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Mar 27, 2012

Rundle: time to work out what a Labor Party is for

In the aftermath of Queensland -- a place that, like Vietnam or Dresden or Hell, has become an event -- it's worth revisiting a debate that's been going on round Leftish traps, regarding the ALP in power.


In the aftermath of Queensland — a place that, like Vietnam or Dresden or Hell, has become an event — it’s worth revisiting a debate that’s been going on round Leftish traps, regarding the ALP in power, and in the next election. This has centred around two strategies, based on differing perceptions of the party’s character and chances:

1) Grit your teeth, ignore the crap and support the ALP at the next election. Why? Not because of its centre-right policies per se, but because it holds certain things in place, making it easier for a real regeneration in changed circumstances. Thus what remains of Labor’s capital-labour settlement — what’s left of arbitration, Fair Work, etc — not only retains some protections for workers, but also maintains the principle that forces other than the market alone should set the conditions for work, and the framework within which wage and conditions are set.

The carbon tax is slight, but a real commitment, on a global scale, to collective action against climate change. Medicare was politically untouchable in the Howard era, but no longer is. And so on. Labor’s sneak victory would mean that it is as arrogant, out-of-touch and short-sighted as ever before, but that’s the price of the ticket. Should the federal Coalition suffer a loss under Tony Abbott, the above institutions can be preserved through a period in which the failures of a red-in-tooth-and-claw market have not yet become visible to sufficient numbers.

Meanwhile, the Coalition will be in fresh crisis, having tried a liberal leader (Malcolm Turnbull), a conservative leader (Abbott) and a petrol-station Mr Blowie (Brendan Nelson). It will be devoid of real talent and charisma in its front bench, vicious infighting will begin, generating either an unelectable conservative putsch — even as we speak, Mr Mirabella is laying out his “first gentleman” suit and choosing cufflinks — or a leadership more in line with the distinctive political mix of Australian life, for the inevitable point when it returns to power. Labor will thus have had an epochal, framework-setting win.

2) The worst thing that could happen for Australian politics in the mid-run — i.e. the next 15 to 30 years — is for Labor to somehow eke out another victory in 2013. The party with no real program, save for the aggressive neoliberal agenda of its Emerson wing, would use whatever combination of knavery and fluke got it a victory to decisively avoid any encounter with real reflection that might lead to a durable 21st-century political program. The party would be incapable of leading rather than following, should society continue an easy-money-fuelled rightwards drift, and it would have no credibility should China cough and fall over sideways, and our pitifully underdeveloped condition reveal itself. In this scenario, the Left should actively desert Labor, throw its energy towards the Greens. Labor is most likely cactus anyway, and then participate in Labor’s soul-searching and reconstruction during its decade out of office.

Following the Queensland defeat, there is now a third possibility — that Labor will suffer result 2), and be turfed out, but be subject to process 1), learning nothing and drifting on. There is the junk analysis — such as Bill Ludwig’s comment that Australians don’t like women in power — and the flummery, such as Peter Beattie’s comment that Julia Gillard should buy a house in Queensland. There is simple denial, such as the “it was time” analysis, always a bogus one, especially to explain a wipe-out. Then there is plain and simple magical thinking, which lies at the centre of it — Anna Bligh’s comment that though she was pretty sure the public turfed her for the surprise asset sales move, she “knew in her heart it was the right thing to do”.

Good God, where to start? With Beattie? Move to Queensland? What, so the electorate can throw rocks at two women whose policies and conduct they hate, rather than one? Yeah, that’ll work. That is one right out of the Bligh-on-MasterChef box: “Here’s something I prepared earlier — the fire sale of the electricity grid. Mention it? Did I not? Oh.” Where does this pitiful delusion come from, that people won’t vote Labor simply because they don’t know their leaders well enough? Beattie is the rule-proving exception among these political professionals, a man who retains a sense of how most people see the world. For the rest, keep them away from the people they might well vote for, for the same reason you don’t take the kids for a look-round the abattoir on the way to Sizzler.

As to Ludwig’s comment about women, well, yes the public won’t vote for them, if they keep getting given a chance at power only when things are in crisis, and a shit sandwich has to be delivered. Were some of the women in question to have refused this obvious raw deal, they would have been labelled as “scared of power”. When they take it — from both personal ambition and a sense that the precedent has to be set under any circumstances, they are then declared to be the poison in the chalice. Marvellous.

But above all, what is most significant is that absolute refusal to question either the wisdom, politics or necessity of the asset sales, one of the single most politically destructive moves in the history of Australian politics. Labor had a more solid relationship with sections of its electorate in Queensland than anywhere else — a relationship grounded in its ancient history but forged above all by the decades-long fixed electoral dictatorship of Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The sense that Labor, the majority choice, was excluded from power by a fix, gave Queensland Labor an extra dimension of solidarity with its base, just as that was withering away elsewhere, under the impact of the wholesale reconstruction of economic and social life in the 1990s. The asset sales move, which treated Labor’s own supporters with utter contempt, and communicated to them that the party’s loyalty was to a technocratic elite, could not have been more precisely designed to f-ck up that relationship if it had been designed in the LNP skunk-works room.

Everything about the way the asset sales were handled — from Bligh’s remark that they were “not negotiable” to the mixing-in of profitable and loss-making assets in the sales basket, to the needless internal war created by the process — was a disaster created by one thing only: the notion that there is an abstract, depoliticised and technocratic series of decisions to be made, within a fixed framework, and that politics is what happens beneath that. Doubtless many of the arguments about refinancing public works were rational, but the non-negotiability was based on the assumption that that was the only possible good that people might see. The alternative possible good — the idea that it is inherently good for large-scale infrastructure to remain in the people’s hands — was simply discounted.

Bizarrely, a partial privatisation program could have been won, if it had been proposed to Labor’s base and the state as a whole, and argued for, as part of a social-democratic (or social-market) bigger picture. Pushing it through as a whole destroyed the remnant idea of a Labor social contract in the state, and any notion of trust. Given the shift to the Right, Labor’s neoliberals will continue to deny that the asset sales played any part. But the reports from exit polls and polling booths appear to be in no doubt that it did (which is why I feel it is at least plausible to write this assessment from half a world away).Why did Bligh, a life-long activist and member of the Socialist Left, take the decision to become the agent of such neoliberal aims, and adopt a crash-through-or-crash strategy? The question is the answer. The social-democratic left collapsed intellectually before it collapsed politically, unable or unwilling, at the heart of the party, to rethink new ways of managing a progressive politics after the failure of large-scale state ownership.

Bligh is an ex-student politician, turned community activist — and like many of that breed, one suspects, rather thin on the intellectual front, and perhaps impatient with anything that isn’t very action-oriented and piecemeal. There has developed on what remains of the “Left” in Labor a resolute anti-intellectualism with regards to politics — the sense that anything deeper than a two-page policy/spin document is a “w-nk”.

That has proved particularly disastrous for Labor for several reason. The first is that it has been willing to open itself to two leaders — Mark Latham and Kevin Rudd — who did have ideas, and then simply adopted them, in the spirit of “we’ve got to have some text to put in the leaflets”. But both men held their ideas as a distinct and individual body of insights, preferences and obsessions, not as the representation of a larger current of thought. The intellectual-political core became an expression of their personalities, not of the ideas themselves, such as they were.

But this has also proved disastrous because the only people in Labor or around it with a consistent body of ideas are the neoliberals — the Craig Emersons, Marn Ferns, Michael Costas, and a host of less-public figures. They’re either schooled in economics faculties — in the same way that a burr-headed rivet is “schooled” in a press — or they came to it through the long failures of centre-left politics. The latter group sell it like a new faith, the former are simply incapable of thinking outside of its percepts. They steamroller whatever vestigial and instinctual opposition practically minded people of a leftish disposition might put up.

