False Alarm

Lots of denials being issued.  The SMH isn’t really backing down, but they’ve gone quiet.  Problem is, there are always denials on these things, it’s a matter of form to do so.  But those on the politics live blog from the SMH look to me like the kind of statements you’d find hard to back away from within 24 hours.  So…..go back to your nap, I reckon nothing’s happening today.


SMH is pushing for Gillard to go

Two significant articles in the SMH this morning.

Peter Hartcher earlier today was saying that Carr and Butler are dropping support for Gillard, and then again later this morning (but still before 8am) a longer article with more details.

He’s still tiptoed along the line – he hasn’t called it a spill, but he has called it a loss of confidence.  So if a coup went in the next few days he’d clearly say he tipped it first.  If it doesn’t happen, he hasn’t come right out and said that one is on.

His general theme is that the Nielsen poll was bad, and Labor has been behind in 27 out of 27 Nielsen polls since the election, which I think I heard someone say is unprecedented even for an opposition let alone a government.  There is no plan to get back in front other than waiting, and “it’s hard for her caucus to feel lucky with regular displays of political misjudgment by Gillard and her closest allies.”  So Swan ran the budget into deficit and Conroy’s media regulations are a mess.

The story looks to be that the media regulations are going to fail, Gillard apparently rammed them through caucus and upset people in doing so (first I’ve heard of this, maybe I missed it, but maybe it’s historical revisionism).  It feels like momentum may be building that these media reforms are the trigger – a failure on these is enough to say it’s time for a change.  I also heard yesterday on the radio (ABC radio, interview with the AFR’s political editor) that Rudd has been putting it about that it’s now or never – he thinks that June is too late for him to make an impact, so if they want him they need to move.  As the editor said, he’d take it in a flash in June as well, but it’s a fair point – you couldn’t win from a standing start in June.

We also see the final quote “Though Ms Gillard’s support in the caucus has not been canvassed seriously since the Rudd challenge 13 months ago, it is now doubtful that she enjoys the confidence of the majority.”  As I’ve noted before, it’s not about whether she enjoys the confidence of the majority, it’s about whether any other candidate has higher confidence.  I’m not sure Rudd yet has the numbers, plenty of people don’t want to keep Gillard, but not all that many want to go back to Rudd.

What does all this mean?  I’d say that the odds just shortened on a spill in the next couple of days, but I still reckon it’s less than 50% chance of happening.  We’ll see during the day.  Carr is apparently overseas, it’d be hard to call a challenge with him out of the country.


Solar hydronic heating

So, I’ve been wondering for a while about whether you can mostly heat your house with a (large) solar hot water system, plus a good sized storage tank to bridge you through cold periods, plus a hydronic (under floor or radiator) system.

I’ve been researching some more today, and probably am not a lot closer to knowing.  But what I have learned today I’ll include here, over time I’m going to post some more on this as I form more coherent ideas.

Continue reading

The Australian without registration

I note that I often link to the Australian.  Yes, I know that their journalism standards have dropped in recent years, and that any time I read an article on something that I have deep knowledge of it is clear that 80% of it is blatantly wrong and that the analysis is missing the point.  But perhaps that’s because I know a lot about IT and in general IT reporting is about publishing media releases and hatchet jobs on various projects that aren’t going as well as they could have (and what project does?).  And ultimately The Australian is the bastion of the right in Australian media, the Fairfax press don’t have materially better journalism and lean heavily to the left.

Having said that, The Australian has a paywall.  And that can make it hard for people to view articles I link to.  This is a short tip on how to get to those articles without registering.

First, go to the article through the link.  This will give you an abbreviated version of the article – usually the first two paragraphs.  Copy one entire sentence from that abbreviated summary, then go to your google search bar and put that search criteria in within quotes.  For example, I’d search for:

“THE numbers inside Labor’s federal partyroom are now such that Julia Gillard couldn’t call a spill to end leadership speculation even if she wanted to.”

