Wednesday, July 1

Were we prescient, or what?

See, I did write about Malcolm Turnbull:

"Alas, it doesn't take long for a respected journalist, lawyer and merchant banker to sink into political life when he's elected to the Federal Parliament."

Okay, I'll come clean. That was posted to Grumpy Old Journo on December 23, 2006. Is that prescient, or what?

In the post, GOJ said:

Alas, it doesn't take long for a respected journalist, lawyer and merchant banker to sink into political life when he's elected to the Federal Parliament. Take Malcolm Turnbull, our new Environment Minister, quoted in this morning's Weekend Australian: “The whole climate change phenomenon has informed and underpinned the policies of the Australian Government for more than a decade.”

The truth, as Malcolm must well know, is that Prime Minister John Howard has denied evidence of climate change for a decade. A stubborn man who overestimates his own intellectual abilities, he
listened only to those scientists who had the Quadrant Seal of Approval.

The result: We lost 10 years in which we could have been looking for ways to deal with the crisis.

It's a pity to see Malcolm Turnbull getting down to their [political spin doctors'] level with such misinformation . . .

But then, he's the Republican who once wrote of Howard: "Whatever else he achieves, history will remember him for only one thing. He was the prime minister who broke a nation's heart. He was the man who made Australia keep a foreign queen."

A politician, unlike a leopard, must change spots to survive in the jungle. But surely, one can stop short of telling porkies.

Sorry Malcolm, you've lost me. Once I thought you'd be a great prime minister.

Australians expect political confrontation to be full-on, with no punches pulled. But they also expect their politicians to tell the truth, and to be sure of their facts when they make serious allegations against opponents, and to have the decency to apologise if they're proven wrong.

Our Federal Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, did none of those things when he accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of lying to the House of Representatives, and in essence, also accused him of corruption.

That's why the public turned against him so dramatically in the three newspaper opinion polls published this week. The Herald/Nielsen poll revealed the proportion of Australians who disapprove of him had jumped from 47 per cent to 60 per cent, and those who approved dived from 43 per cent to 32 per cent.

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My apologies to readers who looked to Grumpy Old Journo last week for enlightenment on "UteGate", aka the OzCar affair. Two factors kept GOJ silent. First, anything I could say would do little more than repeat the news and commentary splashed across all the newspapers.

Second, I was frantically trying to file the past three years' overdue income tax returns by June 30, hoping to qualify for the Federal Government's $900 tax bonus. That money could pay off the credit card after I spend $645 on compulsory third-party personal injury insurance before re-registering my old motor cycle -- almost twice the cost of our car's "green slip".

In rushing to file those overdue returns, I wasn't alone, as this report shows.


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