Increasingly, many such people in Labor see any intra-party remnant opposition to neoliberalism as “the real enemy”, and direct more energy against that, than outside of the party. That state of affairs means that the party membership boundary no longer describes a single entity. The division between the neoliberals and what remains of social democracy in the party is greater than the fiercer political splits of the ideological faction years. Whatever the difference between a (Catholic) Right and a Socialist Left, neither thought that the market should define human being, social institutions or public culture.

The ALP neoliberals, out of fascination at the alleged (and illusory) Promethean power of a virtually unlimited market to lift the world to a higher state of being, are utterly indifferent to any more rounded conception of existence, the role other institutions — the state, NGOs, community networks, voluntary organisations, etc — might play in it, and how a social-democratic party might find ways of working through mediating non-market, non-state institutions. So now neither Right nor Left in the party have much time for genuinely new ideas, and they fuse with a clique of professional spin doctors, some of whom have gone from failure to failure across several continents, spruiking a pseudo-scientific expertise as the reason they should be hired afresh.

We have seen such a mix of delusion, bafflement and before — the pyramid cities of the Lambayeque Valley in Peru for one, whose inhabitants believed they could hold off the approaching conquistadors if only they could tear enough hearts out of living chests. High-priestess Bligh’s asset sales was a mild re-enactment — a state in a country in a resources boom believing that the answer to a mild deficit was to privatise the heart of state-owned infrastructure.

The belief system that makes this sacrifice appear rational is an imaginary one; the consequences are all too real. For Labor to be anything at all over the next two decades, it will have to begin a parallel strategy — first, drafting some sort of next-term program it could take to the people in the next election that would project a genuine idea of how life could be better, and from what basis that springs. But it should also lay the ground for the work it will have to do in opposition, when it most likely ends up there — to work out what a Labor Party is for, as something more than an outpipe for global capital. For the men and women of action, such a process will undoubtedly seem like a “w-nk”. But in Queensland now, there’s not a lot of action and sod all to do. There’s a reason the now-deserted Lambayeque Valley is known by the locals as Purgatorio, and it’s a long-walk through.


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103 thoughts on “Rundle: time to work out what a Labor Party is for

  1. bird7755

    hi there, I think this sums it up Guy….Labor need a cohesive ideology framework then you do your compromising on the top 50%. They need to win the argument from a values basis and connect the economic and social – people have been brought up only to think about the economic administration of the economy so they need to start from this basis and then say, OK, a 2 tiered education system affects the economy – ie show the linkages and then win the war on taxes.

    Most studies have shown that Australian’s are more social democratic than economic libertarian so there is absolutely no reason that Labor cannot win the argument. They also do not come over the top strongly over the Murdoch media – people are now starting from a low base so it seems to me they overestimate that alot of people are dumped down and then, if they did educate people, they underestimate people that nobody will vote for them – when in fact that will have people lining up to vote for them. This is the only thing that will force the Right to undergo profound changes back to a Robert Menzies conservative

  2. Microseris

    Labor has moved further and further to the right and become a party with no core beliefs or principles. It now simply stands for the gaining and retention of power.

    At least Liberal stand for something – money.

  3. Stiofan

    Absolutely nailed it right there, Guy!
    This pretentious piece of leftish drivel shows that you are as irrelevant to modern Australian politics as Anna Bligh. I haven’t encountered such a meandering piece of pseudo-intellectual pseudo-science since the Marxist Summer School at Sydney Uni in 1979.

  4. James K

    I am still confused: if people do not want govt owned assets sold off… why did they vote for the coalition that has that as a standard plank of their economic policy?

    Here in Vic. the libs are talking about selling off the Port of Melbourne. Under Kennett they sold off 300 schools, the public transport system, the utilities (Qld was slow on that one)… and more. Some jails were privatised.. the list is long.

    The coalition are philosophically committed to less govt activity and more private business activity. That is their core belief.

    And so Queenslanders – who oppose the sale of a govt asset, voted in the party that will sell off more govt assets….

    I am confused.

    Maybe they voted against Labor because they said they would NOT do it but then did. They backflipped! And backflippers should be voted out.

    BUT if Qlders like the sale of govt assets as a principle, should they not have been happy to see Labor “see the light” or “get with the program”? Isn’t it good to backflip if the backflip is IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?

    I am very confused. I think Qlders dont like the sale of govt assets (just as many of the rest of us hate it too). But if that is the case… they voted for the party that is the master of selling off govt assets.

    Sounds a lot like “cutting off you nose despite your face”.

    All I can really conclude, is that there were other things that really caused the swing.

  5. Suzanne Blake

    Increased taxes, increased incompetence, dishonesty, “wealth redistribution”, ICAC events, jai led MP’s, more dishonesty, Union control and working families working to keep them in power at the trough

  6. puddleduck

    Which begs the question… why are the right wingers still in the ALP? Why don’t they join the Libs?

  7. Jimmy

    This article lost me at “The worst thing that could happen for Australian politics in the mid-run — i.e. the next 15 to 30 years — is for Labor to somehow eke out another victory in 2013”.

    With Abbott promising to repeal everything that Labor has achieved in the previous 6 years and looking like he will send the country into recession and lurching quickly to the right there is no way that it could be a good thing for Labor to lose the next election.

  8. James K

    I agree.

    as a greens supporter, I do find it sad to think that all the most progressive thinkers and slightly left of centre minded folk, have tended to desert labor for the Greens. It has left the Labor party in the hands of the right and they are useless and misguided. (Nothing bias about my comments is there!)

    But the success of the greens in growing support by politically active and ideal progressives, might just be one of the reasons why Labor has drifted so far right.

    Or maybe that was happening first and it caused more to leave and find a roost in the Greens party.

  9. Suzanne Blake

    Dont worry yourself Jimmy,Labor won’t eke out anything. The brand is damaged for a generation

  10. Michael James

    I am with Stiofan, what a load of self-referential,. self-aggrandising cr@p.

    “Queensland is now an event”

    Oh really? Then what did the almighty thumping that Labour in NSW received become? There the swing was 16.5%, worse than even last weekend’s well deserved shellacking.

    Perhaps its that the electorate, having placed ALP governments in power across the entire nation and federally, is swinging away to the conservatives, to a point that eventually the country will mostly be under conservative government.

    Then eventually, slowly and inexorably, the pendulum will swing the other way. All governments have a use by date, about three terms. Those that outstay that time tend to receive an almighty thumping at the ballot box, as long term resentment over those governments arrogance and born to rule mentality starts to really rankle with the electorate.

    Howard received it, Keating before him. Bligh and Kenneally are simply the next in line.

    Eventually Abbot or someone else will unseat the ALP in Canberra and they will govern for a few terms, the same as O’Farrell and Campbell will in Sydney and Brisbane respectively.

    Eventually however they too will end up on the nose with the electorate and will be turfed out, to be replaced by someone else.

    It’s the cycle of elections, when its time to go a government should go, postponing that day of reckoning just makes that reckoning even worse for being delayed, the ALP in Queensland can talk to their colleagues in NSW about how that feels.

    Gillard may salvage an election win in 2013 (unlikely but possible) however given their standing with much of the electorate, by the time they go to the next election after that it’s probably likely that the carnage visited upon the LP by the electorate will be horrible to witness.

    Speaking of use by dates, Crikey, Mr Rundle, from his Olympian point of despatch in London is obviously well past his. Can we please have someone who is a little more in contact with the real world of Australian politics, circa 2012, rather than a superannuated leftist prone to seeing the world through ideological glasses.

    His recent columns have undermined his claims to journalism, he is more a polemicist and propagandist these days than a reputable journalist.

  11. blue bubble

    The reasons behind the asset sales were mostly well founded, just poorly explained. QR freight is almost exclusively about coal, as was Abbot Point. The long term viability of that required significant capital injection (better provided by the coal miners directly) and was slightly in conflict with the ALPs other agenda of tackling climate change. OK idea badly executed.

  12. Jimmy

    Michael James – Very said.

    SB – When Rudd won in 2007 people said the liberals faced a decade in the wilderness and yet almost got back in after a term. To talk of damage for 25 years is just absurd, but that is you isn’t it.

