I, Craig

It seems wrong of the Prime Minister to have delivered power over the nation to Craig Thomson, but she may know what she’s doing.

The ignorant may think she could have put Wilkie’s legislation to the House unamended, lost the vote and said ‘we did what we could’ and ‘every Labor member voted for this bill’, and ‘we really did all we could’ and kept his friendship, and stayed in government; but she may know what she’s doing.

So it’s Craig’s call now. He has the casting vote. No doubt he will want his preselection back, and she will give it to him. And she may know what she’s doing. She may have a cunning plan.

But I need to be convinced.

A further thought came to my wife a few minutes ago. It was this. Is Slipper a sleeper? Will he go back to the Liberals now in return for a Ministry he could be in by March? Was this his plan all along?

Is this, at last, the Abbott Sting, when it looked like he’d lost the game entirely?

Is Slipper a sleeper?

And is Abbott really, really smart?

We will know, very soon.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Ellis, did you ever hear that Garrison Keillor monologue in which he told the story (almost true, I believe) of the summer he spent doing the midnight to dawn session on the college radio station? He imagined he was speaking to one particular girl who loved Bach so he played Bach several times a night (something I approve of) hoping that at the end of the summer she would appear at the studio window and say “I’ve been listening to you all summer…”
    Instead it was the engineer, waving to explain that the transmitter had broken down in June and that he had been talking to himself.
    Do you ever wonder about that?
    Sure, you can check the daily visits to your page though if you did deeper you will see that a large percentage are search engines and bots.
    Perhaps Ben and I are the only real people who read your stuff?
    We are these days the only ones who comment.
    I have long enjoyed reading your books - The Things We Did Last Summer is still my favourite - but you are not helping your reputation or satisfying those of us who enjoy reading you and are willing to spend money buying your books by writing this stuff.
    Self indulgent and, well, nasty I say.
    You are capable of much much better Ellis.

    • No, I get an average of 780 to 820 hits a day, I got 1120 a week ago and 3978 a month ago. Your letter seems mischievous, and I doubt if you have read one book of mine, or even one chapter.

      Your letter is too well written not to be suspicious, and its purpose, to stop me from writing, plus your previous interventions, makes me think you a Liberal staffer.

      What pieces on this website upset you? Name one. Show your colours.

      Do it now.

      • Dodgy - especially the last paragraph. I must have seen that last paragraph a thousand times.

        I’m at a loss to understand what is going on re Gillard. Maybe she’s trying to send a message out to and bond with the marginals. Maybe she’s doing an Abbott. But surely you’d have to throw Wilkie a bone. What’s wrong with having a maximum prize limit? Just something, anything. It’s like she’s learnt nothing from “Hollow Men”. Or maybe when viewed up close the prospect comes to resemble the computer generated wave in “The Perfect Storm”.

        But you can’t cave into the clubs now, they’re such A-holes.

    • What makes you think you are real? You are probably a bot or some such internet monster of the Id.

      As for the hits, we may suppose that only some readers feel motivated to leave a comment, and those who do hit back to see whether a response/comment is addressed to them. I’ve looked at Pobjie’s Objects blog over a few weeks and the comments are glacial; a pity really but there you go. Jennifer Wilson, on the other hand, has been inundated over at ‘noplaceforsheep’ since Tankard-Reist threatened her with defamation proceedings.

      It all makes one wonder . . .

  2. Greetings Mr Ellis,
    Nat Bromhead here, of Bruce Bromhead, of Mackerel Beach.
    I’m a newspaper journo in Mackay, North Queensland, and treat my collection of your books like gold.
    When can we expect another ?
    Best regards
    PS Regards to Wayne and Kieren, how I miss their coffee and burgers.

  3. Hang on Bushturkey I’m Ben as well! :oops:
    All these multiple personalities and there’s only two of us reading Bob’s blog? Gimme me a break! I must be wasting my time!
    I thought all the comments were similar…
    Maybe there is just one of us and we all live in Bobs head?
    Bob are you me? Being Bob Ellis. There’s a movie plot.
    Please tell me your not as I am beginning to have a fantasy about Tony Abbott turning back the boats. :mrgreen:

  4. I think that whatever the flaws of Comrade Ellis, this blog has been revelatory. The interesting old material, the rate of new material, the film reviews…

    It’s ultimately all a matter of taste.

