Do us a favour – keep it to yourself

No one wants this government to succeed more than I do. So when I write about something I see as a wrong step taken, I do it in the hope that the Government will see what I write – assuming they take any notice at all – as advice from a friend. I am a citizen blogger and we are a site that almost overwhelmingly has high hopes that this government will stay around for a long time to come. But this blog is like closed-circuit TV. We are a small close knit group who speak to each other although there are, I understand, quite a few others looking in.

A story like this on the other hand from Tuesday’s AFR, with the following headline across the front page – Reith accuses Abbott of orchestrating GrainCorp veto – is different. And when we go into the text, this is what we find:

One of the most senior figures of the Howard government and a leading ­figure of the Liberal Party’s conservative wing, Peter Reith, has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of orchestrating the veto of a $3.4 billion US bid for GrainCorp, which he described as the latest of several botched decisions.

Mr Reith called on the new government to show more leadership and resist the push for government subsidies and assistance for business, and raised concerns that the GrainCorp decision, which was supposed to have been made by Treasurer Joe Hockey, makes a bailout of Qantas Airways more likely.

Here’s the difference between myself and Peter Reith. He can pick up the phone and talk to the Prime Minister, not all the time perhaps but at least some of the time. He has the ear of most of the front bench and he can tell them privately what his concerns are.

Here is another difference. It would not be a news story if I thought that the government had “botched” something. It would not potentially swing a single vote or help alienate any part of the voting public. A former government Minister in John Howard’s government, however, is in an entirely different place. He does cause people to become disaffected. He loosens the hold of the Coalition on government.

He and others like him should stay out of it. They had their moment and that moment is gone. Their public criticisms only do harm. Malcolm Fraser became Labor’s greatest shill but we had stopped paying attention to him years ago.

Coalition unity is more important than GrainCorp. I have never understood the full complexity of the issue but the Nationals are dead against the sale. From what I understand, they are wrong to be opposed but that’s how it is. What’s the advice therefore being offered? Ram it through? Create a split in the government? Demonstrate to National Party voters there’s no point in voting National?

If I thought it was a bad decision I could say it but so what. For people a phone call away from making these point personally, people whose name recognition is high and who are associated with this government by being former high profile politicians on the Coalition side, their responsibility is to avoid at all costs the damage they have most clearly done. Their responsibility should be to ensure this government has a long life. In the meantime, they should keep such criticism for private communication to their friends in the government. And barring that, they should keep it to themselves.

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90 Responses to Do us a favour – keep it to yourself

  1. Bruce

    Aided and abetted by Fairfax outlet AFR. I do detect a willingness in Fairfax to try stuff on, just occasionally.

    The irony is AFR is a rag designed to appeal to capitalists. I stopped reading it over a decade ago as their ideology by then may’ve still started with the letter C, but it certainly didn’t end in ‘apitalist’. Will the last reader please turn the lights out.

  2. Andrew

    Reith lost the Liberal Party presidency to Alan Stockdale due to Tony Abbott’s casting vote. I often agree with Reith but he has never been a fan of Abbott’s, especially since that point in time. I think he should be allowed to comment on these issues because he has a well informed opinion and should simply not be apart of the cheer squad nor the ABC mob of haters.

  3. I disagree Steve. The government should be told when it gets it wrong by its friends as well as its enemies, in public as well as private.

    Agrarian socialism will remain the dominant paradigm until many more voices are heard in support of free markets. Saying it in private means only one side is heard.

  4. Infidel Tiger

    Public shaming works far better in my opinion.

  5. H B Bear

    Andrew – +1.

    Reith always needs to be taken with care. Likewise Kroger, Minchin … all of ‘em in fact.

  6. candy

    I agree with Mr Kates totally on that.

    There’s something vindictive about Peter Reith doing this. Who needs enemies when you’ve got friends like him?

  7. tgs

    Coalition unity is more important than GrainCorp.

    Bullshit, that’s the sort of rabid tribalism you would rightly condemn in the ALP but somehow it’s different when it’s the Coalition?

