Governing with the consent of the governed

The government, and its last few remaining supporters, are getting very frustrated. The Press Gallery want to talk about the polls and not policy. The Media Watch piece that I linked to below points to the problem:

That poll dominated the evening news bulletins on all the major networks…

Mark Simkin: The latest poll speaks for itself. Labor’s primary vote slumped to just 30%, the Coalition’s is up, prompting predictable questions about a Kevin Rudd comeback.
— ABC 1, News, 18th February, 2013

John O’Dohery: Julia Gillard says she’s focused on governing.
Julia Gillard: Look I don’t comment on opinion polls
— Channel Nine, News, 18th February, 2013

Alex Hart: It’s proving a very unwelcome distraction
Tanya Plibersek: No questions at all about clinical trials? Nope, OK, polls then.
Alex Hart: One government marginal seat holder lashed out an event promoting government medical investment
Julie Owens: You’re talking about leadership, we’re not – we’re talking about health.
— Channel Seven, News, 18th February, 2013

That wasn’t all Julie Owens, Labor MP for Parramatta, had to say. She thought the public might be interested in the fact that the government was putting more money into clinical trials and cutting edge medical research…

Julie Owens: Honestly, this affects people’s lives, what we are talking about here today. Do you honestly think people out there that are going to watch your bulletin care more about me than they do about the health of their children? And you’re going to ask about me instead of their children? Get real!

— Julie Owens, MP for Parramatta, 18th February, 2013

But the TV journos didn’t care about you either, Julie. The national story, that day, was the Nielsen poll.

But as even Lenore Taylor recognises this is a legitimate story.

she makes a very good point, the media does engage in too much speculation, but the despair in Labor now is a valid story imho
— Twitter, 19th February, 2013

Since the Nielson poll came out last week even segments of the Fairfax press has been dissing the government and calling for Gillard to resign. Some people might think that the polls are irrelevant to good policy and the like but actually they are very important in a democracy.

The executive governs with the consent of the governed. When the polls are poor the question of legitimacy arises. So there is no point talking much about policy when people are wondering about the legitimacy of your office.

Now there are swings and roundabouts. Government is often behind in the polls, yet when that situation arises it is up to the government – and the leadership especially – to articulate a plan to restore legitimacy and poll primacy. Right now the media want to talk about polls because the leadership has failed to articulate such a plan – not one or twice, but frequently.

All this talk about banning polls and being poll obsessed etc. is the government shooting the messenger. The polls indicate that the government has lost the confidence of the electorate and is no longer governing with the consent of the governed. The only end in sight that anyone can see to this is the September election. Small wonder the media doesn’t want to talk about policy.

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87 Responses to Governing with the consent of the governed

  1. C.L.

    Rudd won’t help either: Gains from a switch to Kevin Rudd only marginal.

    It really is the most exquisite, self-inflicted clusterfuck of knotted debacles ever seen in Australia. They can’t get rid of the first woman prime minister because misogyny and the man on the reserves bench is a “psychopath.”

    To top it off, Gillard announces a Last Stand At Rooty Hill.

  2. Rabz

    The executive governs with the consent of the governed. When the polls are poor the question of legitimacy arises.

    This gubberment has never had any legitimacy.

  3. pete m

    The polls are a measure of confidence the public has in the government.

    The current state of affairs can only be seen as a no confidence motion being successful in public.

    What members of parliament might vote at the same time on such a motion is irrelevant as their ability to hold that vote long term is governed by being returned to parliament.

    We the people have no confidence in this government and our wishes ought to be respected and an election called.

    Election now!

  4. Craig Mc

    not one or twice, but frequently

    Try “permanently”.

  5. duncanm

    ok.. so this is far from a coincidence.

    Kerry Anne Whatserface goes nutty over polls, now MW is in on the poll bashing.

    Go McTurdman!

  6. Splatacrobat

    John O’Dohery: Julia Gillard says she’s focused on governing.

    So to continue governing she intends to campaign for five days in Rooty Hill.

    I could think of better places for Tim to take her for a shagathon with the unwashed.

