Some readers are embarrassed to be Australias and other Howard loyalists are enjoying their chance to stick it up Crikey. It all makes for an interesting post-election yoursay.The folly of the Democrats

Ben Oquist (Bob Brown’s previous COS) was right on the mark regarding the folly of the Democrats (and Labor) referencing Family First in Victoria. This has allowed this fledging party to achieve a senate seat with only 1.9% of the primary vote, compared to the Greens 8.65%! As a result of this folly, it now appears John Howard will have control in the Senate, without the checks and balances that existed in the previous senate. Ben used the word silly in relation to this decision. I believe the word tragic would be more apt.

Serious questions must be raised regarding Family First. In addition to having a good name, they are obviously well funded and organised. The Assemblies of God is an American right wing fundamentalist church of which George W Bush is a member. Has Family First’s election funding come from the U.S? Is it possible that this was a way George W could have helped his friend John Howard?

The election result overall is a tragedy for Australia’s reputation overseas, the environment, children in detention and for the hard won rights of workers. Further, a healthy democracy should have a cap on how many terms a Prime Minister can serve, as is the case in some other countries.

Unfortunately the election result it is also an indictment of the Australian electorate. Clearly they are motivated by greed and fear, which John Howard has exploited to his advantage.

October 9 2004 was a sad day for Australia and one I believe the people will live to regret.

Karen in Brisbane

So long Peter King

Another big loser of the Federal election was Peter King, the former member for Wentworth.

Peter King demonstrated that he is not an astute politician. He could have stepped out of his pre-selection loss with grace and done a deal to get himself a cushy diplomat position and make his wife the front-runner on the next State Election Liberal Party ticket.

Peter also got sorely wrong the nature of the people he formerly represents.

The Wentworth electorate wants to be represented by a superstar politician, not a backbencher. Malcolm Turnbull has the money, the profile, the connections and the ambition to make him the ideal person to represent the electorate which is home to some of Australia’s largest egos.

Peter King was never “100% Wentworth”, he was always “100% Peter King” and now he is 100% a political has-been.


Katter’s decline in Kennedy

Bob Katter’s ability to ‘spin’ the result in Kennedy is awesome. Yes, he has retained the seat, but it simply cannot be argued that he strengthened his grip on the electorate or enjoyed any sort of surge in support.

As it stands (with almost 80% of the vote counted in Kennedy) he has had a 3.2% swing against him in primary votes. The individual polling booth counts show even more interesting results.

Mount Isa for example, produced a 5% swing against Katter and an almost 11% swing to the Nats. Mareeba – a former Katter stronghold – recorded a 6.3% swing against him, and a 7.83% swing to the Nats. Atherton shows roughly the same result, as does Cloncurry and Charters Towers.

Bob is clearly starting to lose his novelty value.


Shock and Awe

I am shocked at the election result? How is it possible that the Howard government received a swing in its favour?

All the people I have spoken to are similarly shocked – with some lifetime Liberal voters willing to lodge what amounts to a protest vote, by voting for anything but Liberal, who voted for them?

What sort of nation will choose its government based on who will allow them to keep their debt financed big screen TV over making a lying government accountable?

This is a government who took us to war, spin doctors the truth, and manipulates people’s fears and ignorance.

Yet they scare people about their mortgages and loans (true or not) and look at the result. I fear for this nation – the principles on which we take pride are starting to matter less and less.

A. Bartender

Depressed number one

Truth, honesty, decency overboard for the new “Tampa” (the fear of interest rate rises). What has become of our once tolerant egalitarian society? It’s a sad day for Australia!

Depressed number two

I only saw your editorial today and find it so sad that Australians – presumably people I know – voted the rodent back in to power. There goes dignity, international esteem, honesty in government, self-respect, Telstra, a compassionate approach to humanity … the list goes on. I’m so sad today.


Depressed number three

Well I’m really depressed now, another three years with the dead hand of Howard at the helm of the ship of state. What were the voters of Australia thinking of? Three more years of lies and prevarication and that ghastly bloody tracksuit! The possibility of this country coming out of America’s shadow, of creating a better relationship with our Asian neighbours, of signing the Kyoto agreement, indeed of any positive change in social and political attitudes has all gone down the tube. How long before ‘Statesman’ Howard undertakes yet another world tour to demonstrate his right-wing credentials. let’s hope Mark Latham gives him an extremely hard time when Parliament reconvenes. I know we will live to regret this day. Sincerely pissed-off

Geoff in WA

Crikey’s election editorial

Stephen and Christian, Thank you for your exceptionally good election coverage. In particular, I must congratulate you on your pre-election editorial.