    And as ofr the extent of the damage, let’s look again in 12 months when the terror’s Abbott predicts from the Mining and Carbon taxes have not occurred.

  13. Chrispy

    I am an economist who believes that, while capitalism maximises the pie, it does nothing to ensure that it is shared fairly. Also in its pure form, it has nothing to say about external effects such as global warming, loss of biodiversity etc. Where do I go if Labor disintergrates?

  14. twobob

    The Left should actively desert Labor and throw its energy towards the Greens.
    Asset sales was the clincher that stopped me voting for labor.
    That was years ago.
    And I do agree with PUDDLEDUCK. The infiltration of the Labor party is complete and its downfall is assured, UNLESS it removes the neoliberals completely from its party and reclaims the social justice mantra that it was created to provide.
    I doubt that it can.

  15. Bo Gainsbourg

    When Labor started in on privatisation, they copped not just the wrath of their base, but they reinforced the fury that people all round the country felt for their repeated privatisations in NSW and other places. To suggest that it was the only economic option as Bligh, Emerson and others no doubt have and will really sums it up. This is a party that prides itself on delivering neoliberal right economic policies that people hate with a passion. No other policy initiative can cover that up. The right must be overjoyed that Labor does it on their behalf and then cops repeated electoral floggings. The lack of discussion of alternatives to that program in Labor today is the primary reason it is shedding votes. If you want the people who will screw you in favour of the technocratic free market program, why not have the real ones instead of the pretend ones. The Greens in Qld aren’t yet big or established enough to be able to break through on the alternative, and their oxygen was sucked out by Katters party and others. But when the party of the “workers” and “social democrats” start privatising, start taking out shares in the liberal party. You’ll always be on a winner

  16. PK93

    To suggest that “neo-liberalism” (in the idelogical sense of the word) is the root of Labor’s problems is the height of bollocksry.

    NBN, Fairwork Act, carbon pricing, mining tax, disability insurance, private health care rebate threshold, GFC response, social care pay claims etc etc how on earth does this represent a party that is beholden to a belief in the “Promethean power of a virtually unlimited market to lift the world to a higher state of being, are utterly indifferent to any more rounded conception of existence, the role other institutions” or that the “market should define human being, social institutions or public culture.”?

    The true dinasours are the primitive black and white thinkers like Guy Rundle who are incapable of thinking with nuance. With the existence of the Greens as a genuine third force pandering to the sanctimonious left, labor has lost much of its “intellectually” active base including sympathetic “left” journalists. It is the black and white thinkers in Labor who see any risks associated with any party reform that might see the necessary re-engagement with comunities as absolutes to be avoided that will ensure Labor continues on its current trajectory.

    And wow, “They’re either schooled in economics faculties — in the same way that a burr-headed rivet is “schooled” in a press”…..as one myself, (and not one beholden to the current dominating paradigm) I find it incredible that such a sanctimonious knowall utterly addicted to polemic rhetoric in spewing their un-examined black and white convictions have the audacity to reduce what is a genuinely transcendent (if highly imperfect) and intellectually open field to a burr rivet being pressed.

    GR you are a fool.

  17. Jimmy

    Twobob – It all depends on how left you are, I am more with Crispy and while I like the job the Greens are doing pulling the ALP a bit further left I can’t go as far as they do on a whole range of issues.

  18. Suzanne Blake

    @ twobob

    If your fellow extreme lefties agreed with you, the Green vote would have gone UP, it went DOWN 1.1% at last could.

    So where did they go? to Katter or vote informally?

  19. botswana bob

    I see this stuff all the time: What does Labor stand for? Its well known what the ALP stands for: its an organisation dedicated to advancing the careers of union hacks–Craig Thompson–and party apparatchiks. The once great reform party has let the light on the hill go out, as the careerists, who have all the attributes of dogs save loyalty, pack its parliamentary ranks. Just look at the current PM: this careerist started to plot against Rudd–the bloke who got them back into office after a decade–the day after the election, signed an agreement on pokies reform than shredded it and is so petty so rejected a recommendation to apologize to Maha Habib after her shameful treatment by the bureaucracy. This is why the left is going Green and everyone else is abandoning this mob of self-serving Poloniuses–or is it Poloniae? [I was never much good at Latin which is why I never became a GeorgePell employee]
    The Bracks/Faulkne5r report gave the ALP a path to renewal but the faction hacks put the kybosh on it.

  20. gikku

    so if Gillard is wiped out, how long will Abbott last? a term? 18 months?
    He is not the messiah, just a naughty little boy.

  21. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    James K: The National part of the Liberal National Party do not and never wanted privatisation in the first place. The only things that Campbell promised to sell off were the shares in QR National.

  22. cpobke

    This is a very engaging piece (as evidenced in the responses!) and i enjoyed reading it. Its great example of evocative polemic (i don’t intend that as backhanded compliment).

    Its not so good that Guy tends to dehumanise/demonise those who hold a different intellectual view to him. This is unfortunate as I imagine the people he is refering to are neither horrible nor stupid (belted rivets or irrational zealots).
    It also got a bit unclear for me whether the main argument is that privatisation is the reason for the loss in Queensland, just generally a bad idea, or whether the queenland fiasco is merely a symbol of Labor’s subjugation to crazy scary neo-liberals (within their own party).
    The sale of public assets clearly makes people anxious. And the magnitude of such actions suggests people are going to be more anxious if they feel surprised or not consulted.
    At the same time, I don’t know how many people are clamouring to re-nationalise Australia’s banks, airlines or telecommunications firms. Also I don’t think the loss in Queensland represents a rejection of other maligned neo-liberal policies implemented by Labor such as floating the exchange rate, reducing tariffs or setting up an independent reserve bank.

  23. CliffG

    Excuse my ignorance and stupidity but Labor stands for workers’ rights.It opposed and defeated Work Choices. It stands for lower paid workers, achieving a 25% pay rise. It stands for action on climate change. It stands for lower tax rates for the lowest paid, raising the threshold by over three times. It opposes middle class welfare, removing rebates from those with enough income to pay their own and not burden the taxpayer. It stands for some of the profits from mining not going into the already overloaded pockets of bloated billionaires but to the people of the nation whose minerals the miners are profiting from. It stands for a fair distribution of wealth where possible.

    How do I know? It has legislated these things against the odds in a hung parliament. Judging by their actions this is what they stand for. But when it comes to the media these are closely guarded secrets, like Rudd’s appalling performance as PM. David Marr spilled the beans, but the silence in the mainsteam media was so great that it came as a surprise when he stood against Gillard and lost by far more than Turnbull in the attack by Abbott. Those who stated the facts were struck down as personal attackers. Surely they were acting with principle and courage.
    So how come people keep claiming “We don’t know what Labor stands for.” Where are they hanging out?

    It’s Abbott I know nothing about. What does he stand for beyond raw power and destruction? What is his vision, his creative view, his agenda? Now there’s a mystery if ever there was one. “Brand” Labor, if we must talk about it in PR terms means something based on the Gillard Government’s actions and clear statements. “Brand” Coalition stands for opposing just about everything and turning back the clock regardless of the calamitous consequences. So why all the pressure on Labor.

    And why the Queensland result?

    Perhaps because there is a media vacuum of information about what’s actually being achieved or proposed and with the aggressive, belligerent focus on one person alone, rather than her government and all of its members, people in despair turn to short cuts. Polls, the loudest most strident voices of those with a fixed agenda,the vast, expensive advertising campaigns, the disinformation, the power of the right in print media shape their opinions, not the facts. And they just follow the leader and take a short cut. Maybe they have been duped. Change is essential, sure, but annihilation is not good for anyone.

  24. DF

    If the ALP keeps implementing the neo-liberal policies of the conservatives, eg privatisation of public assets, people might as well vote for the conservatives and be done with it.