  7. Gab

    Why all this talk of banning polls when gillard herself has announced on many many prior occasions over the last three years that she takes no notice of polls? *she queried with eyes rolling to the heavens*

  8. Splatacrobat

    Mike Hastings had more legitimacy than this grubermint

  9. Steve of Ferny Hills

    Kerry Anne Whatserface? I think you mean Kerry Anne Offherface.

  10. hammygar

    When the polls are poor the question of legitimacy arises.

    This is nothing but a dog whistle to the G-G to do another Cur.

    Howard had poor polls several times during his PM term. No call from the likes of Catallaxy rabble commenters to doubt his legitimacy then.

  11. Nuke Gray

    Who needs Governments? Just ask policy questions of the ordinary person in the street, and use the results directly! If we’re going to respond to every opinion poll out there, let’s go all the way!

  12. Token

    All this talk about banning polls and being poll obsessed etc. is the government shooting the messenger.

    You’ve just described Senator Benito Red Underpant’s job description.

  13. jupes

    Go McTurdman!

    Yep. The Scottish clown is working his magic again.

    Let’s hope he keeps it up until the election.

  14. Who needs any of it. Ban polls. Ban elections too. Those clever people in Canberra know what’s best – just ask them.
    Actually there’s no need – they’ll tell you anyway.

  15. Sinclair Davidson

    This is nothing but a dog whistle to the G-G to do another Cur.

    What! No – we want Ms Gillard to go the full term. She has earned the wrath of the electorate and should face the wrath of the electorate.

  16. twostix

    They can’t get rid of the first woman prime minister because misogyny and the man on the reserves bench is a “psychopath.”

    The untold story: Female Australian Labor Leaders and the incomprehendable incompetence.

    Post Kirner, post Bligh, post Keneally, post Lawrence, post Gillard the “argument” for quotas and affirmative action to “raise women up the ladder” is as dead as a doornail with Julia Eileen Gillard being the undertaker at that psycopathic ideas funeral.

    I wonder how the sisterhood will feel given that 2.5 years after the wondrous occasion of the first female in the highest office of the land that it may be another 50 years before any party in this country dares try it again ?

  17. Like the G-G is going to do anything of the sort, when she’s Bill Shorten’s mother-in-law, and thus effectively fairy godmother to the whole abominable mess.

    Fantasy Island: Parliament sits, and within a week Windsor and Oakeshott pull the plug, Craig Thomson skips bail, and we start electioneering in earnest.

  18. Louis Hissink

    For whom do the polls toll?

  19. twostix

    Who needs Governments? Just ask policy questions of the ordinary person in the street, and use the results directly! If we’re going to respond to every opinion poll out there, let’s go all the way!

    Why not? A voluntary direct democracy where the person who would seek out to vote on any particular issue of importance to them would be infinitely and now demonstrably more capable than the Stephen Conroys or Julia Gillards who are doing it currently.

    They don’t even live in normal society like the rest of us instead preferring to live in their weird little closed “labor movement” sect where they all socialise, intermarry, send their kids to “labor camps” and all go big church revivals to sing hymns together. Let the average man on the street have at it.

  20. jupes

    …the “argument” for quotas and affirmative action to “raise women up the ladder” is as dead as a doornail …

    But not in the military.

    The Sex Discrimination Comissioner has recommend quotas for women in strategic leadership positions in the ADF. The ADF leadership has rolled over to have their tummy scratched by the feminists.

    Disgraceful.

  21. candy

    There were no calls to ban polls from pro Gillard people when the Newspolls were 50/50 a little while ago.

    blind freddie can see it’s just sour grapes now.

  22. Borisgodunov

    What aboutelections every year ? That would keepthe pollie Bastards on their toes,also no compulsory or preferences,and a limit of two terms then out for life ,with no super , pensions or perks Cut salaries by 80 per cent,and rule by referenda ?and Abolish political parties and unions,Centrelink Would be Busy!

  23. Gab

    The Sex Discrimination Comissioner has recommend quotas for women in strategic leadership positions in the ADF.

    Here’s a new concept: how about calls for competent and battle experienced defence personnel in strategic leadership positions, regardless of gender and political affiliations.

  24. jupes

    Here’s a new concept: how about calls for competent and battle experienced defence personnel in strategic leadership positions, regardless of gender and political affiliations.

