.

Mr Morrison said the boat disaster was a tragedy but that the Australian government would not refrain from its hard line approach.

“People who are going to try and use the Syrian conflict, which is a dreadful and horrible tragedy that is unfolding before us there, as some sort of cover to come to Australia for economic migration – we are just not going to cop it,” he told 2GB Sydney radio host Ray Hadley.

“Australia is going to do its bit in terms of what is going on in Syria and there are meetings going on in Europe at the moment about how we are going to support the UNHCR and we are going to be providing places under our humanitarian program for those who are genuine refugees in Syria.

This is the message going out and none too soon. We are closing our borders which was a possibility open to any government if they were of a mind to do it. And then this, with picture, was found on The Drudge Report:

julia gillard from drudge

Gillard reveals her ‘murderous rage’ at sexist attacks…

She should only know the experience even I have felt putting things up on The Drum. Her own party couldn’t take any more of her with the lying and incompetence. All the votes that were picked up by Kevin or those that flowed to the Coalition must originally have been Labor voters. It is these people, these former supporters of the ALP, who are the misogynists she is talking about. The rest of us didn’t vote for Kevin either.

She must have had a particularly sheltered political life up until becoming Prime Minister if the kind of criticism she found as PM wasn’t what she was prepared for. I who find Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin as two of the greatest political leaders of my time will not be accused of misogyny in finding what Gillard stood for and did well against my principles. Politics is an equal opportunity pursuit with the rules the same for everyone. She was not on the receiving end of less than anyone else but she also did not receive the slightest bit more.

And then finally there was “5 Ways Feral Cats Do More Good Than Harm for Wildlife“. Also spotted on overseas, at Instapundit in this case, but this is what it’s about:

An Australian study shows feral cats help some endangered animals survive. I say: “Well, duh!”

Makes you proud.

Julia Gillard on Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard really could not help herself and I can’t say that I blame her. She has a long article at The Guardian, itself an interesting choice on where to speak out, which comes under the title, “Julia Gillard: power, purpose and Labor’s future“. I picked this up at Andrew Bolt who has quite a bit to say on the article as well. But the part that gets to me is that sense of how wonderful Labor has been in all the handouts they have manufactured. She sees no down side in all of the visionary stuff she has been responsible for. Let me draw on just one:

It is impossible to imagine modern Australia without Medicare, our universal healthcare scheme, which was introduced by the Whitlam government, repealed by the Coalition and then introduced by Labor again. This reform has become so significant a part of our national story that the political contest which surrounded its birth is now over. No serious candidate for public office runs on a platform opposing Medicare. Today’s Australia is not home to the kind of conservatives who would be ideological enough or dumb enough to contemplate such a political campaign. If anything, the national mood around Medicare is one of smug complacency. How much smarter are we than the Americans, still struggling with health reform, we think to ourselves.

Let me just stop you right here. Australia does not have a universal healthcare scheme. It has a dual track system which is why ours is the best in the world. Left to Whitlam, there would have eventually been no private healthcare option. It was intended to be a universal health care scheme. We would have been like the Poms, the Canadians and as the US is about to become. But under Malcolm Fraser, before he became a socialist, there was this one change made that has made all the difference: “‘Medibank Mark II’ was launched on 1 October 1976 and included a 2.5 per cent levy on income, with the option of taking out private health insurance instead of paying the levy.” They are slowly slowly introducing the private component into overseas universal healthcare systems as the Americans go about ruining theirs. We have had it all along. For a hilarious look at the Canadian system you have to see The Barbarian Invasions. This is where the Whitlam/Labor approach would have taken us.

This is the economic problem with the sainted Julia’s way of thinking. The government will remove market considerations to the greatest extent possible to fix whatever is not in their minds working perfectly by getting the government to do whatever it is itself. Everything is then fantastic except the outcome. And as for it being “impossible in modern Australia to find an advocate for the Howard government’s Work Choices laws” I wouldn’t be all that sure of this myself. But while on policy, as in making the economy work and that sort of thing, she is utterly wrong; on the politics of what draws votes I am more than sure that if not quite 100% correct she is pretty close. We still do not have the dependency class in the way others do. We have managed to maintain just enough of the ancient work ethic and notions of self reliance to still make an Abbott electable. But how long this will be it is impossible to know. But as these attitudes erode a less certain future beckons.

Even on the smaller question of whether it was right to switch to Kevin, it is not the number of seats that matters but the way in which the lies, chaos and policy incoherence of the Gillard government has more or less disappeared from the active memory of the country. Julia was a disaster and not only would have led her side to defeat but would have remained a symbol for inept governance for a generation. That has now gone completely. There is no horror within the community at the six years of Labor in the way there ought to be. That is why she is able to write this article and maintain her dignified pose. It amazes me how thoroughly Kevin has saved Labor from an entrenched communal memory of incompetence and deceit it so completely deserved. Now, sadly, it is possible to imagine a Labor Government if not quite within three years but certainly in six.