Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Politics resumes...and this time Mr Abbott made it to Church!

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen, Canberra Times blog.

Our notoriously religious shy PM (his family ditched going to Mass long ago and he himself apparently struggles to get to Mass himself on any kind of regular basis), and the Leader of the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten (also the product of a Jesuit education) both managed to make the Parliamentary Commencement Service at St Christopher's Cathedral today.

Well it's a good start at any rate.

Personally I'm looking forward to some actual reporting of what is going on in our country (and preferably some critical appraisal) from our media.  Mr Abbott can stop his MPs from talking to the media or sharing actual information, but he can't easily stop Question Time.  And as Michelle Grattan has pointed out, secrecy becomes foolish when we then get the news via the Jakarta Times!


Joshua said...

You'd think you didn't like the man.

I am getting a bit sick of your animus against our new PM.

Joshua said...

I wonder why former PM Keating - a Catholic, I am told; I am not au fait with the degree to which he practises said Faith, but I seem to recall the answer is "no very" - is lauded to the skies, and yet the current PM - also a Catholic, and arguably slightly more practising than Keating - seems to cop a lambasting every time his name arises on this blog. Again, while obviously one would prefer a person with a thoroughgoing commitment to Catholicism, I think Abbott is preferable to atheist Gillard and apostate Rudd in a putative ranking of religious commitment.

Kate Edwards said...

Oh dear Joshua. First, please stop with the ad hominems. My blog, my opinions!

Secondly, are you really suggesting that Catholics should vote or base their support for pollies on how Catholic or otherwise we perceive them to be? Talk about making windows into mens souls!

I for one have no way of knowing whether Mr Keating goes to Mass any more regularly than Mr Abbott or not, or is 'more Catholic' than him on any other criteria one can construct.

Rather we have to judge them on what they say and do.

Personally, listening to the Keating interview on the ABC last night was a treat, a reminder of just why he was such a great Prime Minister and a role model for Catholics in the public square.

Here was a politician talking about the importance of seeking the true, good and the beautiful! About seeking perfection in public policy. About valuing the advice of elders.

That is true Catholicism at work.

Joshua said...

Dear Kate,

Of course I respect your esteemed blog; and I am amused from time to time by your political opinions - no offence intended or taken.

I had assumed, however, from your comments that you yourself were asserting that "Catholics should vote or base their support for pollies on how Catholic or otherwise we perceive them to be" - that is what I was reacting against.

I daresay you may see why I perceived your various statements as tending that way. I also felt a double standard was being applied: Abbott, as a Catholic, was being held to a higher standard than that applied to Gillard and Rudd. I suppose, however, that of those to whom more is given, more can be expected, as Our Lord mentioned...

I also wonder why you now say "I for one have no way of knowing whether Mr Keating goes to Mass any more regularly than Mr Abbott or not, or is 'more Catholic' than him on any other criteria one can construct" - given that you have been making unappreciative comments about Abbott missing Mass: it may simply be, as we only have his word for it, that in humility (no, don't laugh) he admitted candidly to missing Mass owing to his heavy schedule. I think you were reading his remarks in less than the best possible light - yet we should always put the most charitable interpretation upon the remarks of men. (He was speaking of his own life qua Catholic rather than as a politician.)

As for "what they say and do", I, and a majority of Australians, voted as we judged Abbott vis a vis the current competition (Mr Keating, sadly, having long ago retired from politics), and have promoted him to be the Queen's First Minister. I am not alone in being quite in favour of repealing useless and questionable taxes, and repelling economic migrants masquerading as deserving refugees, not to mention reducing the public service (a term in origin a euphemism for "convict"), and much else in the way of government expenditure, to reduce as much as possible the public sector as a percentage of GDP, so as to desocialize the economy and open it up for private enterprise to flourish.

That said, I firmly agree with your praise of Keating's verbal skills and general worthiness - would that today's pygmies measured up to yesterday's giants. And his other comments I also firmly endorse.

I hope you feel no upset at my somewhat intemperate comments!

Kate Edwards said...

My problem with Mr Abbott in the lead up to the election was that his comments seemed intended to explicitly give witness counter to the faith. Rather than suggesting humility, the Mass attendance comments seemed part of a very deliberate campaign to say I'm not really 'Captain Catholic', and indeed would not act in accordance with his faith!

And then some people had the nerve to write a spate of articles pushed in the US conservative press and elsewhere claiming that he got elected because of his Catholicism and attachment to pro life policies!

Notwithstanding that, given the choice between Abbott and KRudd, my views aligned with the judgment of most Australians.

However, his early moves really make me wonder if that was the right judgment, particularly on the question of general competence.

Fortunately the choice is no longer Abbott vs KRudd, but Abbott vs the new Opposition leader.

Kate Edwards said...

PS Your insults on the public service seem to me little more than knee-jerk, populist reactionaryism.

The public service delivers necessary services to the public, helps ensure Governments get good advice, and that what Governments want to happen does. Cutting those areas that the new Government doesn't want to continue with (such as the Climate Change Department) is one thing; across the board cuts without any basis in an assessment in how many people are genuinely needed to do the job is quite another.

The reality is that Australia already has a very lean and low cost public service by world standards:


In reality what is needed is not slashing of the troops, but better attempts to retain expertise and slashing of the number of and salaries of senior executives that have gotten way out of kilter thanks to politician self-interest (via Remuneration Commission parity arrangements) and dubious private sector parity arguments.

Personally I was a public servant for twenty years and am proud of some of the policies I helped develop, helped make happen, or prevented from happening. Indeed, I like to think I've helped save many lives through the work I did leading the team in the Canadian Dept of Health that implemented those gory health warning messages on cigarette packs, now adopted by some 64 countries around the world.

Joshua said...

I defer to your knowledge of the public service: I couldn't resist the remark about the origins of the term, since it so amuses me. My sister (a nurse) would agree that it's the number of senior executives that is the real drain, not the hard-worked people "at the coal face".