    I don’t think, though, there was nothing nasty about the last blog. Legitimate speculation after an interesting Saturday in politics.

  5. Very funny, Bob. As if Wilkie has anywhere to go?

    Abbott is back from whichever rock he was under, still spouting his Big Lie - that “this is an incompetent government” please hold an election and give me power now.

    Repeat the Big Lie often enough and people might believe it.

    As for the polls - Rupert manipulates everything else, why not the polls? Tell people often enough that the government is hopelessly behind and hopeless, they might believe that, too.

  6. She has a plan. She always has a plan.

    That is not to say her plans always work or are even particularly evident.

    She is adept at Canberra-related conspiracies, as this one is, for she is at ease, is confident and is familiar in that territory. Think of the carbon tax passage and of her retention of government in 2010.

    Planning beyond Canberra — deliberations with East Timor and with Malaysia, for example — bring about situations in which she is not at ease, not familiar and not confident. Planning was probably there and even, perhaps, hypothetical responses to hypothetical obstacles. But she is out of her depth — totally — if she isn’t dealing with ego-driven fellow Australian politicians.

    So, yes. She has a plan.

    • Yes, Nephew, but the signs are ominous, as both Margaret and The Iron Lady show. After Howe momentously resigned and Heseltine momentously challenged and Thatcher momentously won the ballot but with insufficient numbers — narrowly — to avert a second ballot, and her support quickly crumbled, she was visibly finished. This was over her Poll Tax, you remember, which she said ‘will be very popular.’

      In Gillard’s case, she has seen the ‘resignation’ of both Wilkie and Brown in a week, over undertakings she has gone back on which were the basis of her narrow majority, relating to trees and problem gambling, by men who found she could not be trusted, and Rudd like Heseltine waiting to strike.

      She saw the film and did not note the similarities.

    • Well said comrade, well said.

  7. We will see.

    I ask Bush Turkey to say what piece of mine was ‘nasty’ and why he finds it so, and why he wants me to stop writing, and who, roughly, he is, and whom he works for.

    And which of my books he prefers and which is his favourite paragraph.

    I suspect he is lying but you never know.

    He may really have my interests at heart.

  8. Ellis, thank you for the compliment about my writing. I did once write something for Nation but otherwise I am unpublished.
    Taking one of your books from my shelf - I have most of them I think - Goodbye Jerusalem page 212 begins “A tiny scarlet light moves over Pittwater…”
    Congratulations on the hits. Have you checked how many are bots? Perhaps half or more, I suspect.
    I am not nor have I ever been involved in politics or government on either side.
    OK, having corrected the errors in your comment..
    Your posts do not upset me. Some bother me. Your stuff on the Williamsons (who I have never met) and Henderson.
    And your poorly thought ramblings.
    Your books are much better than these, I suspect because you need an editor. Most good writers do.
    My aim is not to stop your posts but to improve them. As I said, you are better than this.
    My colours? Abbott’s “turn back the boats…” speech was stupid. He is capable of stupid, which is a concern.

  9. Thank you, it is good to be made welcome.
    I am, I believe, a year and a bit older than you.

    Returning to your original questions, I think that it is a safe bet that Labor and probably Gillard will see out a normal ter.
    She has called Wilkie’s bluff. He won’t take down the government. He is not a strong man and poker machines are not an issues he deeply cares about, I am told. He was sold it by Xenephon who does care about it.
    It still seems to me to be a third or fourth order issue and not worth the energy it has consumed recently.
    I don’t know about Thomson. If he is charged must he resign or only on conviction? And if he goes and the Libs win the bye election, hasn’t the ALP still got a vote up it’s sleeve, assuming Wilkie does not cross?
    I cannot imagine Slipper slipping. Nor Abbott offering anything to get him to do so. Possible but unlikely.
    So my guess is that we will have the usual muddle through politics for a while yet.