  25. Jeremy Sear

    Here’s hoping lefties vote for the party that represents them, the Greens, and the people in the centre the ALP’s pitching at realise that the carbon tax bullshit from News Ltd is just that, scaremongering bullshit, and treat the “promise everything” Coalition with the contempt they deserve. Australia could do with another minority government.

  26. Jimmy

    Cliffg- Abbott stands for Abbott becoming PM, he will fill in all the blanks (like an economic policy) after that.

    DF – Look at the policies implemented by Labor int the last 4 year and the policies Abbot is taking to the next election and tell me which is better for the country.

    It amazes me that the ALP is routinely criticised for being to far to the right and for being a socialist govt that is only interested in wealth redistribution.

  27. Michael James

    Cpobke, demonising the ‘other’ is becoming a staple of Rundle’s work, for example his immediate tarring of the shooter of several people in France as a Right Wing Extremist ™, despite having absolutely nothing more to work from than his own prejudices.

    Bit awkward that the shooter turned out to be an Al-Quaida zealot. Oh dear…

    As I said, its becoming a Rundle stock in trade.

  28. John64

    “time to work out what a Labor Party is for”

    It’s too late Guy. You work out what you stand for in Opposition. Not in Government.

    “Meanwhile, the Coalition will be in fresh crisis, having tried a liberal leader (Malcolm Turnbull), a conservative leader (Abbott) and a petrol-station Mr Blowie (Brendan Nelson). It will be devoid of real talent and charisma in its front bench”

    You mean like how the Labor party is? After having tried a Labor leader (Rudd), a do-anything-for-power leader (Gillard) and… sorry, who’s next? The only person they have with any charisma is now Carr but given his announcements of late I question the talent. And in fact even then, any leader other than Rudd, will have to explain why they’re supporting Rudd’s NBN, Rudd’s ETS, Rudd’s Mining Tax… Only Rudd can sell Rudd’s vision – but Labor don’t want anything to do with him. And it’s funny isn’t it, that Swan declared Rudd “somebody who does not hold any Labor values” and yet here they are implementing all of his vision.

    Turns out Labor doesn’t even know what Labor values are…

    I like the delusion in both your 1 and 2 scenarios though. I don’t know if you’ve caught the news but: Labor aren’t winning the next election. It’s not happening. They’re done. It’s finished. It’s over. That goose is well and truly cooked. Any scenario that has “Labor”, “election” and “win” in the same sentence is fundamentally flawed.

    The issue for Labor now is: How can they minimise the damage and not be utterly wiped out like Queensland? They’re hoping to death the Liberals stick with Abbott because that’ll at least head-off the 60/40 2pp split (and keep it more around 55/45). But if they stuff up their attacks against Abott like Bligh did against Newman…

  29. David Allen

    Just to get things straight. As of now, the LNP has 49.81% of first preferences. All others i.e. those NOT voting for LNP, 50.19%.

    Source: Qld Electoral Commission.

  30. PK93

    Jimmy, that last line nails it.

    The know all sanctimones on the right see, or atleast assert, Labor as “beholden to the greens” “crypto-socialist” etc

    Their counterparts on the left subscribe to the conviction that Labor is “no different to the Libs” blah blah blah whinge moan squeal

    THey can’t both be right and, infact to anyone capable of relective nuanced, thought are both totally wrong

    What’s truly amazing is how shamelessly the gutless, spineless, careerist print and tv journos push both points without a hint of professional embarassment. That insufferable morally untouchable Tony Jones is capable of premising questions with both fallacies to labor politicians on lateline (and on Q&A too when he takes his regular breaks from his “adventure in democracy”) in the same sitting!

  31. Coaltopia

    Hey Blue Bubble, did Labor really sell-off QR National to divest Queenslanders from being owners in a dubious business?

    I doubt it, but I’d be happy to hear evidence to the contrary. You’d have to ask, why then, were they so pro-coal development?

    I find it difficult to tell these LibLabs apart.

  32. Tim nash

    Bligh is an ex-student politician, turned community activist — and like many of that breed, one suspects, rather thin on the intellectual front.

    Guy, I like reading your articles but this comment in particular makes me think your a total wanker.

    You should know better and If you probe around your journo ‘intellectual’ mates you might be surprised who was a student politician and community activist.

    Crikey prides itself ongreat journalism.

    I want to get my bearings after the election, not this opinionated bullshit.

  33. purcell garry


    Botswanna bob is on the money. The rot begins and ends with the Nsw right. Three decades ago the party was invaded by the self serving careerists with third rate economics degrees, black suits, shaved heads, sunnies and phones jammed in their ears; the likes of Bitar and Arbib; know nothings whose only aim was to be parachuted into a safe seat. In the 80’s and 90’s they were behind the Hawke/Keating sell offs; in the noughties they surrounded Carr and his feeble successors with all sorts of attacks on the public domain. Eventually they emerged as the dead eyed manipulators of Gillard and crept from the shadows to assassinate Rudd. Gillard could not resist the mephistophelian temptations of these aparatchiks and labor supporters will not forgive or forget no matter how she tries to attone by resurrecting Rudd policies which she opposed in order to bring him down. Labor will be destroyed at the 2013 election thanks to the machiavelles of the NSW right and will have at least 3 terms to reinvent itself beginning with the Bracks/Faulkner plans.

  34. PK93

    “Cpobke, demonising the ‘other’ is becoming a staple of Rundle’s work, for example his immediate tarring of the shooter of several people in France as a Right Wing Extremist ™, despite having absolutely nothing more to work from than his own prejudices.”

    I think you’ve nailed it there “despite having nothing more to work from than his own prejudices.

    Problem with these sanctimonious fools on the left is that they are far from harmless. They are ultimatley un-examined egoists who provide fodder for their reactionary opposites.

  35. James K

    CliffG – spot on.

    Susanne Blake – crazy exaggurations with no arguments, as always.

    Down and out in Saigon – what planet are you living on? Are you really going to argue that the Liberals will NOT continue to privatise govt assets in Qld??? Okay… heres a deal: when they do sell off the next item, will you publically acknowledge how they are doing that? Will you help convince others to vote against them because of that scandalous behaviour!? After all they have not promised to sell off anything. If they do… they are …. not quite backflipping… but … well … they were deceitful! Maybe some of the Nationals in the team will quietly oppose the action, but Liberal philosophy is utterly committed to less govt action and more private action. That means sell off govt assets to the highest bidder. If you believe that is not going to happen in Qld, you are either naive to the extreme or you are the holder of some secret knowledge about that specific Liberal Coalition, that the rest of us just dont have.

  36. chpowell

    The parties in the United States and Australia are some of the oldest on Earth-and the most irrelevant. Let Labour die-it stands for nothing, and faces its existential crisis.

    I’m a fiscal conservative, a libertarian as regards personal behaviour, and a strong green when it comes to the environment (and, ‘inter-generational equity’)

    What is the party for me?

    To ask the question is to answer it.

    Let a thousand flowers bloom!

  37. Jimmy

    PK93 – The other interesting thing is that critics have been saying the Qld result shows voters won’t accept leaders who li ed to them, yet Howard got away with his “non core promises” and Abbott clearly won’t/can’t keep hte majority of his. It is the fact that the “shamelessly the gutless, spineless, careerist print and tv journos” are so unwilling to prosecute Abbott for his statements that makes this an issue.

  38. calyptorhynchus

    You seem oddly disturbed by the events in Qld and still emotionally wedded to Labor.

    As someone who has never been a Labor supporter I support the Greens on all occasions, whilst still recognising that they have not yet realised the gravity of the ecological crisis (they still think its possible to have growth, bless ’em).

    In the even more deluded world of two (right-wing) party dictatorship we live in I, naturally, prefer the Labor Party to be in power because of the two it is slightly less right-wing.

  39. CliffG

    Abbott’s no Hitler, I hope, but Germany allowed an elected leader to “fill in all the blanks once he was in”. It’s mighty risky!

  40. Coaltopia

    Yes Calyptorhynchus, it really is about “less worse” option isn’t it?