    It’s not new. That is in fact the traditional method. However gender has never been a consideration because women haven’t any experience leading men in battle.

  25. I find the sheer hubris fascinating.

    ‘What – you mean that we can waste money and govern incompetently with the thinnest of majorities, and not be loved by the people?’

    Underneath this is the more disturbing, ‘But we lavished money on those bastards – we gave them handouts to burn. Why aren’t they going to vote for us?’

    And then just for sheer variety, ‘But Tony Abbott’s such a c-word; surely they can’t be seriously thinking that he’d be preferable to us?’

    And the ever-popular, ‘But we have the press gallery and the chattering classes firmly on our side – why isn’t that enough?’

  26. Gab

    It’s not new.

    Yes, I know. It was made with tongue planted in cheek.

    However gender has never been a consideration because women haven’t any experience leading men in battle.

    I don’t see the problem.

  27. And Joan of Arc, come to mention it.

    In fact, go here and knock yourselves out.

  28. trax

    Am I detecting a bit of a change, they seem to have past the denial stage and are moving onto anger.

    I’m guessing they are reserving bargaining for the election and depression for after the election.

  29. Nuke Gray

    Candy, freddie became blind because he ate sour grapes, not good stuff! As Alfred E. Neuman observed, “When it comes to hindsight, we’ve all got 20/20 vision!”

  30. Bill

    Boudicaa and Jehanne D’Arc didnt exactly win. Soldiers are the one profession where you really do need to pay for results.

  31. Pedro the Ignorant

    n fact, go here and knock yourselves out.

    Great list of “badass female warriors” Phillipa, but I think most of them would have a few difficulties in fully grasping the concept of modern warfare.

  32. Token

    I am reading about Matilda of Canossa, I’m surprised she didn’t make that list Philippa M.

  33. H B Bear

    In addition to the question of their competence, there will always be a question of illegitimacy about the Gillard government after being installed by Oakeshott and Windsor. I remain convinced Windsor did so knowing Abbott would have gone straight back to the people, or at the earliest opportunity to do so.

    It is a tribute to the utter hopelessness of the Gillard government that it has been forced to limp along for three years, propped up by sexual deviants and crooks, without ever looking like having the ascendency over the Opposition to allow it to go early. To seek to portray this as “tough as nails” Gillard is laughable.

  34. Bill

    How many of those “badass female warriors” even definitely existed. Jehanne’s potted bio is inaccurate, so I have doubts about the others.

  35. Louis Hissink

    Must be many cats loose out in lefty land – the ones I know are vewy, vewy, quiet – almost as if a cat took their tongue.

  36. twostix

    Underneath this is the more disturbing, ‘But we lavished money on those bastards – we gave them handouts to burn. Why aren’t they going to vote for us?’

    After they are destroyed and Abbott given a Grand Emperor style mandate by the nation the left’s hatred of the decent and civilised people in this country will make their vicious slander and slurring of normal Australians during the Howard years seem like a love affair in comparison.

    If we do do this (elect Abbott) after all they’ve invested in hating him and loving Gillard we’d better be sure they’re out of power for a generation or more or mark my words: Australia will pay when they get back in.

    Oh how we’ll pay.

  37. Craig Mc

    ok.. so this is far from a coincidence.

    Kerry Anne Whatserface goes nutty over polls, now MW is in on the poll bashing.

    Go McTurdman!

    I heard the same thing from a card-carrying member on community radio this morning. The word has gone out to the comrades.

  38. If we talk about a list of real “badass female warriors”, I’d include Nancy Wake, AC, GM; Krystyna Skarbek, GM OBE; and Violette Szabo, GC.

  39. C.L.

    Hey, I was thinkin’.

    Where’s Monty?

  40. Gab

    Where’s Monty?

    Pondering life’s biggies, becuase he has no clue, somewhere on Victoria street.

    Paul Montgomery ‏@m0nty

    So yeah, is there a new #pope yet? That story seems to have disappeared.