    Making the right policy decisions for the future of this country is far, far more important than some sort of perception of unity within the Coalition.

    We who consider ourselves libertarians should be above that sort of petty factionalism and not be afraid to call a spade a spade. I imagine Peter is not only seeking to sway opinions within the Coalition but also those of the general public – and bloody good on him!

  8. tgs

    I disagree Steve. The government should be told when it gets it wrong by its friends as well as its enemies, in public as well as private.

    Hear, hear!

  9. Steve Kates

    Dear David – Thank you very much for your comment. But I’m not saying that these issues should not be debated in public. There has been quite a bit of criticism of the decision with Henry Ergas the most notable to me but he was hardly alone. Let criticism come from every side, except from former members of the Parliamentary party. They have other means for letting their views be known. I don’t think Labor is advantaged by Mark Latham’s criticisms although by now he is probably the ALP’s version of Malcolm Fraser. But with Peter Reith, his criticisms carry serious weight but the residual effect is not on GrainCorp but on the standing of the government in the public’s eye. And as for socialism, agrarian or otherwise, this is what we try to fight. But one of the ways we try to fight socialism is to keep Labor from returning to the Treasury benches which would give us GrainCorp times ten and then worse.

  10. Max

    They had their moment and that moment is gone.

    We need full disclosures as to which lobbying firm he (and all ex-politicians) are working for. Earning big dollars (in addition to their generous lifetime pensions paid by the taxpayer)

  11. Go Tiges

    Peter Reith is an active lobbyist these days. Maybe he lobbied and lost, and now seeks to continue the fight through the media.

  12. Nanuestalker

    I know I may take some heat for saying this, but they need to take a leaf out of Penny Wong’s book as she runs the party line publicly even when she disagrees stongly (eg. SSM). She is proud & loyal to her union background and the Labor party as a whole which I find quite admirable (even though I disagree with her politics).

  13. tgs

    I know I may take some heat for saying this, but they need to take a leaf out of Penny Wong’s book as she runs the party line publicly even when she disagrees stongly (eg. SSM).

    I didn’t realise collectivism was so popular around here…

  14. JC

    Nanu

    It’s a little different. If you disagree with liar party policy and positions, you get chopped and referred to as a rat.

    There’s no room to think for yourself in the ant colony.

  15. Max

    I agree with you Nanuestalker –

    I disagree with almost everything Penny Wong stands for (I am a right wing, anti SSM catholic conservative Anglo father) but I do admire her loyalty to her party (which I also hate)… She is exactly the kind of person you would want in your corner.

  16. stackja

    Their responsibility should be to ensure this government has a long life. In the meantime, they should keep such criticism for private communication to their friends in the government. And barring that, they should keep it to themselves.

    Never will happen.

    Aided and abetted by Fairfax outlet AFR. I do detect a willingness in Fairfax to try stuff on, just occasionally.

    Fairfax and ABC will always publicise TA critics.

    Their responsibility should be to ensure this government has a long life. In the meantime, they should keep such criticism for private communication to their friends in the government. And barring that, they should keep it to themselves.

    While does Australia have to be first?

  17. egg_

    candy
    #1097232, posted on December 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    +1

    He’s stated on The Drum that (pollies) punditry is no better than anyone else’s but his opinion does carry some weight with the electorate, which Steve is alluding to, presumably.

  18. JC

    Max

    If you don’t like lobbying then don’t have governments make policy and regulations that cause this activity. It’s quite simple.

  19. Badjack

    It still comes back to whether you allow a bunch of crooks to buy an important Australian business where everyday Australians could get mugged by the new owners who could care less about Australia and its farmers.
    So many supposedly ‘smart’ people in Australia are bleating like babies over this because they, like the Left, are driven by ideology, and I highlight Judith Sloan as a major culprit.
    These people are so blinded by their ideology that they don’t care if crooks get to take over an Australian business, they would rather get into bed with them for a bit of ideological self gratification.
    As for Reith, he should know better but he has been suffering from ‘relevancy deprivation’ for quite some time.
    When and if a more suitable buyer comes along they can start to bleat.