  41. Schnappi

    Well put CLIFFG,
    Cannot see abbott lasting the next 17 months,he has wasted parliaments time,and is not only looking unhinged,but is acting like someone who has lost the plot.His latest apology was insincere as one would ever see,know many liberals who will vote for anything but abbott,also seeing others say this over a lot of the internet.

  42. Michael de Angelos

    Labor is still a good brand despite moving to the right (but not nearly as much as elsewhere around the world) and Ludwig is correct. Not only has Gillard had a hell of a time as PM and the way in which she got the job, as though Fraser’s takeover or Abbott’s turfing of Turnbull by a mere one vote are acceptable-she has worn a cross of being a woman and that is, no matter what we are told, a typical Australian chauvinistic trait.

    Combined with a rampant media that now demands, absolutely demands that politicians court it’s patronage. Not one, not one bloody hack has pointed out Abbott’s ludicrous statement that QLD demonstrates “personal insults” are wrong while he and Pyne attack Gillard mercilessly on the most disgusting personal levels/

    Gillard has been treated appalingly yet she won fair and square last year and Abbott would be in the same boat if the Independents had leaned this way. But with none of the insinuations that Gillard is somehow not a legitimate PM.

    With all this millstones around her neck, Julia Gillard has actually done extremely well and guided good policies through Parliament. However it’s become a mantra that she doesn’t “communicate” effectively.

    The same was done to Paul Keating until every suburban dill was parroting Packer’s and News Ltd’s lines : “but he’s so arrogant”.

    The corrupt media (Leveson/Finklestein) are the problem and they are perverting democracy in a thousand ways. If we had a fair media we would not have the great threat we have to democracy today as exampled by Campbell Newman’s win in QLD= now a one party state that the idiots up north seem little concerned about. Newman may have deserved to win but as exampled by his blood thirsty claim he will fight tooth and nail to win another seat could demonstrate a Napoloen in the making. NSW should have shown that wipeouts are dangerous-we now have a do nothing premier.

    Howard’as first massive also shows the dangers- we as a country shared in the killing of tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis because these ‘wipeout’s give unfettered power.

    Rundle-the problem is the media.

  43. CliffG

    Garry Purcell you surely don’t believe the Liberal Party or the National Party don’t have backroom aparatchiks, do you? Why does Nick Minchin pop up from time to time, Peter Reith, Morris, Textor, etc and then there are the many whose names we don’t know or hear.
    “Labor’s faceless men” is a meaningless cliche in politics 2012.
    Go read David Marr’s “Quarterly Essay” on Rudd when he was deposed and it was much more than aparatchiks. He was in disarray.
    Not to have removed him would have been a catastrophe for the country.
    And do a quick mental comparison between the Gillard team and the Abbott team. Who has the most discredited yesterday’s men and women on the team. It’s about much more than the personality of the PM.
    Ask Arbib, Habib, Cornelia Rau, the AWB, the navy staff who boarded the Tampa, for starters. Go back and look at “Work Choices” and see how little choice it gave workers. The Coalition have policies, which they’re keeping close to their chest. After the catastrophic dismantling comes back to the future.

  44. Schnappi

    In support of JAMES K ,newman has appointed as director of the premiers dept,grayson who is known as a government sales expert

  45. Jimmy

    Cliffg- It’s not a risk I am willing to take but it seems many voter like to leave the thinking to Bo. lt and co.

    Schnappi – There is still hope, especially if people start looking at his policies and they realise the Mining & Carbon taxes aren’t bad at all.

    PK93 – See Calyptorynchus for further evidence.

  46. mikeb

    @Cliff – absolutely spot on. I’m convinced that no matter what Labor achieves between now & the election will be ignored by the media because it’s much more interesting to talk about perceived failures rather than tangible successes.

    What does Abbott represent? The power at all costs, trash the country if required attitude that is par for the course in the grand ol’ U. S of A.

    I’ve got no idea of what the cause of Labors problems in QLD were but suspect that all Labor will be put into the same basket.

  47. michael crook

    Privatisation was definitely the main factor in the ALP loss. Helped by a very strong very early campaign led by the ETU (see Queensland first before Bligh sells it), with corflutes and bumper stickers, it was a campaign that sealed the fate of the Bligh government long before polling day.

    I do not think that Bligh initiated the privatisation or believed in it, she just knew that if she wanted the job she had to do what the Ludwig controlled AWU faction wanted. That is where the real power lies. For 20 years a so called union with more interest in its corporate connections (Jim Elder etc) than its own members, has ruled Queensland with an iron fist, and in the ALP it is always winner take all.

    The privatisations made no sense at all from an economic point of view, the ports, forest and rail were all making money (as was electricity retail before Beattie sold it, and state insurance office before Goss sold it ). In the case of QR national, this was a model of efficiency and returned high incomes to the state government. To say that it, or any of them couldn’t afford to modernise, is a nonsense, if private capital can borrow money, pay the interest and still make a profit, then a well managed organisation such as QR National could do the same.

    The assets, which belonged to all of us, and were making money for all of us, were sold for a song, and Queenslanders were very very annoyed about this, still are.

    Declaration, I ran as a candidate at Sandgate for Socialist Alliance, and, strangely, didn’t win!

  48. Flowenswell

    CHPOWELL is absolutely right. There isn’t nearly enough diversity or competition in Autralian electoral politics. The very idea that a minority government is somehow unworkable or dysfunctional goes a long way to showing how complacent the two major parties, (and particularly the political commentariat in regard to analysis) have become in terms of policy-making and governing.
    It’s true that Abbott probably doesn’t need to esatablish a decent policy platform in order to very likely win the next election. He can rely on a typically two dimensional analysis from the media to render the only other viable government as useless and unsuccessful, which denies Australian’s any substantial political debate. Also, that proponents of federal opposition can at this point make claims to victory a year and half out from the election simply makes a mockery of our so-called democracy. For all the bullshit and partisanship of polictical commentators, bloggers and tweeters there is a profound disrespect for democratic principle.
    The reduction of politics to a simple two-sided media report with an occassional reference to one of the freak outsiders (outside the realm of the only game in town, to win power) has resulted in a commentariat as shallow as possible. The public will never become engaged in political debate as long as they can be assured that for every policy position there is a roughly equal and opposing one touted by the other guys. This kind of political system does nothing to reflect the complexity of the world we live in today , because issues in the public sphere aren’t contended so much as they’re opposed.

  49. paddy

    I’m normally a huge fan of your writing Guy.
    But this piece of confused mayhem reads more like an ad for Red Bull than a coherent article.
    Needs less fast stuff and more blue pencil mate.

  50. Edward James

    Labor with some determination is on the way to being broken up. The party members have been doing as much damage to the political party as the party has been doing to the Australia. The LNP was the best tool to sweep as much Labor dead wood from Queensland as possible. The voting public know what they werte doing. They were sending a message to elected representatives generally stop lying to us stop abusing your trusted positions, and start exercising your influence in the best interest of you constituents. What is being done to Labor nationnally can just as easly be done to the other half of the two parties not much preferred if thay do not straighten up and fly right! The LNP has unfinished business, Heiner Shreddergate, just like Barry O Farrell in NSW. Government belongs to the people and it is their to work for the people. That has been forgotton for a long time take note Guy Rundel. Edward James

  51. Steve777

    In terms of percentage of the vote, the 2012 Queensland election looks like a mirror of the 1943 Federal Election. The numbers then were: Labor just shy of 50%; Coalition (United Australia Party + Country Party) 23%; 9% to state-based country parties (c.f. Katter?); and the remaining 18% to independents and minor parties. Labor gained 49 seats out of 74, the Coalition 19, State-based Country parties 5 and there was one independent.

    The following year, Robert Menzies brought the remnants of the UAP plus other like-minded groups to found the Liberal Party. After a further 5 years in opposition, the Liberal party led a coalition that was in power for 27 of the following 30 years.

    The progressive side of politics urgently needs its own Menzies, hopefully before a 2013 Federal wipeout.