  41. Tom

    The governed never gave their consent to be governed by this rabble. The past three years is what you get under the current system when the electorate can’t make up its mind — the minority works out a way to steal the keys to the safe and do what the minority wants. That is why the retribution will be terrible: the minority are getting justice in the election’s forerunner, the opinion polls, for ransacking the national treasury to skim off the rewards of this travesty for those who did not have a mandate to govern, but did so anyway though a loophole in the system. The public won’t make that mistake again.

  42. twostix

    The public won’t make that mistake again.

    For about fifty years.

    Last time a similar situation arose we ended up with the proto-Gillardian federation hating Communist drunkard John Curtin performing a coup and stealing the states income tax, tax offices and furniture while the fighting men of the nation were all overseas.

    This time we’ve ended up with a tax on air and a ham fisted attempt to steal the states mining tax revenue.

    Fortunately the average IQ of the ALP today is about 1/10th of what it was 70 years ago so they now utterly fail at everything, otherwise imagine the damage!

  43. dover_beach

    So yeah, is there a new #pope yet? That story seems to have disappeared.

    The “Oh, look over there!” trick.

  44. H B Bear

    Democracy has never been about voting in good governments, it is about voting out bad ones.

    Kennally and Bligh know this. Gillard is about to find out.

  45. Anon

    Looks like I’m goign off topic based on the last several comments, but didn’t Julia use polling as an excuse to roll Ruddy?

  46. dover_beach

    H B Bear, quite, but on occasion it has also involved voting out good ones.

  47. Fisky

    After they are destroyed and Abbott given a Grand Emperor style mandate by the nation the left’s hatred of the decent and civilised people in this country will make their vicious slander and slurring of normal Australians during the Howard years seem like a love affair in comparison.

    That is why it is so important that Leftism simply be banned for the first 10 years of an Abbott government. There will be no legitimate reasons to oppose the new government, except from the point of view of Abbott’s being a high-taxing nanny statist, so there will be no negative effects on democracy at all.

  48. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Gillard is hopeless not because she is a woman but because she is Gillard. She may have made things harder for women in future, but that is nothing new for leftie feminists. It is a cross they have to bear, as it is what they do. Plus Gillard arrived with a lot more excess baggage of that nature than even most of them.

    Contrary to Gillard’s rave, Australians are not misogynists. They just have very good bullsh*t detectors. A good woman candidate may still win through again to the PM heights. Give it time. Let it heal.

  49. tbh

    Lizzie, it’s refreshing to hear an Aussie woman say that. I’d like to think that we are fair minded to give a good candidate a go regardless of their gender, but we’re also just as quick to spot a phony when we see one.

    Gillard is an utter phony.

  50. H B Bear

    dover_beach – I reckon you could count the number of instances of that on one hand. Some of those would also be an example of “It’s time”, that would include Howard. Bjelke-Petersen and Obeid remind us of the need to change governments regularly anyway for the health of the democracy.

    If Abbott is half as competent as Howard and manages the next generation of young Liberal talent well, he could easily be there as long as Howard – and without having to buy a couple of elections in the process.

  51. Splatacrobat

    And Joan of Arc, come to mention it.

    In fact, go here and knock yourselves out.

    What about this warrior Princess ?

  52. Nuke Gray

    Anon, yes, but so what? Do you expect consistency in a political party?
    After all, Rudd has completely forgotten that he became leader because of poor polling for Beazley, and good polling for Rudd.

  53. Rabz

    I remain convinced Windsor did so knowing Abbott would have gone straight back to the people, or at the earliest opportunity to do so.

    Isn’t windbore on record as citing exactly that as one of his justifications for anointing this abominable excrescence of utter ongoing idiocy?

    P.S. And, no, I couldn’t be bothered looking it up.

  54. brc

    I don’t think Gillard has particularly damaged the idea of a female PM.

    However, I hope she has damaged the idea of a former communist beholden to the unions as a PM.

  55. thefrollickingmole

    Im currently reading a book first issed as a “penguin special” in 1933 regarding the demise of the german republic and the rise of the fascists.

    Quite fascinating, especialy one point where he lists why the republic (Weimar) cut its own throat.

    : Leaving reactionary/old regime judges in place.
    : leaving the civil service unpurged of the same element.
    : Allowing the military to pick its own “cadre’ of essential officers and men.. same element.