  20. tgs

    It still comes back to whether you allow a bunch of crooks to buy an important Australian business where everyday Australians could get mugged by the new owners who could care less about Australia and its farmers.

    Not it comes back to allowing the owners of property to do with their property what they wish without arbitrary government interference.

    Unless you own shares in Graincorp your opinion (and naive economic jingoism) is utterly irrelevant, in my humble opinion.

  21. Dan

    It still comes back to whether you allow a bunch of crooks to buy an important Australian business where everyday Australians could get mugged by the new owners who could care less about Australia and its farmers.

    So go live in a socialist paradise where the all-knowing government can prevent everyone from making the wrong decisions. Do they have shareholders and if so do they get a say?
    I agree with comments above, let the Govt fear horrendous public embarrassment if they make illiberal decisions. Look at this welfare state anyway, do you think they have the courage to call for reform?

  22. Dan

    Their responsibility should be to ensure this government has a long life.

    Uh no, that’s not their moral or ethical responsibility at all when managing a failing welfare state. Any cuts would survive a change of government as the other side would recognise there isn’t any money to reinstate welfare for the fit and well in our society.

  23. Badjack

    tgs
    and yours is relevant?

  24. gabrianga

    Just happened to be a couple of Fairfax “investigative” journalists nearby when Reith cracked another dark one?

    Strange how the faded and jaded can’t help giving advice or crying over their spilt milk?

  25. Tapdog

    Agree with Steve.
    Keep your brawls private because anything else is a self indulgent enabler for the early arrival of the next socialist government. The current electoral majority is both slim and volatile, so let’s not lose sight of the ball.

  26. Liberal is a broad church. Different opinions do not mean disunity. Tony Abbott acknowledged there is merit on both sides of the argument.

    What I am most dismayed is the reporting in the media. It seems to be very one-sided designed to be a gotcha on the government whichever side it takes.

    Before Joe Hockey announced his decision, I get the feel that the media has been second guessing Hockey would favor the deal, thus the emphasizing of the National’s opposition, ADM’s questionable past, grain farmers concerns etc. All these just to show that if Hockey approves the deal, it would have been a bad decision. Then, when Hockey announced his veto, immediately, they changed tack to attack him on the free market front and Graincorp’s woes without the deal.

    Isn’t Graincorp supposed to be prepared for both the yes and no scenario?

  27. Bear Necessities

    Too often we have complained that the centre right point of view of certain topics (e.g. Climate Change, Indigenous Issues, Racial Issues etc) seems to be aggressively attacked not for its content but because it doesn’t fit a narrative the left wants to pursue. Many good people have been attacked as climate change deniers or racists for having the courage to voice mild dissent.
    Peter Reith and Peter Costello and other senior conservatives should continuely speak up if “our” side breaks from sensible policies or decisions.

    Remember the ALP continued with bad policy after bad policy because many, including senior cabinet ministers, remained silent.

  28. stackja

    Remember the ALP continued with bad policy after bad policy because many, including senior cabinet ministers, remained silent.

    And MSM remained silent.

  29. Eddystone

    When and if a more suitable buyer comes along they can start to bleat.

    Exactly.

  30. eb

    tgs –

    Making the right policy decisions for the future of this country is far, far more important than some sort of perception of unity within the Coalition.

    All well and good, but if you don’t take the electorate with you it’s going to be a bit hard to implement all these policies from opposition.

    You’ve got to pick your fights and win the big ones. You can’t try to win them all, and piss off all sorts of people who might otherwise vote for you.

  31. tgs

    tgs
    and yours is relevant?

    I’m not the one trying to dictate to other people what they can and can’t do with their own property.

    Your question is stupid.

  32. James of the Glen

    Couldn’t agree more, Steve.

    Peter Reith should be ashamed of himself and needs a sharp whack around the ears. As Steve says, he’s had his day and he would not have appreciated interference and white-anting from others during that time.

    There is a small fraction of past members unable to wean itself from the limelight. Tim Fischer is another (who can forget his disgusting appearance at Rudd’s 20-20 circus, complete with his look-at-me hat) of that self-important group.