You know, as I do, that most people who read you are insiders who make up their own mind, but you expressed a sentiment that many shared but hadn’t seen in print. I personally had to send it immediately to anyone I knew who was voting that day. Having subscribed to you religiously since 2000 (and since becoming a Life Member not long thereafter) I have watched Crikey grow with pride and I hope in time you look back to this campaign and see your editorial as a high-water mark in dropping party politics for a second and saying ‘enough’s enough’ irrespective of your beliefs.

Howard is back in but this term will be incredibly interesting: Senate control, Costello leadership ambitions, and of course reminding the people that Labor are slowly but surely developing their track record to be once again considered an alternative government. Don’t take your eye of the ball for a second – we’re counting on you.

Don’t lose the humour, nor the killer instinct and keep up the fantastic work!

Lifer #16 (stuck in London for now so at least don’t have to face a 4th term in the flesh!)

Crikey and independence

Well done Crikey, your left wing ravings against Howard fell on deaf ears. The sooner you get back to unbiased reporting the more interesting your website will be. Ring your fellow journo Philip Adams and cry in his beard he is probably sulking in his left wing bias also.

Bill Carrick

Hail Howard

It is about time that the Left and Laborites grow up and learn some truths and the cold hard facts of life. All they have to offer are motherhood statements which are little more than warm and fuzzy feel good fantasy with no substance.

“There’s no such thing as society,” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once declared. “There are individual men and women and there are families.” There is no such thing as community, there is only an economy. We are all individual consumers and our market value rises and falls with what we bring to the economy in terms of skills and buying power.

We need to get rid of middle class welfare or welfare per se. We need to get rid of this mentality of entitlement. No one owes you anything. Not your neighbour, not your City, not your State and certainly not the Federal Government. Advanced countries rely on hard work, discipline and personal responsibility of the individual.

If some people don’t have what it takes or if they are not prepared to accept these cold hard facts of life, they can always migrate to another country. It is not as if we want them here anyway and we will certainly not miss them. They are not the type of people we want to have in this country.

As good a job as Howard has done, there is so much more that needs to be done in the 4th term. The above points are a good start.

Raul Carlton

Election Analysis

Post-election analysis so far seems to be missing out or understating one crucial fact. A significant number of swinging voters ranging from the politically sophisticated to the unsophisticated have a gut feeling that giving one party ALL the governments in Australia (federal, states, territories, and councils where party politics apply) is DANGEROUS for the country and the good working of democracy.

Labor will have to lose government in some of the states to have a better chance of winning the federal election. I mix with enough “ordinary people” to hear this view expressed, including from those who are normally Labor supporters. The prospect of Labor in power EVERYWHERE turned them into swinging voters.

As with the Pauline Hanson phenomenon a few years ago, the media sometimes seem not to be in touch with significant minorities to understand their thinking, and pollsters sometimes don’t ask the right questions. Did any of the exit polls ask if the point made in para.1 influenced voters’ thinking?

Diana Mayne

Failing to stop Family First

I live in the Kimberley and have seen the ‘good news’ of the Assembly of God/Family First fundamentalists first hand. They smugly push their way into to impoverished, Aboriginal communities, overtly directing people to denounce their traditional laws, customs and religious beliefs (actively practiced) in favour of bad singing and the saving power of their Lord, directing people to have no truck with their own native title fights and actively seeking control of community Councils. It’s sickening.

Everyone I know, including my relatively conservative parents from Victoria, are shell shocked that these right wing religious fundamentalists may well have the balance of power in Australia. Given that, what Ben Oquist had to say in Crikey on 10 October is extremely disturbing:

“In fact, in the Victoria Senate race despite the Greens polling 8.65% and Family First gaining only 1.9%, it seems that the new Christian right party will win a seat because it receives preferences from both the Democrats and Labor. With the Coalition now guaranteed 38 seats in the Senate from July 2005, this one Family First seat gives the Howard Government effective control of the Senate.”

If that is true, then the ALP and the Democrats should be very publicly torn to shreds for that preferencing and made to take responsibility for facilitating such an evil outcome. Could Crikey please confirm Mr Oquist’s comments?

Crikey should also withdraw their contradictory comment immediately following Ben Oquist “ ‘However, for all the noise, the Greens will be even less relevant in the next Senate because they failed to deny the Conservatives a third spot in any Senate contest and even failed to stop Family First taking a fourth conservative spot in Victoria”. If Ben Oquist is right, then it is not the Greens who have failed to stop Family First. It is the ALP and the Dems, through inexplicable preferencing, who have given them the leg.