    Quite a few more as well, but the paralels with Labours stacking of civil service/judicial and tribunal appontments etc, are worrying.
    Abbott needs a purge when he comes in, he needs to place as many of his own partisans in at all levels or hes screwed.

  56. Driftforge

    I could certainly see Julie Bishop taking over from Abbott at some point.

  57. tbh

    Isn’t windbore on record as citing exactly that as one of his justifications for anointing this abominable excrescence of utter ongoing idiocy?

    I think you are spot on with that Rabz, my recollection is very similar.

  58. Marky

    I could certainly see Julie Bishop taking over from Abbott at some point.

    I’d personally love to see that. I haven’t followed Julie Bishop very closely, but what I have seen of her is that she has good presence. I saw an interview recently where she was speaking about the AWU scandal, and corrected the interviewer on a number of points without projecting the kind of condescending, school-teacher presence that Gillard cannot seem to rid herself of.

    Plus, if she handled the job well, it’d just be brilliant to demonstrate Gillard’s lie; nobody hated her because she was a woman, she was hated for being herself.

  59. Chris

    That is why it is so important that Leftism simply be banned for the first 10 years of an Abbott government. There will be no legitimate reasons to oppose the new government, except from the point of view of Abbott’s being a high-taxing nanny statist, so there will be no negative effects on democracy at all.

    But what if the polls show they don’t have support anymore? Surely that’s justification for going straight to an election :-)

  60. Jc

    Anyone seen Monster and stepford. Talk about MIA with those two imbeciles.

  61. Fisky

    Where are you guys? Get back on here and explain how the Slapper is on track for a landslide victory!

  62. The executive governs with the consent of the governed. When the polls are poor the question of legitimacy arises.

    Well that is a stupid question unless you completely dissagree with our democracy. The only way an elected government can face questions of legitimacy is if they actually fail to function in some form or another, the current government has come no where near this. By functional I mean are the public servants going to work and doing as they are told and can the government pay them.

    This gubberment has never had any legitimacy.

    They, like it or not are fully legitimate and this must be accepted. I expect the general public will make them the legitimate opposition but this is not a done deal until the votes are actually counted.

  63. Lloyd

    If she’s not rolled before July, I wonder if she’ll just pull the pin at the eleventh hour rather than face the music. I think she is sufficiently graceless to perpetrate any act of bastardry.

  64. sdfc

    Mole

    There was an interesting chart put out by one the the European banks a couple of years ago plotting the German unemployment rate in the early 30s against the rise in the Nazi vote.

  65. thefrollickingmole

    sdfc

    Thats brought up in the book as well. Allong the lines of “the young found their opportunities blocked by their fathers and grandfathers refusal to hand over”. Youth unemployment particualrly high, middle class savings decimated and a global fiancial crisis…

    But at least we dont have a Bolshevik state providing an “example” for the feckless and radical to emulate.

    In one part he describes a jewish businessman who was a doner to hitlers mob, based on his supposing Hitlers mob would moderate in power, and Bolsevism was the bigger threat.
    Ill try and remember to bring in the name of the writer/book later tomorrow.

  66. sdfc

    Do that. It sounds worth a read.

  67. jupes

    Quite a few more as well, but the paralels with Labours stacking of civil service/judicial and tribunal appontments etc, are worrying.

    The parallels go even further. Don’t forget they are also feminising the ADF.

  68. face ache

    Reading about warrior’s mothers is more inspiring than reading about female warriors. eg Eleanor of a Aquitane.

  69. Rabz

    They, like it or not are fully legitimate and this must be accepted.

    Bollocks. I stand by my original comment.

  70. hammygar

    Kerry Liddle, you’re absolutely correct. At last a voice of sanity on this blog (besides my own).

  71. brc

    without projecting the kind of condescending, school-teacher presence that Gillard cannot seem to rid herself of.

    I suspect very few people have seen the ‘real julia’. She certainly shows evidence of being a pretender in everything she does – everything is confected, ever speech a performance, every appearance staged.