    I hope Andrew Bolt thinks twice about any further invites to Reith for the Bolt Report.

  33. Infidel Tiger

    When and if a more suitable buyer comes along they can start to bleat.

    No one in their right mind is going to buy Graincorp for anywhere near the price ADM offered. The shareholders have been raped.

  34. stackja

    Infidel Tiger
    #1097329, posted on December 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm
    When and if a more suitable buyer comes along they can start to bleat.
    No one in their right mind is going to buy Graincorp for anywhere near the price ADM offered. The shareholders have been raped.

    ADM agenda was what?

  35. Infidel Tiger

    ADM agenda was what?

    Make a shitload of money. What else?

  36. Pickles

    No one was prepared for Hockey to say no. Not even Cargill. The thought hadn’t even entered it’s head. I don’t think that it would be all that unhappy with the situation now, where a very large competitor has been refused entry to the market. As for Grain Corp shareholders, it was a matter for them to sell shares right up until the decision. Those that didn’t sell obviously decided that was better to keep them and bet for higher returns with ADM. I bet Alison Watkins wishes she did, rather than cook a million.

    Again, if you don’t want the Treasurer to exercise the power, take it away. While he’s got it, be prepared for him to say no.

    All “private property” is subject to regulation by the at least one (or all) levels of the State, so the private property argument is weak in my view.

  37. JC

    All “private property” is subject to regulation by the at least one (or all) levels of the State, so the private property argument is weak in my view.

    It doesn’t remove the fact that ownership of private property is pretty close to absolute. The shareholders should be compensated for the difference.

  38. Pickles

    It doesn’t remove the fact that ownership of private property is pretty close to absolute. The shareholders should be compensated for the difference.

    JC, my point is that ownership of private property is nowhere near absolute and probably never has been unless you were a King. Would be good if it was, but it isn’t. Think Coronation Hill, plain paper cigarette packaging, clearing trees on freehold land and confiscation of myriad property rights without compensation by governments. Planning and development restrictions by local governments are the worst and most obvious.

    As for compensating shareholders for the loss, next time Hockey waves one through and shareholders make a windfall gain, I hope you don’t mean that the State should confiscate the profits?

  39. eb

    The shareholders should be compensated for the difference.

    No JC. The shareholders had months to sell their shares if they wanted. In my experience, its best to sell as soon as it looks like the bid won’t go higher. No good waiting around for the take-over to be finalised while the share price goes nowhere. Don’t take the risk on ACCC or FIRB approval. Take the money and move on.

  40. 10 years ago I would have agreed you, but we can’t let the Lazy party get away with not fixing the trade union party’s mistakes.

    We can’t afford any more Frazers…

  41. Let criticism come from every side, except from former members of the Parliamentary party. They have other means for letting their views be known.

    Complete rubbish by Steve Kates, as usual. Former MPs are the people who have the most sway and can effect the greatest change.

    This is a supposedly robust democracy, not a feudal dictatorship. If Abbott is so weak that he can’t stand up to criticisms by former MPs then he doesn’t deserve to be PM.

  42. candy

    Monty
    I think Steve Kates is just advocating loyalty, which is a nice quality.

  43. candy, he’s advocating blind loyalty, loyalty to personality over principle. He is advocating that former politicians be disloyal to their own convictions, for the sake of convenience to retain power. This is poor form, to put it mildly.

  44. JC

    Monster,

    How did Finkelstien disuade you not to vote liars or human trash. If I recall correctly you told us you were voting trash on 7th Sept.

  45. candy

    candy, he’s advocating blind loyalty

    No, he’s advocating discretion out of respect and loyalty to the present and very new government. Which makes Steve Kates a nice fellow, not too sure about Mr Reith but. Discretion is different to blind loyalty.

  46. Thomas Esmond Knox

    “the Nationals are dead against the sale”

    I am a member of the LNP & have never been asked.

    No attempt has been made to poll LNP members or graingrowers.

    I know plenty of graingrowers and a majority of thos growers supported the takeover.