  52. shepherdmarilyn

    Both parties are the same anyway.

  53. Andybob

    It can only be fixed from opposition. Fortunately, they will have that opportunity.

  54. Lewis Keith

    IMO ALP’s problems aren’t ideological. It’s more about perception, they’re seen as cliquey, as breaking promises, dysfunctional, scheming, etc.

    Rudd was a complete catastrophe. Almost anyone could have beaten Howard after Work Choices, they shouldn’t have thrown in a crazy egomaniac. They should have picked someone they knew they could work for and get along with for at least 2 terms.

    Kevin completely ballsed up the ETS. If he’d got that through quickly, the ALP would be doing fine right now. He then completely screwed up the mining tax too. And while he was failing spectacularly in the parliament he was driving his colleagues and the public service insane behind the scenes. ETS went from a popular bipartisan issue in 2007 to political kryptonite in 2011. Sure the mining lobby was working hard, but it was mainly Kevin’s fault for being so dam high and mighty and refusing to give anything away to a Liberal leader who was under a lot of pressure from his own party. The Stimulus package was alright, but again if they’d negotiated it better with Turnbull there probably would have been much fewer cock ups.

    Now Gillard has been tarred with the Rudd brush, and in trying to clean up his mess has gotten into more trouble of her own making.

    All the while, the Coalition’s popularity is rising, while no one even really knows or even cares what their policies are, how they’re going to achieve them and where they’re going to get the money.

    I think the ALP has performed very badly politically, but I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with their policy agenda (apart form the Malaysia solution, which they’ve dropped thankgod) or political ideology.

    Gillard should never have said “I’m happy to call it a carbon tax”, biggest mistake of her career. Either ignore semantic arguments, or win them, don’t ever concede and hope to gain the moral high ground in the debate. Politics is all about “gotchya” moments now, don’t just give them away for free. They should have kept going back to the fact that John Howard proposed an ETS very similar to theirs, and it was bipartisan in 2007. There’s really no way for Abbott to squirm out of that. Howard comes along and says actually, my ETS was just a great big tax too and I got it wrong, well, that’s just a flip flopping Coalition isn’t it? They should have emphasize that they had to negotiate with the greens, because the Coalition kept flip flopping on the issue and bickering amongst themselves. And for god’s sake Julia it’s an ETS with a fixed priced period, not a tax. Politics 101: Semantics matter!

    They just need to ignore stupid questions from journalists, and keep repeating their well tested slogans. “Clean Energy Future”, can’t even remember the last time I heard that. They need to send a message that they’re preparing Australia for a high tech, clean, green future. Super fast broadband, Solar power, Wind turbines, all that good stuff. That’s what their message has to be. They can even apply that to mining, make it the best practice in the world. Sweden is a large iron ore miner, yet they’re perceieved as very green and high tech at the same time. No reason we can’t create the same image in Australia. Juxtaposed to the coalition who represent a dirty aging industry, that’s screwing over the people and the environment to make Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart fatter and fatter.

    Anyway, that’s my opinion 😛

  55. AR

    Labor, in its current Sussex St mode, is an abomination – the rot set in before the Hawkeating years, when the apparatchiks moved from Student Unions to the Machine and sat at the feet of the like of “Wotever it takes” Richardson.
    With no thought of principle, determined only on office, it’s a pit none of them ever read Hardy’s “Power without Glory” – probably too many big words & ideas.
    The horny handed Sons of Toil, pride of the working class, have become the scum of the middle class, having done nowt in the real world, much less have an inkling of what it’s like living on semi skilled wages.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a disgusted, disenchanted ALP supporter who poisoned the Tree of Knowledge a couple of years ago, in disgust of what the movement had become.
    I won’t say RIP or Vale as I have no respect for the zombie that has usurped the party and pissed on the Light on the Hill. Good riddance to all the shiny bummed, time servers & vision free simulacrae & homunclae.
    Only the Greens have principle, vision and the decency to deal with the future which is rushing towards us.

  56. Graham R

    Yesterday I heard two separate Labor spokespeople refer to problems with Labor’s “brand.”

    Not a philosophy, not an idea, not an ideal, not a belief, not a direction – just a brand.

    And that, in a nutshell, is Labor’s problem.

  57. John Ryan

    Funny how 3 of the most corrupt,and dishonest Premiers where 2 Liberals and 1 National SB.
    Think of the crooks nestled in the LNP in QLD and there’s a few of em as the QLD voters sow so shall they reap

  58. Damotron

    The voters have moved to the right and don’t connect with Labor policies. The Government has good policies but the voters seem to be blinded by the right. While I’m at it I think the media in this country is a total disgrace. I don’t trust the media and view everything they say with suspicion.

  59. Suzanne Blake

    @ Damotron

    “I don’t trust the media and view everything they say with suspicion”

    Thats what people say in left wing Communist Countries as well and the extreme Right wing ones too, you know with Dictators.

  60. Suzanne Blake

    @ Lewis Keith

    Gillard and her minders forgot about that TV grab a week before the election.

    When she announced it a few months later, and the newsrooms played the grab, there was panic. I know people who emailed their local MP’s about it, with the subject line Carbon Tax and the MP replied a week later changing the subject field to a “Re: Price on Carbon”

  61. Worrierqueen

    Labor is stuffed. What the moronic neo-liberals in the party fail to understand is why would anyone vote ToryLite when in Abbott they’ve got the real McCoy?

    And because they have given up the debate and effectively said Labor’s always been wrong, and the tories always right, they have no raison d’etre anymore and condemned themselves by their own beliefs and actions. They are a dead parrot party and visionaries like Faulkner have now despaired that they can ever be revived.

  62. Edmund Moriarty

    Im my humble view, Labour only make sense if there is an exploitative untouchable employer who is condemning workers to grinding poverty, safety and health risks, suffering, and creating social problems as a result.

    They have no enemy employer to nobly target currently. They need an unlikeable enemy doing the wrong thing. They are trying to portray Clive Palmer as one; trouble is he is a generous boss-you can earn $200 grand with minimal skills in his company. They need to find some workplace in Australia, where there is gross exploitation, saftey issues, strikes etc.

    Instead there is a sort of anxiety at their heart, along the lines of “We have no fight to fight anymore-so how do we appeal to people?”

    Tax breaks to the large middle class, and flogging the small upper middle is one strategy. Fits the thinking behind Labour-the exploiting evil rich. All the major personal tax changes target those earning over $75,000 to pay more; be it carbon tax, flood tax, superannuation changes or private health insurance changes. Middle class welfare has ballooned under them, family tax benefit now a bigger cost than the age pension. MCW was Howards bribe to try and cling to power, now we seem to accept that middle income working families should not pay tax anymore. Lo and behold we can’t get a surplus anymore. Under $75,000 family income-no tax; over that straight onto 40+% tax.

    So lets spend more money on an NBN that no one thinks is worth it. Off Budget of course. Are you seriously going to pay $100 a month for better broadband, or $30 a month for your current broadband?

    Another big idea-the carbon tax-is it to save the environment, but somehow no one pays anything for it because of the attached handouts? Except the upper middle class. What kind of thinking is this?? And of course the flood tax will be continued in May-mark these words.

    Feverishly trying to find any way to win votes, or not lose votes, and appease the greens, does not make for satisfying viewing. Punish a small section of the community, reward the majority; then we can all eat cake.

    Queensland Labour had been in to long. Their Health Minister pushed through a payroll system against department advice-and hey presto one billion dollars was needed to fix it. Another bureaucrat took 100 million-in spite of warnings to senior people. People don’t forgive that kind of waste-and the health minister didn’t even get sacked-but graciously retired. Then Bruce Hawker decided a smear campaign was their best hope to win-people hate politicians doing nothing but smearing. Even on this left leaning web site, most people seem to spend more time talking about Abbott!

  63. Brady

    I actual think that the Queensland result has HELPED federal Labor more then it has hurt them.

