Clearly if the oligarchs believe ratcheting hacks into preselection battles will actually win them seats and thus somehow cling to party power then that is plain wrong. Any reasonable person can see through this charade, and party members in NSW will not live with it or work with it.
There exists within the ALP a “democracy spring”. It’s happening in Victoria, NSW and Queensland — and will move on throughout Australia. Local members are achieving democratic control — there are some thousand-plus members already involved. Social media works. This process will work — it will bring the ALP back to its membership; wise oligarchs are already changing their clothes.
People now know being in control of an empty shell is lonely indeed. The alternative of course is to start a new centrist party (social democrats), and that could be very close already!
Jawboning on emissions reduction
Paul Hampton-Smith writes: Re. “Direct Inaction: nothing much green in Hunt’s white paper” (Monday). Could it be that Australia is on track to reduce its emissions sufficiently due to normal economic pressure, and a “Direct Inaction” approach from the government to reducing carbon may be all that is needed?
Bernard Keane talks about the “de facto carbon price imposed on consumers and businesses by the gouging of electricity companies”. Recall that only a year or so ago, much was made of the fact that the bulk of electricity price increases was not due to the carbon price. The increases are certainly having the desired, if accidental, price-signal effect, proportionately greater than the carbon price. I work for a large corporation with substantial power requirements that has for some time been ramping up its efforts to reduce energy consumption. We don’t even bother to call it carbon reduction — the business cases simply come in with a very positive ROI. And I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, with an outlay of $500, to halve my domestic power consumption over the last year.
We don’t do enough to fight corruption
John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: NSW must ban political donations” (yesterday). While Crikey might think that Premier Mike Baird’s proposal to fund political campaigns with public funds will somehow magically do away with corruption, that is to believe that building a gate without a fence will stop your cattle from wandering away.
The sad but inescapable fact is that there will always be those who will want to try to buy influence, as well as those who are willing to peddle it. Public funding of political campaigns will do nothing to alter that fact.
Mike Baird’s proposal is nothing more than fluff, designed to give the appearance that something is being done to address the problem of corruption when, in reality, nothing is being done. At the same time, that political parties would benefit enormously from such an obviously useless proposal is surely a clear indication of the level of contempt in which the electorate is held by our crooked politicians.
If our politicians were serious about stamping out corruption, they would be dramatically increasing ICAC’s funding and strengthening its capabilities (as it is at present, ICAC only investigate 5% of the matters referred to it each year, so it doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to work out how much corruption remains undetected).
Apart from increasing the powers of ICAC, the only other thing that would encourage an end to corruption is to lock the bastards up, which somehow never seems to happen … which says it all, really.