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Crikey says: new Senate, old problems

Rundle in the House: Clive upstages his PUPs on day one of the new Senate. Judy Sloan wags a finger at Stiglitz. The plot thickens over Tinkler’s mysterious buyer. WikiLeaks cables show Prabowo’s brutal past. Keane on Palmer’s next move. The offshore carbon credit schemes that don’t add up. Oz’s escalator of decline descends again. And voters heart refoulement? Abbott’s offshore manoeuvres pay off.

Day One of the new Senate showed that the Abbott government can take nothing for granted — and if it displays the customary arrogance which it can safely deploy in the House, then there will scarcely be an Abbott government at all. Clive, the ultimate deal-maker, will call the tune, and the next two years will be a patchwork of compromises.

That will be a source of some relief for those who believed that the election of the microparties and the PUP bloc marked the ascent of a Right-wing insurgency in the Senate. If Palmer makes good on his promises to defeat $9 billion of welfare and service cuts, then critics of Abbott’s first budget will see much of what they value about Australia preserved.

The danger is that the makeup of the Senate will turn politics into a process of US-style horsetrading, rather than a process of major parties bringing full programs to the people to vote up or down. The fact that some of the most extreme reforms of the Coalition government may not go ahead could lull progressives into the idea that no serious work must be done.

And since the Labor Party has spent 20 years ducking the serious work of offering a reconstructed social democracy, that would be a dangerous result indeed. Every mongrel was a pup once.

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  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Clive grinds the organ?
    What does that leave Abbott to do?

  • 2
    David Hand
    Posted Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The only agenda of the Senate majority is to destroy the Abbott government.

    The country can get stuffed.

    I hope for a double dissolution election. The Coalition will probably lose, PUP and the petrol head will go quickly, Shorten can have the treasury benches to demonstrate his complete inadequacy as a leader and the country can have a good old political chunder.

  • 3
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    While Clive grinds the organ, Abbott could don a red jacket & fez to caper & cavort, cup in hand for the pennies from the BigAr$e end of town though they’ll be few indeed.
    Having seen what a mess he’s made of things thus far, they are already looking for his successor - doesn’t matter whether it is Lib or Lab, as long as they follow orders and keep the lower orders quiescent.

  • 4
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Its a long time coming, rAbbott arrogance and smug dictatorship has to be helped down a peg or two, Clive is the man to do it. Hooray!

  • 5
    Sailor
    Posted Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    David Hand, you say the current ructions mean “The country can get stuffed.”

    Same as The Dear Leader, the mightily un-Christian rAbbott, believes and which he put into practice first in Opposition and now in Government.

    And it’s the reason why I loathe his trashing of the parliamentary process, now even more than when he was just shrieking lies in Opposition.

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