    I know it’s part of the politicians playbook to do stunts and appearances, but there just seems to be such a thick veneer of pretending on everything to the voice, the clothes, the attitude. Just a very fake person. I would actually enjoy seeing something like the leaked video of Rudd doing his nut over the press releases, or Abbott wanting to slap Mark Riley for his off-the-cuff comment. These slip ups actually show a human side to the people. Not so with the school marm, who appears to even have a fake boyfriend along with fake everything else.

    Maybe those in the socialist forum could pipe up and tell us what she was really like, but maybe she was faking at being a communist as well.

  72. candy

    That seems really perceptive brc, like you always are.
    I’m wondering if Steve From Brisbane or Monty could tell us about her real personality – surely they must know. I can’t figure it either.

  73. mundi

    Some media organisations are taking the Green’s lead and starting to distance themselves from a sinking government. I expect some surprise endorsements of the liberals from the left leeches wanting to keep on blood sucking.

  74. Marky

    Kerry Liddle, you’re absolutely correct. At last a voice of sanity on this blog (besides my own).

    Of course you agree, the hive mind might be afflicted with a teeming plethora of mental disorders, but it’s not schizophrenic.

  75. Leigh Lowe

    Did anyone else see Gary Johns op-ed in the Oz today on how Abbott should prepare for Gumment?
    It was a corker!
    I don’t have the full link but his advice included:-
    – if tempted to dick with policy areas where the Feds have tried and failed before ….. DON’T.
    – if you are not actually delivering the end service, butt out. This includes education and health primarily.
    – don’t tweak and salami slice the public service. Get rid of whole departments of deadwood. Oh, and cut back your ministry. Every minister has to have an expensive department behind them, so one ministry cut saves millions.

  76. thefrollickingmole

    sdfc

    The book was “Germany puts the clock back” by Edgar Mowrer.

    First printed in 1933, got the author expelled from Germany.
    Reprinted a few times, this edition printed in April 1938. (and has additional, later chapters).

    Hes very harsh on the character of Germans in general, and extremely harsh on both the Versailles treaty and the Wiemar republic.

    An interesting historical read. Sad really.

  77. Leigh Lowe

    This most recent Newspoll was a Goldilocks poll.
    Not too hot, not too cold …… Juuuust right.
    Far enough in wipeout territory to keep the wind in Kevvy’s sails, but not so disastrous as to precipitate an immediate spill.
    Beautiful in all it’s ugliness.

  78. tbh

    This most recent Newspoll was a Goldilocks poll.
    Not too hot, not too cold …… Juuuust right.
    Far enough in wipeout territory to keep the wind in Kevvy’s sails, but not so disastrous as to precipitate an immediate spill.
    Beautiful in all it’s ugliness.

    I agree Leigh, the Coalition would be loving that poll and would be more than happy for it to stay there or thereabouts until September.

  79. Leigh Lowe

    I could certainly see Julie Bishop taking over from Abbott at some point.

    Indeed.
    She is a real chance to be Australia’s first competent and trustworthy female PM.

  80. wreckage

    I think SfB always said, all Labor needs is to gain a point a week in the polls and not have a single setback of any kind.

    A classic example of bad analysis riding in on wishful thinking.

  81. twostix

    She is a real chance to be Australia’s first competent and trustworthy female PM.

    She advocated that school be made compulsory for four year olds.

    Well know stalinist Tanya Plibersek was in furious agreement.

    Bishop’s a statist, commie shill.

  82. Nuke Gray

    Yes, but is Bishop a GOOD statist commie shill, or a BAD statist commie shill? What, exactly, do you mean?

  83. Don’t forget they are also feminising the ADF.

    And that, Jupes, will be the policy until we lose a female soldier in some shithole, and the videos of her treatment start appearing on youtube.

  84. thrfrollickingmole

    Winston SMITH

    Theres an old picture taken of ADF blokes manning a Vickers(?) MG with a dead gunner, it was published as censored (you could see an leg in the censored pic), the uncesnsored pic was brutal.

    A pic like that with a female would provoke an interesting reaction.

  85. sdfc

    Thanks Mole. I checked it on Amazon but its price is too steep for a tight-arse like me. I’ll have to see if I can get a more reasonable priced copy elsewhere.

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