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The ALP national conference in Sydney, that is.

Julia Gillard’s speech, which one guesses was intended to inspire the meagre troops, was instead a perfect melange of excuses, distortions, and promises that will not be kept, delivered in a nasal drone that would drive you batty if you hadn’t fallen alseep after the first paragraph.

More from Piers Ackerman:

If anyone ever admits to having a hand in producing her speech, their names should be taken and kept in a safe place to ensure they never again produce words for others to utter in public.

The theme – Labor says yes – was so asinine that it could have come from a kindergarten focus group. It began with a statement of absolute nonsense: “In the 16 months since we stood together in that toughest of federal election campaigns, our party has governed and governed well.”

The laughter could be heard echoing around the harbour, even quieting for a brief moment the shrill homosexual protesters busily stripping away Gillard’s last shreds of authority.

From there it was a brief mention of the National Disability Insurance Scheme – but no mention that there had been no funding set aside in Wayne Swan’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook statement delivered earlier in the week.

Instead of delivery, Gillard said the decision had been taken to “lay the foundations” for what she termed a “defining Labor reform”. The cop-out clause. The fix is in.

She tried to justify the wasteful NBN cable rollout with an anecdote about a woman in Darwin whose leg was examined by a specialist in Adelaide, but didn’t have the wit to think that her listeners would wonder why Darwin, a city of 200,000 couldn’t support a full-time dermatologist, or why her government was spending exorbitant sums building super-clinics where they are not needed when there was a need for a clinic in the Northern Territory where skin problems are commonplace?

Her reference to the NBN reminded listeners that the Not Bloody Necessary fiasco is going to cost upwards of $50 billion, with its foreseeable cost blow-outs, and that take-up is meagre at best.

Her biggest howler was the claim on the clean energy economy (shorthand for carbon dioxide tax).

“After a debate lasting the best part of two, even three decades together, this year, we turned words into deeds and next year Australia will have a price on carbon,” she said.

Hello? Her words were: “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.” Who does she think she’s kidding?

Every Gillard speech should come with a caveat: Errors and omissions and anything we need to trade off to minor parties excepted. All facts subject to revision. Promises may be adapted, deleted, or swapped for alternative promises depending on future circumstances.

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