  47. struth

    My god, Monty talking about “blind loyalty”. FFS.
    Rich monty rich.
    I believe we should be able to say our piece loudly and often of course.
    In this case though, when the media is rabidly left wing and hasn’t been sorted out yet, the other side must be taken in to consideration.
    With a non biased media, we should all be screaming from the roof tops.
    Monty being completely hypocritical here points again to the unstable minds of the left that must be dealt with a bit first. Kill off the ABC, then Reith should get stuck in.

  48. Mr Rusty

    Theoretically everything Steve says does not sit well with conservatives & libertarians.
    Realistically and pragmatically everything Steve says is accurate and should be heeded.

    The left are absolutely rabid and will seize on the tiniest of things to fragment the party or country and aid the return of their diabolical regime. Labor can pass off their internal squabbles as personality clashes rather than policy dysfunction and the MSM will run with it. Reith’s outburst is used to bludgeon the new Liberal Government and somehow show it as inferior and looked down upon by the Howard era bigwigs.
    The left can and will turn one of the greatest strengths of conservatives into a seeming weakness.

    When, and if, the left are returned to where they belong (mental institutions / licking dogs vomit out of the gutter for breakfast) and they command a more realistic portion of the vote (+/- 5%) then things can return to normal.

    One reason the left have managed to be so successful is that they can compromise on their ideals and beliefs – they are much better at “recognising the need to except (sic) often unpalatable compromises in the short term to bolster the prospect of future advance.”

    Anyone know who said that?

  49. Vicki

    Now we have Queensland Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald exploding with resentment over his failure to make the Ministry & taking aim at the PM’s office, and Credlin in particular, for micro-managing!
    Fairfax has, of course, gleefully reported it in SMH online in the last hour.

    It is bad enough that the Opposition, the ABC & much of the press has taken to the Abbott government with sharpened blades, but for attacks within – well, I agree with Steve, it is just too much.

  50. Discretion is different to blind loyalty.

    One quite possible scenario is that Reith tried to convince Abbott discreetly but got nowhere. Reith would have had no other recourse to prosecute his case.

    Abbott can not expect to demand the loyalty of his party if he betrays the beliefs it stands for. One might equally ask whether Abbott is showing loyalty to his party’s founding principles.

    Abbott can also not demand discretion when he shows none himself. How is what has gone on in the past two weeks in any way discreet? Party policy is being made up on the run, changing on a daily basis according to polls and media criticism. The Cabinet is full of ministers who have made multiple egregious indiscretions already. Reith looks like a genius next to this mob.

    Of course, Steve K doesn’t actually care about principles, he thinks unity is more important. At least he’s honest enough to admit that he’s a shameless partisan.

  51. Viva

    We who consider ourselves libertarians should be above that sort of petty factionalism

    Oh come on – you’re starting to sound like the Greens … in the front trenches of politics you can’t always remain so pure.

  52. wazsah

    Great that Pickles reminded us of Coronation Hill

  53. tgs

    Oh come on – you’re starting to sound like the Greens … in the front trenches of politics you can’t always remain so pure.

    Granted, but self-censorship in relation to a monumentally stupid decision that goes against both the Coalition’s stated ideology as well as basic economic good sense in the pursuit of some sort of perception of political unity is taking it much too far, in my opinion.

  54. Dan

    LNP are tying themselves in knots trying to appease ABC viewers. This can’t end well.

  55. james

    The LNP need to realise that the ABC will never treat the ALP with anything other than TLC.

  56. Jessie

    Pickles has pointed readers to some fascinating reading in the past few days.

    Coronation Hill

    Brunton on the matter.

  57. James of the Glen

    ” Former MPs are the people who have the most sway and can effect the greatest change.” How about that.

    From where does this guy get such precious guff?

  58. Fleeced

    I’m with IT, Leyonhjelm and others on this – public shaming all the way!

    Abbott and co are foolishly trying their darndest to get the luvvies to like them. We should make it clear that such softcockery is not tolerated.

  59. Tel

    Coalition unity is more important than GrainCorp. I have never understood the full complexity of the issue but the Nationals are dead against the sale. From what I understand, they are wrong to be opposed but that’s how it is.