    • Watch out for Oakeshott. It’s very dicey.

      Why would Thomson stay with Labor, his co-assassins?

      Why would Bandt stay with them? They have betrayed his leader and killed the last of the Tasmanian forest.

      Why would he ? Why would he not abstain?

      I refer you to the last Labor government that broke an undertaking it had made to Bob Brown, one relating to trees, in Tasmania in 1991, and what became of it.

      Where are they now?

  10. This is no Abbott Sting.
    This is Bob Ellis,once again, granting the Aphony some gravitas.
    From what source, Bob, does the Abbott intellect and imagination spring?
    Name it.
    Locate it.
    Give us examples of it.

    If you cannot……then stop this unflattering display.
    It serves only to embarrass.

    • Read his book. It is very fine.

      Read the first two pages.

      • Bob, do I strike you as one seduced by pulp rhetoric?!?!

        I ask you seriously - and I shall call your bluff - in those first two pages you cite find for me, find for us all, a notation worthy of your blandishments…..better yet, worthy of our consideration.

        The gauntlet is before you.

        Pick it up.

        • ‘At nineteen, we were deeply in love. There was one problem, though. A part if me said I should join the priesthood. So our romance was on-again, off-again and in the weeks when we were an item rather than ‘just friends’ we played what used to be called Vatican roulette.

          ‘One day, she tearfully announced that she was pregnant. For us, an abortion was out of the question. At first, we were going to be married. Then I got cold feet. I was too young and, frankly, too confused for tgat responsibility. She didn’t think she could bring up a child on her own so decided that the baby should be adopted. I had let her down, so badly, so after the birth we went our separate ways. Still, we’d remained friends, stayed in contact and often wondered what would happen if our baby made contact. My reaction, I always felt sure, would be to “dissolve into unmanly tears”.’

          Page two follows, and is just as good. In what way do you think it is bad writing, or unworthy of your consideration?

          Tell me now.

          • BobEllis,
            Holy Mother of God!!!!
            I am deeply insulted that you treat the gauntlet with such disrespect. you offer this ….. mawkish, earnest and mundane teenage diary fare as conclusive, as axiomatic, evidence of Abbott’s….of Abbott’s what, EXACTLY????
            his sincerity?
            his intelligence?
            his ability to…..write a sentence?

            (the hour is early and a light rain falls outside my window…….)
            and so find myself disposed to offer you clemency…….and shall spare you the full extent of my disgust.
            But shall not spare you this:
            BobEllis, your value as a man and a writer, a thinker and polemicist, rests on such judgements as this.
            You would do well to heed my counsel and follow a less ruinous path. Let me remind you, in a manner that mirrors your own, that there is no dearer coin than that of honour……and with examples like this you do NOTHING but dishonor yourself and your confederates alike.

            If this Dull prose were penned by anyone, ANYONE, other than a prime ministerial aspirant you would neglect it outright as the banal musings of the artless and pimply variety.

            Once again, you serve on a platter rich succor for the Conservative Buffoons that not only despise us…..but worse still….mock our very attempts at discussion and dialogue, at conversation and intellectual amelioration.

            sometimes Bob it is better to leave the gauntlet on the ground……
            for your judgement in such matters relating to Abbott, it seems, falters……badly.

            By the way, did YOU ever find Aphony’s lost 22 seconds?
            There is THE portal BobEllis!
            Look no further than that interview.

            My cup of tea awaits.

            • It’s an account of a moral struggle, well told. What were you expecting, four syllabled words? You sound stupider and stupider, and I’m disappointed in you.

              Read the book.

              • You are an old pugnacious fool….
                I’m to “consider” Abbott BECAUSE of this “well told” moral struggle?!?!?
                You must be fuking joking!

                Is that the best you have?
                Really….is this claim you make for the man the best YOU have?

                I seek NOT syllables you smitten old fool…I seek meaning and gravitas…I seek clues of sensitivity and sympathy…I seek facility and sagacity.

                I’ve read the book….
                and those qualities are absent.