Then click on the first result that comes back, which is invariably the Australian, unless it’s an article that they’ve published off a newswire somewhere.  The paywall doesn’t apply to views of articles that start from Google – because The Australian want to continue to have a presence on Google, they have to allow free logon from Google.

Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle, and if you read a lot of The Australian it’s easier to just buy a subscription – it’s not that much money.  But if you read only intermittently, or you’re in that lefty camp where you declare “I’ll never give those bastards any of my money” but you actually want to look at what they’re writing once in a while, this works.

Gillard potentially doesn’t have the numbers?

Peter Van Olssen in the Australian reporting today that Gillard doesn’t have the numbers and that Rudd probably would have (by a narrow margin) if a spill was called.  Not that there will be a spill – someone has to call it and Rudd has declared he wouldn’t.  And it isn’t clear to me that Gillard not having a majority would mean that anyone else has a majority – some want Rudd, and some want someone other than Rudd or Gillard.  Things are still too quiet – whilst there’s rumbling it doesn’t have the feel of a coup yet.  I think it’s out there, but waiting for some piece of bad news or sustained bad polling.  I’d guess after the budget if anyone was going to make a move, but if the right opportunity comes along earlier I’m sure it’d be taken.

My understanding is that it’s hard to mount a challenge when parliament isn’t sitting – too hard to get everyone together to plot.  And this upcoming week is the last sitting week before the budget.  There isn’t a NewsPoll due this week.  So that would align with the theory that after the budget is the next major opportunity.

Peter thinks different – he’s spruiking that people want movement next week.  My feel is that he’s a bit of a lefty, and is politically savvy enough to see that Gillard can’t win.  He’s spruiking this because it’s what he thinks they need as much as because he thinks it’s actually going to happen – and if you read between the lines in his article he’s more saying that it needs to happen than that he has any information that it will actually happen.  Again, the media as part of the process rather than as a reporter of that process.

Interestingly, Peter raises the prospect that a Rudd that isn’t installed now is a threat after the election.  Basically putting the position to the likes of Shorten, who doesn’t want the top job now but wants it later, that if he doesn’t support Rudd now, then that means Rudd may get the job after the election.  Which would put paid to Shorten’s chances.  So the logic would presumably be to install Rudd now, let him take the fall for the election loss, then make your move in your own time.  Personally, I’d let Gillard go to a loss, then let Rudd have a turn at a loss, then make my move.  It’s unlikely that Labor can get back up after one election (if they don’t win this one), so there’s at least one interim opposition leader.  I’d let someone else take that one, then have a go.


457 own goal?

Apparently the 457 visa push is rating well for Gillard, and is popular.  But when the employment figures come out and are better than expected, is it hard for the government to play them up when at the same time they’re running an argument about foreigners taking Australian jobs?  And how is the 457 argument tenable at all when Labor have been increasing the use of the scheme for the last 6 years?  I think that this particular set of talking points will lose it’s potency and potentially become a liability before the election.

And I do agree with the question as to why Gillard has a foreigner press secretary.  Surely that’s something that could be done by an Australian.

SMH: Labor clearly need to change leader

Peter Harcher today seems to be arguing that it is almost inevitable that Labor will change leader to Rudd, and that it’s only inertia and Rudd’s agreement not to challenge that’s holding them back.  No doubt speculation like this will eventually create its own reality and the Labor party will follow it.  They will then be awfully surprised when those polls turn out to have been wrong, and people actually don’t really like Rudd once he’s again in the public spotlight.

With my right-wing hat on I’m not sure whether it would be good or bad for Labor to change leader.  On the one hand, Abbott appears to have Gillard beaten, so no change is a good thing.  On the other hand, I would figure that a Labor party that changes leader yet again will look feckless and incompetent.  And I think the media will be much less forgiving of Rudd’s old tendencies this time round.  I can’t really imagine him being as popular as the polls say, and the leadership change would further damage brand Labor.

Really what I’d like to see is some policies to discuss.  But the budget comes first.