Krysti Guest

Freakie Family First

Firstly, kudos to Crikey for extensive coverage of the political sophistication and financial resources of the Family First party, who were mostly dismissed in media analysis as fundy fringe dwellers who called bottleshops “boltholes of satan”. But the extent of this party’s popular support, and the unnerving emphasis they put on Christian values-led legislation, should finally wake the Australian media up to the importance of reporting on the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in this country.

Australian Jesus is alive and well, and dominating the lives of many communities, particularly in the newly ploughed and planted outer rim exurbs beyond Cranbourne or Sunshine, brand new communities full of people looking for something to belong to- the happy clappy churches provide everything from childcare to counselling to education to dating to finance. We had all those stories about the private schools that would lose money under Labor, but nothing on the rise of the Hooray for Jesus secondary colleges that have seen the fastest growth in independent schools.

This movement is not all that new, but it’s a whole slice of Australia that is almost never reported in our newspapers, chiefly because journalists and editors tend to be inner city atheists. Religion reporting is relegated to a few dutiful page four stories about Anglican synods or features about George Pell that work through some of the issues of the trade’s many lapsed Catholics. (Not that Pell isn’t menacing. As one of those lapsed Catholics, I enjoy the theatre of it all too). But time and again I’ve seen stories about the fundamental Christian communities either quashed at proposal or spiked because “the editor hates those stories”. Several different editors, and right up to senior level. We’ve shut out coverage of religious life in the media chiefly because this stuff was daggy.

The only copy on fundy christianity that made good copy was reportage of the funnier excesses of American fundy Christianity. But it’s obviously a force in Australian life too. Family First may have fudged their religious affiliations during this campaign, but it will all be out in the open soon enough. Watch for the next election, when Prime Minister Costello starts talking in tongues.

Women in power

Hugo Kelly suggests Julia Gillard as Latham’s new deputy and one of the ‘roosters’ (Stephens Smith, Conroy etc) to replace Simon Crean as Shadow Treasurer – well why not Gillard as Shadow Treasurer? Is the idea of a woman holding the Treasury portfolio just too out there for some to cope with?


Gutless Aussies

How many parts of the body can a population miss? The results of the election make it clear my longheld belief that the Australian people are gutless, spineless and brainless.

We deserve The Lying Rodent and The Lying Rodent deserves us. He deserves to live out another 3 years in a high stress job where nobody likes him and he gets that much less time to enjoy his pension. And the Australian people deserve to be massively screwed from a great height, as will happen in the next three years.

I’m sick of being part of a country full of stupid greedy people. I am ashamed to be called Australian.


Red Crikey

“Crikey emails hit more than 15,000 inboxes…the most powerful email list in the land.” How does that explain how your Crikey poll on the election outcome was so hopelessly wrong. Not just a bit, but an embarrassing avalanche of shiat.

Nothing of course to do with you and the majority of your correspondents continual and often personal derision of Howard.

Maybe you’ve reached that age where your hair is gone, your glasses obviously coloured pink and your pining for the sweaty, lefty days of your uni yoof.

Stephen, you and your comrades have revealed your true colours… a deep shade of sunburnt red. Your anti-conservative zeal has left you all with little credibility…time for a career change maybe? You still have time to work for John Kerry for the next 24 days. I see he has a nice tan.

Stuart Glazebrook

CRIKEY: It is amusing that our subscribers do seem to be RRRs concerned about the RRRS – that’s rich red-raggers concerned about refugees, reconciliation and the republic.

The coalition mandate

Hugo writes: “Now they must use their mandate wisely.” What mandate is that I wonder?

The mandate to persecute and jail children indefinitely? The mandate to lie to the Australian public, over and over again? The mandate to give preferential treatment to special interests to the detriment of the nation as a whole? The mandate to allow its ministers to break laws and guidelines with little or no risk of punishment? The mandate to use wedge politics to splinter and polarise Australia? The mandate to continue to function as USA’s 51st state? The mandate to continue to claim credit for things they had little or no control over? The mandate to continue to shape Australia in the image of its leader: self-centred, hypocritical, lacking compassion, fundamentally dishonest and with no vision of the future beyond his term in office.

Time will tell and posterity will judge us.

Nickie La Grange

International embarrassment

One can only wonder at the stupidity of Australian voters. At a time when John Howard is one of the most-hated men in a large chunk of the planet, he gets a ringing electoral endorsement. What message does that send to the Muslim world?

The election result makes it London-to-a-brick-on that Australia will be hit by extremists. When that happens, those electors who placed their ballot for the Coalition might do well to reflect on their priorities.

Personally, I am researching my ancestors urgently to see if I might have an Icelandic grandparent. An Aussie passport like mine is likely to be a dangerous document in times to come.

Sinclair Robieson
Bexhill, Sussex, UK