5 Jul 2013

Classic Class War Bloopers

By Alan Austin

Who wages a better class war, the ALP or the Libs? And what happens when your team's class warriors go off message? Quizmaster Alan Austin tests your smarts on the latest political spin

1. Unemployment figures for May are now available for most nations around the world.

How many of these 10 robust, developed, well managed economies had a welcome drop in the jobless numbers during May?

Australia, Finland, France, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the USA.

(a) all 10
(b) five – only half
(c) two
(d) just the one

2. The only politician to resign from Federal Parliament following allegations of criminal conduct during this current term was:

(a) from the Liberal Party
(b) from Labor
(c) an independent
(d) none of the above. Didn’t happen. It was all media hype.

3. How many non-citizens found working illegally in Australia in 2011-12 have since left the country or been deported?

(a) none
(b) 15
(c) 154
(d) 1540

4. During the infamous Pink Batts Disaster Mess Shambles Catastrophe Debacle of 2009-10, did the rate of house fires, injuries and deaths:

(a) rise to four times the rate in the insulation industry during the Howard years
(b) stay at the same rate as during the Howard years
(c) drop to one quarter of the rate during the Howard years
(d) who cares as long as Peter Garrett copped the blame?

And for a bonus point, which organisation actually researched this?

5. The Liberal Party launched its national broadband policy in April.

Part one. At the launch Tony Abbott said he expects Malcolm Turnbull will now be known as:

(a) one of Australia’s most proficient Ministers for Post and Telegraph
(b) the authority on internet connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region
(c) Mr Broadband
(d) the Internet Wizard of Oz

Part two. At the launch, Turnbull announced that his scheme has three great advantages over the Labor Government’s. Liberal Party broadband will be here “sooner, cheaper and …

(a) more quickly
(b) less slowly
(c) more affordably
(d) less expensively

6. Which former federal party leader recently took this thinly disguised swipe at former prime minister John Howard and current Opposition leader Tony Abbott?

“It has never been easier to get away with telling lies. It has never been easier to get away with the glib one liner. Broadcasters or politicians or writers who think that they are respecting struggle street, the battlers, by dumbing things down into one-line soundbites are not respecting them, they are treating them with contempt.”

(a) Mark Latham
(b) Simon Crean
(c) Malcolm Turnbull
(d) Julia Gillard

7. The Labor Government has recently been accused of "class warfare" over which of these initiatives:

(a) the schoolkids’ bonus
(b) the Gonski Report
(c) reducing the cost of the private health insurance rebate
(d) Wayne Swan criticising mining magnates attacking the government
(e) the mining super profits tax
(f) asking publicly funded private schools to reveal financial details
(g) the Fair Work Act
(h) mentioning that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott came from north of the harbour in Sydney
(i) attempts to close the rorted Medicare chronic disease dental scheme
(j) the proposal for people earning more than $100,000 per year from retirement savings to pay 15 per cent marginal tax
(k) all of the above

Bonus point: One of these was also described as “civil war” by a business journalist. Which one?

8. According to academic Nicholas Reece in the Canberra Times, which of the following Coalition policies redistributes wealth from the poor to the rich?

(a) Lowering the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $6000, forcing more than one million low income earners to pay income tax again.
(b) Abolishing the low-income superannuation contribution. This reimposes a 15 per cent tax on contributions for those earning less than $37,000.
(c) Abolishing the proposed 15 per cent tax on income from superannuation above $100,000 a year. The combined effect of these two changes is that those with superannuation savings above $2 million get a tax cut while 3.6 million low-income workers will cop a substantial tax increase.
(d) The paid parental leave scheme which replaces a mother's salary up to $150,000. This means low-income mums get about $600 per week while high-income mums get about $3000.
(e) All of the above.
(f) None of the above. No political party could possibly attempt such savage class warfare.

9. Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are measured quarterly by the Carbon Emissions Index – CEDEX – published by energy consultants Pitt & Sherry.

Which of the following findings appears in the latest report:

(a) Total emissions rose marginally and, for the year ended March 2013, were only 1.7 million tonnes higher than for the year ended December 2012 and only 2.1 million tonnes higher than in the previous year, to March 2012.
(b) Total emissions remained much the same as for the year ended March 2013, at just 0.7 million tonnes lower than they were in the year ended December 2012 and precisely the same as for the previous year.
(c) Total emissions dropped marginally and, for the year ended March 2013, were 1.7 million tonnes lower than they were in the year ended December 2012 and nearly 3 million tonnes lower than in the previous year.
(d) Total emissions continued to fall and, for the year ended March 2013, were 2.7 million tonnes lower than they were in the year ended December 2012 and nearly 9 million tonnes lower than in the previous year.

10. According to the Liberal party website:

“From 1996 to 2007, the Howard and Costello Government … restored Australia’s AAA credit rating and delivered more jobs. During this time Australia experienced the lowest unemployment rates in 33 years and lower inflation, lower interest rates, a lower tax burden. Australian's benefited also from higher wages, more productive workplaces, higher pensions and better living standards.”

How many false or misleading statements are contained in these two sentences?