    Exactly.

    Anyway, it was Joe Hockey’s personal decision, and he accepts responsibility for it. There’s a strong streak of National Socialism that runs through the National Party and this time around the politics was in their favour.

    Reith lost the Liberal Party presidency to Alan Stockdale due to Tony Abbott’s casting vote.

    Abbott got that one right. Reith should have admitted he wasn’t fit for office after handing a government phone card to his kiddie. Since then he has regularly hung around the media, kind of the Mark Latham of the Liberal Party, but less sense of humour and more self-important.

  60. Tel

    I know plenty of graingrowers and a majority of thos growers supported the takeover.

    Then they should have got that message through to their party HQ. You seriously don’t expect any politician to stop and ask do you? They get it when they have no choice, and not a moment before.

  61. James B

    Great fucking post, mate. We should all stop criticism of Abbott’s big government fucking DLP policies and suck it up and support this big government phony.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  62. Peewhit

    Graincorp is a business converted to a public company from a co-operative. If it is so important to the farmers involved why did they sell enough shares to put it into play. Joe Hockey should have been pushing this idea out into the public forums before his decision. If the National voting people care that much, why aren’t they buying shares to stop it from happening. I am always suspicious of those who think that they are entitled to sell at a profit and still have a say in the ownership of a public company.

  63. Sinclair Davidson

    Coalition unity is more important than GrainCorp.

    Hmmmm.

    So if Malcolm Turnbull had said, “Coalition unity is more important than climate change policy” we’d be in the third Rudd government now.

  64. johanna

    So, Reith is suffering from Relevance Deprivation Syndrome, and the lazy presstitutes reproduce his (and Latham’s, and M. Fraser’s) demented utterances because it is easier than actually doing some work. Parasites feeding off parasites.

    If journalists were doing their jobs, the meanderings of past their sell by politicians would be of no interest. But, it fills up the space.

  65. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    I’m with Reith.

    Abbott’s government is three months old and it is already a sad joke.

    When the gutless, craven Treasurer calls for a national debate about re-nationalising Qantas, you can tell where we’re headed.

    For God’s sake. How pathetic.

    Visions of Malcolm Fraser loom large.

    Abbott is a huge disappointment. Sloppy Joe is living down to expectations. Bronwyn in the speaker’s chair is a waste of space.

    Am with Reith and Costello all the way.

  66. Paridell

    To recapitulate, the libertarian creed is that sell-offs are right by definition.
    If you oppose sell-offs for any reason, you should go and live in a socialist paradise (thank you, Dan). Everyone clear now?

  67. Peewhit

    Paridell sell-offs are not right by definition, they are a right. There is also the right not to sell. As a share owner it is your right until the buyer owns over a fixed percentage to not sell. So if you believe that a business should remain in Oz hands I will defend your right to buy shares in it to retain it in Oz hands. Otherwise if the owners are willing to take the money that is their right.

  68. Paridell

    Not right, the right, your right, their right… six rights in four sentences is as many as anyone needs.

    But what if the sell-off is wrong?

  69. Peewhit

    Sinclair I am with you. Principles are always more important than unity. Malcolm Turnbull seems to think so too. His course may not be approved of, but he still pursues it. Politics does demand pragmatism but if they have no basic compass then they will be lost. You cannot be all things to all people. This said in another way was you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you will only fool some of the people all of the time. And they want to believe.
    As an older citizen I would also like to put in a plug for politeness on these Blogs. There is no reason to abuse others who have a different opinion. Argue yes, disagree yes, but realize that their opinions are as honestly held as yours, however different they may be.

  70. Peewhit

    Paridell if the sell off is wrong persuade the owners not to sell or buy yourself. Which right do you believe is not.

  71. Paridell

    I shall throw the Paridell fortune into the breach at the next opportunity. But even my resources may not run to saving the next State Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Cubby Station, or Graincorp. We shall see.

  72. Greg James

    Agree with Steve.
    Keep your brawls private because anything else is a self indulgent enabler for the early arrival of the next socialist government. The current electoral majority is both slim and volatile, so let’s not lose sight of the ball.