                I found instead the dull advocacy of an ideology I find loathsome….that he masks it behind some modest comments about his….misjudgements….does little to convince me of his “merits”.

                You, it appears, are a …softer touch.

                Oh, regarding your doubt - “read the book” - Never question my honour again.

              • Ta Doug :lol:
                I STILL wait for BobEllis to tell us EXACTLY why these “well told” struggles are worthy of our solicitous or admiring attentions.

                He will remain silent.
                I’m certain of it.
                Lest he embarrass himself further.

                Tell me Doug, do you see the parallels between Abbott’s “well told moral struggle” and say, Raskolnikov? Or a Captain sending men “over the top” at Passchendaele? Or Bloom in Circe? Or St Augustine in the Confessions? Or Dickens or Shakespeare or Asquith or Salisbury or Truman or Kennedy or Bellow or Flaubert or Woolf or Conrad or Rimbaud or Buber or Brecht or Beckett or Rothko or Kline or Gorky or or…..a policeman or a nurse or an ambulance driver or………………???

                • JG, see my post under the Smith/Stoppard thread.

                  How does SBS promote it - seven billion stories and counting? Well Abbott’s is one of them, just mildly more interesting because he is potenetially a few seats away from being PM.

                  • Doug, you mean Bob thinks all 7 billionare worthy of his approbation, his fawning, his coquetish lingering….?

                    He is a large man, to be sure…but such largesse?!?!

                    I;m still waiting Doug.

                • Does “shit happens” measure up, uttered on a far away battlefield?

                  Abbott is a chameleon, is public face is different to that you would see on his early morning bike ride sojourns. What thoughts must tick over in those hours on the saddle before starting his day?

  11. Abbott blurts and it is called clever.

    Lordy save us from these two appalling trolls.

  12. Having tried to post on another string here, putting in the correct letters and numbers several times, finally copying and pasting and still being rejected, I do wonder what is going on

  13. (The wretched system swallowed a fine post; I will try to rewrite it.)

    Bob’s problem is not psychoanalytical analysis, but his willingness to repeat scandalous and defamatory comments made as throwaway lines.

    It has cost him a small fortune but he still does it. Confirm the sources, Bob, before publication; and then think again.

    To Reader1 : Go for him!

    (PS Doc Evatt was one of my heroes too. He had his faults, but in great men and women the good exceeds the bad by a multiple factor.)

    To JG : Isn’t it fun!

  14. Mr Ellis

    We are about the same age. I am responsible for meny visits here as I enjoy the banter and wit.

    Sometimes you are brilliant, sometimes just clever and yes, sometimes nasty and unfair, but always worth reading.

    When will I be invited to break break and enjoy a malted whisky with you?


  15. To JG : Following on from the ’7 billion stories’, if they were well written or ghost written by, say, Bob Ellis, then they would be worthy of approbation and yes fawning and coquettish lingering . . . especially if they look good in a pair of speedos . . .


  16. Bob, isn’t it likely that Slipper will be deselected by his local Lib branch in favour of Mal Brough? If Slipper ever becomes a minister I’ll run nude down Pitt Street. :wink:

  17. Do not underrate Tony Abbott’s capacity for thinking outside the square. He ran against global warming; and won the leadership.

    He doesn’t need Mal Brough. He needs Peter Slipper.

    • Accidentally, was it not? Turnbull shot himself in the foot and Abbott expected to go out to Hockey in the ballot.

      In case people forget Abbott was a missile aimed at Rudd, and hit its target such that Rudd will never be PM again. Labor’s caucus have better memories than that.

      • I don’t know, Robert Manne’s article in the SMH today got me thinking. Twinings have released Rudd’s competition winning tea blend and I tell you, this tea is extraordinary. Quintessentially Australian tea, strong but also, and this is the surprising part, sweet. English Breakfast tastes like bucket slop next to Kevin’s Australian Afternoon.

        I just don’t know anymore. It might be fun to go back to Kevin for a while. And then go back to Julia again after that. And after that, mix it up with a Bill Shorten or someone. Or maybe Greg Combet, he came across well in the bit of Bastard Boys I saw.

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