Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hockey One

Originally Posted 1st August 2013

When did Joe Hockey change from the avuncular bloke from the Liberal Party into Joe Hockey, master meanie, ham-fisted politician, crazy man? Was it about the time that he realised he’d never be Prime Minister? Or was it when the reality of serving alongside Tony Abbott sunk in? Whenever it was, it was one of those insidious things that happens while your head is turned.

And here we are, with the man who thinks he will be federal treasurer, criticising the proposed increase in tobacco excise because he believes it’s been proposed to financial gain, not to benefit the health of the nation.

Honestly Joe, who cares? Increase the tobacco excise and hit two targets with the same shot. Doesn’t that sound like good policy? Joe even mentioned that the increased cost of smokes would hurt the cost of living for low income Aussies addicted to smokes. That didn’t seem to be an issue during the Howard years, when the cost of living was increasing and the pension failed to keep pace.

If I was as cynical as Joe, I’d suggest that all this blustering this morning is more about protecting the Liberal Party’s close relationship with Big Tobacco, who contributes an obscene amount of money to the Liberal Party. If I was cynical…

I still think that Joe Hockey is basically a good guy, but the angst of being in opposition, the torture of sitting opposite a female Prime Minister, the persistent smell of failure of being on the lesser side of a hung parliament has left such a bitter taste in the mouths of Liberals that even cheerful Joe was not immune.

Now it’s all snide little digs here and bitchy retweets there…and when there are no easy targets, he fabricates. There’s this, for example, from earlier this week.

@JoeHockey: Seriously a delay on the election timing is a joke. Aussies are fed up with the games from Labor on election date.
Australians are used to having about 5-6 weeks’ notice prior to an election. When Ms Gillard announced the election date eight months before the date, it was a new precedent. Aussies aren’t fed up; this is nothing more than a continuation of the Liberal catch-cry we’ve been hearing since September 2010. We get it; the Coalition wants an election now. But Joe Hockey can sit back down again; the Prime Minister calls the election, the Opposition doesn’t. And he knows that. He was just being vicious.

That wasn’t the only questionable tweet from Joe Hockey in the past this week. There was also this gem:

@JoeHockey: Another pro-ALP Politifact report – it’s just co-incidence! But too hard for Politifact to check #krudd claim of $380pa benefit of ETS!

Let’s take the first part of this tweet. Clearly Mr Hockey feels that there is a pro-ALP bias to Politifact Australia’s fact-checking results. That’s pretty standard response from right wing trolls, but I expected better from Mr Hockey.

Unless, of course, there is a left wing partiality that is skewing Politifact Australia’s interpretation of facts. On checking all of the rulings handed down by Politifact Australia since they started their operation in Australia, I found this.

Both the ALP and the Coalition have been fact-checked in excess of thirty times each, and both show a disturbing distribution which ranges from True all the way to False, and in one case, Pants on Fire. The chart below displays the rulings – lots of green is good; lots of orange is not good. Both major parties are showing a lot of both.

Just a quick visual check here indicates no bias towards the ALP that I can see. Can Joe Hockey see something that I can't - or is he just making it up?

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