    Disagree entirely.

    I suspect that a lot of those on the Conservative side of politics who are now starting to publicly question some of Abbott’s political stances on things, recally the complete and utter waste that was the 8 years of the Fraser government and do not want to see a repeat of that.

    For myself, I wish Abbott and his team all the best; and I’m prepared to give them some fairly significant leeway, given the mess they have inherited.

    But it is a two-way street. I didn’t vote for this mob simply to see them kow-tow to the left and to the ABC. I didn’t vote for them to expect them to attempt to ingratiate themselves with anyone from the leftwing intelligentsia, and I certainly didn’t vote for them to expect to see Tony Abbott on the Bolt show last weekend almost pathetic in his attempts to not cause offence to those, who most rightfully deserve to be offended.

    It is time for Abbott and the Liberal Party to man up and start cutting some heads-off. It is what we expect of them and it is what we voted them in for. If TA doesn’t have the stones to do it and intends only to be a Malcolm Fraser lite for the next 6 years, then the party needs to start looking at a replacement.

    [And I do not mean Malcolm Fucking Turnbull!]

  73. Splatacrobat

    My view on Peter “give me a break” Reith.
    Quite frankly no one complains when Gary John buckets his own. Reith is a commentator now and so quite frankly he is entitled to take whatever position he wants quite frankly. I don’t agree with everything he says with the exception of the use of quite frankly, however if he chooses to have an alternate view on current government policies I can’t see quite frankly if it is anybody else’s business…….quite frankly give him a break!

  74. Peewhit

    Paridell Cubby station is a profit for Oz. Look back through the records at how corporations have done at farming Oz and how much foreign capital has been swallowed by us in the past. Think Elders, and the English company humbled by the landrights movement, and I am having a total mental blank on the name. Old age strikes. Memory strikes back, the Vesteys.

  75. Nanuestalker

    I don’t know where you are going with this Sinc. It’s about timing. Abbott has bigger fish to fry so unity is paramount. Settle differences in the party room as they did while in opposition.
    (That being said, I think we all know that the Liberals are just Labor-lite but at least they aren’t Labor)

  76. Peewhit

    Paridell I also support your right to pick an undervalued asset and sell it to whatever victim you can find at a profit. It is the same right I give to all others willing to risk their own money.

  77. Ripper

    It seems that all the worthwhile gains from Keating’s “competition Policy” have just about always resulted in losses to the bush far in excess of the City. Towns have had services removed , FIFO implemented , Native title , Calm buying up Pastoral stations and removing the watering points to turn the “back to nature” causing all the animals to go to the neighboring property trying to make a quid.
    TPTB will have more sway in the bush when the same rules apply to GMH , Toyota and Ford.

  78. Tapdog

    Peewhit t 10:09 pm
    …sell-offs are …. right. ………………. if the owners are willing to take the money that is their right.”

    The term ‘National Interest” is often abused by scoundrels and well intentioned idiots -nonetheless it DOES exist. Peewhit’s model omits it entirely, thus for me the model is incomplete.

    Majority of comment here misses Steve’s original thesis which is not that constructive policy debate is not needed, but that friendly fire from the sidelines is at best a hindrance and a distraction.

  79. Combine_Dave

    Abbott has bigger fish to fry so unity is paramount.

    Yes they need all that unity while they; partially renationalise Qantas, decide how much cash to shovel Holden, block the sale of private property to an o/s buyer on grounds of nationalism, continue with the liars NBN, Gonski and NDIS. Maybe the problem is their policy not the disunity of those willing to speak out against such Labourish decisions?

    But there is a ray of sunshine… Morrison has stopped the boats and the LNP has been trying to repeal the carbon tax.

  80. tgs

    To recapitulate, the libertarian creed is that sell-offs are right by definition.
    If you oppose sell-offs for any reason, you should go and live in a socialist paradise (thank you, Dan). Everyone clear now?

    You’re an idiot.

    The libertarian position is that those who own their property should be free to sell it without government intervention.