    1. Federal Labor was already in very bad shape, how much worse can it really get?

    2. It gives fed Labor a wake up call (if they needed one) lol

    3. Most importantly, it gives the voter’s in Queensland (and N.S.W) a good length of time to be reminded of exactly what being under a liberal government is all about. For example, I bet there is A LOT of N.S.W teacher’s, nurses and firemen who will be much more hesitant to vote liberal in the next fed election, and exactly the same type of decision’s will be seen in Queensland. It’s unavoidable, the Lib’s are who they are, right wingers to the core

  64. Frank Campbell

    Progressive politics in Australia has decomposed into a glutinous mess. It took four days for Crikey to say anything about the Qld election and it came in the form of Rundle. Shambling, rambling, gesticulating Rundle. Like an ageing, overweight gymnast, he embarrasses the audience:

    “Queensland — a place that, like Vietnam or Dresden or Hell, has become an event”

    “We have seen such a mix of delusion, bafflement and before — the pyramid cities of the Lambayeque Valley in Peru for one, whose inhabitants believed they could hold off the approaching conquistadors if only they could tear enough hearts out of living chests.
    High-priestess Bligh’s asset sales was a mild re-enactment…”

    Much of Rundle’s “commentary” is a random assortment of hyperbolic waffle like this. There’s no coherent ideological, political or policy analysis.

    Most commentators are generalists. Fine, but even generalists need some grasp of economic and policy fundamentals. Rundle masks his ignorance of the real world with bluster. Energy policy for Rundle is whether or not to turn the lights off. Environmental action is replacing the dead potplant after each trip. Agriculture is something you fly over. Derivatives are not original, whatever they might be.

    Consequently Rundle is at the mercy of current orthodoxy on every aspect of corporate capitalism.

    His prescriptions therefore vacillate according to the vagaries of progressive opinion- and we know just how shambolic progressive opinion is because that’s where we came in- the glutinous mess.

    An example of a Rundle prescription: last year he bellowed that the Greens were the only genuine alternative to a vanishing, corrupt ALP. In this article he retreats somewhat from that. The Greens are now just one option: “In this scenario, the Left should actively desert Labor, throw its energy towards the Greens.”

    Really? For most of 2010, the hubris of the Greens was boundless. Mad Monk would split the Libs, Greens would capture lower house seats. Then Gillard’s coup gave power to the Greens. Brown boasted that the Greens would replace Labour.

    In fact the Gillard coup and subsequent election fiasco condemn the Greens to marginality and the ALP to near-oblivion. The carbon tax is their petard. Rundle’s profound ignorance of climate science and policy -and his blind trust in conventional opinion- is at the root of this crucial misjudgement: faith in climate millenarianism fell steadily from 2006. No Nostradamus required. The “climate” policies of the ALP were hopelessly misconceived, rorted and mismanaged. Energy policy privileged expensive, premature and/or useless renewable technologies. And the brazen hypocrisy of both sides of politics became clear to all- flog the fossil fuel boom while posturing in front of wind turbines…

    The Greens remain in denial- a sect which has forfeited any chance of electoral success because of slavish adherence to climate millenarianism and consequent neglect of the real environment. They’ll retain their True Believers. 10% of the vote. Disaffected ALP voters flocking to the Greens? Why? Labour’s core 25% will keep voting ALP. The Green vote in Qld fell by 1.1% in spite of the real and present danger that yappy, Putiny Newman will screw the environment even more than Bligh.

    The Greens are, as any decent Marxist should know, an inner-city professional, property-rich class. A cohort more than a class in fact. Their material interests shape their distinctive mentality( right Karl?)…which as they’ve prospered (mostly unearned, through property bubbles) has resulted in a grotesque mismatch between intense if inconspicuous consumption and parsimonious environmental ideology. Their relationship with the environment is symbolic: they live in and on concrete. They are carbon gluttons using solar panels paid for by the taxpayer.

    So I don’t see low-paid Labour-voting “service economy” workers flocking to the Greens.

    Progressive politics in Australia is indeed in a pathetic state- this Rundle Ramble is a symptom.

  65. Coaltopia

    From yesterday’s The Australian article “Wayne Swan dig at mining billionaires lost on Queensland coal seats”:

    “Founder of On Line Opinion and former Liberal Party office-holder Graham Young said the sort of class warfare Labor was offering was not relevant. “You look at miners — they might technically be blue-collar workers, but many of them want the second house on the coast and a trailer with a boat on it.””

    Which resonate with The Conversation article “From boom to bust: why Labor can no longer win in the West”:

    “Labor was nonetheless historically competitive, if not dominant, in WA for as long as the state was an economic laggard. But the onset of the permanent resources boom has helped generate the highest incomes in the country and correspondingly more-conservative voting patterns.”

  66. Schnappi


    Your figures regarding the NBN are not correct ,internode plan I will be on is $49.95 and that includes the fixed phone as well,making it $30 cheaper than I pay now.

  67. Suzanne Blake

    @ Author: Schnappi

    “Your figures regarding the NBN are not correct ,internode plan I will be on is $49.95 and that includes the fixed phone as well,making it $30 cheaper than I pay now”

    1. You are getting the slowest NBN service for $49.95
    2. You are only getting 30GB a month, then slowed to 128k, thats real slow
    3. 30GB is pathetic, you will use that in no time, unless you are alone and just do email.
    4. You still pay for phone calls?
    5. You pay for NBN router ($79 or $149)
    6. You are probably in Bigponds old $79.95 a month 12 GB service


    7. If you were on Dodo, TPG, Optus you would have a better deal with calls than the $79.95 plan

  68. Ian

    James K,

    I’m with you. I don’t understand why Queenslanders voted in the Liberals to punish Labor over its wholesale asset sales. Labor needed to be punished and severely punished but for God’s sake not by rewarding their fellow neo-liberal counterparts who are just going to do the same thing every chance they get. It’s insanity.

    It seems to me voters for some reason believe they have only two choices, Labor or Liberal so what can they do? I actually think they are right. There are only two choices, the Lib/Lab combo or anybody else. Anybody. Katter, the Greens, the Sex Party. Just anybody. Labor and Liberal need to be put last and second last on the ballot paper in whatever order people choose. For that matter voters could simply toss a coin to decide which privatizing party to place last and which to put just above them.

  69. Schnappi

    SB as usual you spout nonsense,I play onlinegames,that are metered,ever hear of metered progams and servers ,therefore 30GB is more than enough.

  70. Schnappi

    metered of course should have read Unmetered,which is why 30GB metered is plenty.

  71. Suzanne Blake

    @ Schnappi

    What, you plan Call of Duty on xbox and thats unmetered?

  72. floorer

    Re NBN, nice work SCHNAPPI. Can’t believe this FUD is still kicking around.

  73. Schnappi

    BLAKE you are unhinged like clive,firstly have no xbox but play that game on unmetered PC servers,you are the dumbest idiot on the internet and know nothing about unmetered online gaming,this time you will be ignored as nothing but a dumb stirrer.

  74. Schnappi

    Should have added Xbox is microsoft and people have to pay Microsoft to play anything online,nothing to do with ISP’s like Internode.

  75. Thorn

    While I understand that not everyone is completely enamoured with the ALP, it is amazing to me that some would turn to the Liberals as an alternative. Seriously, at the Federal level the Liberals are clearly so far out of their depth that it would be irresponsible to let them any where near the Government benches.

    I have not seen a less likely group of people ever try to gain control of a countries government. Economically, the Liberal Axis of Economic Ignorance have not made a single sensible policy comment for four years, and their attempts to paint the Labor Government as lacking have only impressed complete idiots that think Alan Jones et al somehow present a ‘fair and balanced’ programme.

    When I see people here like Suzanne Blake, (who is possibly the most one eyed person I have ever read) continually support the Liberals, (in the face of their obvious total lack of understanding of what is going on economically here and around the world) I have to wonder how such obviously intelligent people could continually advocate them as an alternative to a Government that has so emphatically done such a good job of running Australia over the last few years.