(a) none
(b) two
(c) five
(d) nine

11. Which of these comments is a direct quote from former Liberal Party leader and prime minister Malcolm Fraser?

(a) I think the whole Liberal Party is very much on the extreme right.
(b) Electing Tony Abbott Liberal leader was an extraordinary occurrence. And I believe that rather than being on the emissions trading scheme, it was because Malcolm Turnbull was showing some significant signs of being a liberal and they didn’t want a liberal in charge of the Liberal party. They wanted a conservative in charge of the Liberal party.
(c) I think Tony Abbott would do what he felt he needed to do to get into power or have power.
(d) Labor and Liberal are competing at the bottom of the barrel on refugees … They have lost sight of principle in relation to foreign policy.
(e) Tony Abbott is unpredictable. He says what jumps into his mind. Let me give an example. When farmers were complaining about miners searching for coal or for gas on farms, he spoke almost as though he did not understand that under British law, Australian law, the Crown owns the minerals and the wealth under the ground.
(f) all of the above.

12. One of these propositions about Australia is false. Which one?

(a) Australia is the only country in the OECD (34 wealthy, free-enterprise democracies) which enforces compulsory voting at elections.
(b) 72 per cent of Australia's population lives in just 12 cities.
(c) Of the richest 50 nations in the world, only Australia and Oman averted recession during the global financial crisis (2009-2011).
(d) Australian soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had the lowest rate of saluting superior officers of all allied forces.
(e) Australia has vast mining operations. But a higher proportion of the Australian land mass is occupied by pubs than by mines.


1. (d) just the one. Australia.
2. (a) South Australian Liberal senator Mary-Jo Fisher resigned from Parliament in June 2012 after being reported by police for shoplifting for the second time.
3. (d) 1540. 77 per cent of about 2000.
4. (c) dropped to one quarter of the rate. Detailed analysis here at Crikey. CSIRO link here.
5. Part one. (c) Mr Broadband. Part two. (c) more affordably. I am not making this up.
6. (c) Malcolm Turnbull. From an entertaining speech at Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland in December. Bob Hawke was in the audience. Here's the intriguing thing: Malcolm Turnbull has on his website every speech he has ever made, every interview he has ever done, every media release he has ever issued and every opinion piece he has written . Hundreds of them. Except this one.
7. (k) all of the above. Bonus point: business journalist Stephen Bartholomeusz described the mining super profits tax as “civil war”. Thanks to Crikey.
8. (e) All of the above. Note: Reece has previously worked as adviser to Labor premiers and a prime minister.
9. (d) substantial reductions. The Pitt & Sherry report is here.
10. (d) nine – on the AAA credit rating, unemployment, inflation, interest rates, the tax burden, wages, productivity, pensions and living standards. Data here, and here, and elsewhere on request.
11. (f) all of the above. Refer here and here.
12. (d) I just made that up. The others are all true.

Disputes welcome and correspondence will be entered into.

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Dr Dog
Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 - 16:07

For the conservative Coalition, to ruin a perfectly good quote, politics is the continuation of class war by other means.

The Coalition are experts of accusing others of their own sins. When Hockey accuses someone of fudging the figures it is because he is. When Abbott says Gillard is a liar you can be sure he is in the midst of promulgating some porkies of his own. If Christopher Pyne is concerned about conspiracy you can be certain that he is attempting to turn attention away from his own Machiavellian scheming.

Similarly shrill protestations about class warfare take attention away from the Colaition's many plans to smash the poor. In fact their class warfare policies are so ubuquitous that voting Australians have come to accept them as the status quo and no recognise them for what they are - a vicious attack on the poor and disadvantaged.

I have to admit that I welcome clas warfare. It is in my nature to hate the rich, to despise someone just for going to a private school or enjoying waterfront living on land that should be shared. I retain my collection of Mercedes badges that used to decorate my jacket.

I think the fiction that we are all equal suits those with all the cash. Stick 'em against the wall I say and bring the revolution.

Posted Friday, July 5, 2013 - 18:34

I simply do not understand how politicians can justify making life even harder for people who are already disadvantaged...my gut says it's some sort of defect of their social psychology, but that this defect is one that is admired and cultivated by those richest classes who believe the sun shines out of their backsides and that their shit don't stink...and I don't understand why MORE people are not up in arms about the whole thing, except that they feel some injustice at vulnerable people being helped...because it is some sort of modern day crime if you cannot "help yourself" (usually interpreted as "refuses to help yourself" by white, educated, upperclass groups...and therefore justifies these people's pathological lack of empathy and social responsibility or accountability).

Posted Saturday, July 6, 2013 - 06:12


help is one of those words like LOVE and COMPETITION thats used to suit some person ambitious needs, but rarely ever means what it means.


Its like entitlement, your allowed to feel entitled while you have a relative still alive who fought for those who allow/allowed you your feeling of entitlement, until they feel it becomes a cost on their profitability.


If you watched , The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of The World by Niall Ferguson you should now understand what war, insurance and Government Bonds have to do with anything. The Insurance mentality turned into wellfare and then profit for individuals, so that alone should explain why we are where we are. 

Naturaly I did not agree with everything Niall Ferguson said especialy when we went from ancient to more modern times. His talk on Chile as opposed to pre video and GFC and Post video and GFC. If he had known before making video what he should know now. His comments about Chile's wonderful economic transformation would most certainly have been different.


Known known and known unknowns is a human problem.



Peter Murphy
Posted Sunday, July 7, 2013 - 13:42

(e) Australia has vast mining operations. But a higher proportion of the Australian land mass is occupied by pubs than by mines.

I knew some of the bottleshops in Australia were massive, but not that massive. Any sources for that fact?