    The libertarian position has no opinion on whether the sale itself is a good idea or not. The fact of the matter is that the owners of this property thought it was a good idea, so anyone else’s opinion (including yours and mine) is irrelevant unless we are also owners of this property (i.e. Graincorp shareholders).

    Understand?

  81. LABCR-TV

    Steve,

    Don’t you think that Reith’s comments are intended to do the same job as you are doing?
    You said it in your first paragraph – a friend giving advice to the government.

    Whether you and Reith disagree or not on GrainCorp is not the point. The point is that you want to have a say, yet deny Reith that same right. How do you reconcile this?

    Another point: Where is Reith’s evidence for his claim about Abbott orchestrating the veto?

    Another point: I have always thought that having only Joe Hockey take responsibility for the takeover decision was not acceptable. Too important for one man, and why a treasurer at that? I would have expected the whole government to have made the decision.

    Other than that, today is my first day on this site. Hope to come back soon, so frustrated and disappointed with the MSM.

  82. wreckage

    While as a conservative I am against the sale of Graincorp to this mob, and am happy it didn’t happen, here’s a few thoughts from the Libertarian in my head:

    * If the shareholders wanted to block this they could have, yes? By refusing to sell. The former Rice Growers Co-Op did just that IIRC.

    * The ACCC already blocked the merger of GC and AWB. Once these assets are in foreign hands they are no longer subject to the utterly idiotic idea that competition needs government micro-management to keep it properly intense, and as such can be managed properly. As long as they remain Australian it is only a matter of how much they will be devalued before the inevitable fire-sale. Since the buyer already has masses of off-shore assets, it can weather Australia’s absurd legislative environment as it only affects a small part of their portfolio.

    * Theoretically a new, big, foreign owner will almost inevitably bring with it a bigger network of brains, a lot more capital, new trade and transport partners, and long term stability of ownership.

    The Libs know all this. I suspect they blocked it because the buyers are in, or soon will be in, genuine legal or financial trouble. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that as long as something is foreign owned it’s probably safer from Australia’s idiot political class, and will also have legal protections against political whim that we poor bloody citizens lack.

  83. Noddy

    Mr Rusty
    #1097537, posted on December 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm
    One reason the left have managed to be so successful is that they can compromise on their ideals and beliefs – they are much better at “recognising the need to except (sic) often unpalatable compromises in the short term to bolster the prospect of future advance.”
    Anyone know who said that?

    Sounds like Graham Richardson… “Whatever it Takes” lies, lies and more lies!

  84. Paridell

    Well, tgs, it so happens that I do understand your primary-school-level self-definition. Its meaning is only too apparent.

    The real question is, why would you offer it to one you think is an idiot? Methinks the end of your post forgets the beginning.

  85. Chez

    I’m a Liberal and I don’t give a fat rats about what any ol’ Liberal hack says! I’m only interested in what our current Liberal leader has to say and then I’ll make my judgements and by the way who’s going to remember what Reith said in three days time! No bloody one!

  86. tgs

    Well, tgs, it so happens that I do understand your primary-school-level self-definition. Its meaning is only too apparent.

    If you understand it then you were deliberately employing a straw man argument because the position you attacked was not the position offered by myself and others.

    Logical fallacies are the refuge of the stupid and lazy.

    The real question is, why would you offer it to one you think is an idiot? Methinks the end of your post forgets the beginning.

    I was hoping to educate you because I assumed in good faith that you simply didn’t understand not that you were deliberately misrepresenting the positions put forward by others in order to make them easier for you to have a go at.

    Obviously I made a mistake.

    Have a go at responding with an actual point this time if you can.

  87. Paridell

    Actually, tgs (or may I call you tg now we’re old acquaintances?), my post was a summary of most of the posts that preceded my own. They appear to me to consist of absurdly distorted arguments in favour of sell-offs regardless of the circumstances.

    As I said, I did understand your previous post. I’m afraid I don’t quite follow “simply didn’t understand not that you were deliberately misrepresenting”. Too many negatives by any standard!

    But you are correct that you made a mistake.

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