    Still, that democracy I guess. Sometimes the ‘people’s’ own stupidity can result in Governments they deserve, rather than the ones that work. To claim that the present government has failed, is to completely ignore every econimic and financial indicator and to instead just run with tired old generalities that simply do not exist today.

  76. Edward James

    @ Thorn. I have become pragmatic. After more then ten years of going cap in
    hand with issues of abuse of political power and corrupt conduct, at Local
    government level. Which I then took to State level representatives and
    before you ask everywhere else, as part of the process only to be ignored
    again and again. I then progressed to very overt political complaints about
    my corrupt council naming those whom I blamed for denying property rights
    and due process. I realized several years ago I was on my own, I resolved
    to use my elected representatives as the tools they are, any way I can to
    get what I want. That is the political thing is it not? I wanted the local
    Labor party member gone because it was clear to me she would not exercise
    her inflorescence on my behalf with the Labor team players. What may be
    interesting as I write I am pragmatic. I also wanted the Federal Liberal
    Member gone for the same reason failing to represent constituents
    effectively. As elected representatives these and others I had approached
    were insistent on accommodating their party team players abusing their
    elected positions on local council. Consider this, an answer to your
    comment The LNP was the best tool for Queenslanders to kick as much of the
    Labor party team players right out of the Queensland Parliament into the
    street, denying Labor the past access to taxpayers money while they sat
    resting on the opposition benches. Over years people like me had taken to
    calling (Labor and Liberal Coalition) the two parties not much preferred. I
    believe people started to listen to each other and not endlessly spinning
    politicians. They asked themselves; why would we continue to take turns
    letting dead wood politicians often exposed as criminal grubs ride on our
    collective backs, turn and turn about? Thorn I believe there has been a
    determined effort to dismantle Labor and cut off its pipe line into our tax
    revenue. Confirmed when I received a request for donations from the Leader
    of what is left of the Labor Party opposition in NSW John Robertson. The LNP
    was perceived as the best tool to take Labor right out of Parliament.
    Perhaps they are not going to be just wonderful, but the alternate was to
    keep putting up with garbage politicians who have long forgotten how to
    engage with their constituents. Following on from the NSW voters lead if we
    the people hold our resolve to reject dead wood politicians, the political
    vacuum we are making by ripping the political party weeds from our garden
    bed of democracy will permit new people complete with their own minds and
    backbones to move into our Parliaments. Taxpayers like me are way past tired
    of being lied to by the very people we give our votes to in trust and those
    who blindly continue to support them. We have come to understand if any
    politician is willing to keep lying to us or support their team players who
    lie to us, they are unfit to represent anyone. Thinking Australians are off
    to a good start if they want to make a political journey toward honest
    representative government, they have taken the first small steps on a move
    toward change. I make no distinction between Federal State and Local politicians.
    We have a Federal Parliamant which has sat on its hands while MP Craig Thomson has stone walled constituents aand everyone else too perhaps we just do not know. I believe what Labor and the opporsition permit brings the process of Federal Parliement it into disrepute.
    Edward James

  77. Ian


    I don’t know what sort of job Labor has done from an economic point of view, probably not too bad a job for the short term but there is no base case scenario against which it could be measured.

    But its long term vision, like that of the Liberals is absent and its has the same generally failed neo liberal policy ideology as its rivals and same one that has led to the severe economic and social justice crises that have hit the developed world.

    Labor is extremely worrisome in its stance on the American empire wars and expansionist desires into the Asia Pacific region, on refugees, on the environment, on Wikileaks and many other areas of concern to many people.

    China is what’s propping us up not Labor and we are doing our best to upset them with are increasing military ties with the US.

  78. David Rees

    Labor don’t stand for Australia thats for sure. Maybe they stand for some whacky socialist agenda but definatly not whats best for Austraia

  79. Dogs breakfast

    I just don’t buy these sorts of arguments any more.

    A better analysis suggests that we have entered a post-political period, I don’t think that people give much of a rat’s any more, except for the rusted on morons of left and right (SB anyone.

    There isn’t that much difference between the two parties, where they differ often has no connection with what was supposed to be their base ideology (taxing big companies for exorbitant maternity leave payments anyone???)

    Each party only exists in the very small window of where they differ in policies, or moreso where thye can create the illusion of difference.

    So people decide on other issues, and I suspect that ‘it’s time’ is a big part of that, not reneging on blatant policies is probably a big factor (not for ideological reasons, but for sheer trust factors) and finally a generic sense of competence.

    The Greens offer the only alternative narrative to the two main parties. It doesn’t matter so much who is in power out of the two parties as much as the personality and vision of the leader matters.

    In that respect Tony Abbott would be a terrible choice for Australia.

    Political analysis has to get past this idea that it means anything to people these days. We are post-political now, and we are post-meaning.

    So where are we going, and why are we in a handbasket?

  80. Boo

    Part of the problem for labor is that people have come to see their interests being served better by the liberal coalition. Or having been led to that point by middle class welfare, etc. That can all change if Abbott goes too far / performs poorly, a bit of economic trouble, etc.

    Reckon Tony might just be the man to provide the reality check, let people figure out where their interests really sit. And if he does it well enough he might just give labor back a more modern narrative.

  81. Frank Campbell

    DogsB: “We are post-political now, and we are post-meaning.

    So where are we going, and why are we in a handbasket?”

    There’s a connection between your statement and question. The question is right – (you know where we’re going, and the mode of conveyance), and the statement is wrong. We are neither post-political or post-meaning. Class, capitalism, ideology…they’re all going full bore. The collapse of Stalinism just made it seem that capitalism- as it happens to be at the moment- is immutable. But the GFC alone loosened the fangs of the beast…and europe is now in a state of shock. Didn’t take much for the Gordon Gekkos to cringe into the foetal position- just the usual capitalist greed-binge…

    Stalinism was always a crude imitation of capitalism. As if a Leninist committee could match the speed and subtlety of markets…Leninism is capitalism designed by a camel and run by a thug.

    Daniel Bell wrote “The End of Ideology” in…1960. Fukuyama published the “End of History…” in 1992. So nothing new about being Post-everything. Even Post-modern.

    It’s an illusion. Usually based on hubristic assumptions such as the triumph of “economic liberalism”. There’s nothing “liberal” about Greece, Ireland etc…

    Of course there’s been a convergence of political parties- they just compete to be the “best economic managers”…they share the same consultants, assumptions, education, post-codes…but the political class will shatter if and when the system does. Inequality has sharply increased under corporate capitalism, the environment is being screwed…there are lots of seismic stresses in the thin crust of Bells and Fukuyamas who think they’ve mastered the universe…

  82. Ian


    I’d be interested in your view of when/if the crisis in the northern hemisphere will hit Australia? Will the 85% or so of people in this country who are just rolling along as usual, voting for the same old parties and dismissive of activists and progressive values, ever reach the point where they turn against the status qou.

    What I find extremely disappointing about what’s happening in Europe and America is that all the protests and outcry has not translated into ditching the neo liberals where elections have taken place, eg Spain and Ireland. They simply vote to replace the incumbent with the alternative whether or not they are seen to be more or less right wing.

    The Queensland electors chose the same self destructive course. Don’t these people have any imagination at all?

  83. Edward James

    @ Ian. Australian voters have witnessed how it is possible to get the job done by dismantling Labor at the polling booth in Queensland and before that in NSW. There are now opportunities for other political hopefuls to strut their stuff in local communities. Queensland’s local council elections at the end of April I expect will permit voters to confirm it was not an anomaly voters I am sure meant it! I can’t wait to see if the peoples will put Labor last on every local council ballot paper there too. For too many years Labor have shown themselves incapable or simply unwilling to put out the garbage. So it falls to their long suffering constituents to get the job done. i consider it to be like ripping a dirty bandage. Edward James

  84. Venise Alstergren

    GUY RUNDLE: You really brought the wrath of the letters from the ‘Hate Guy Rundle’ brigade down on your own head. “”In the aftermath of Queensland — a place that, like Vietnam or Dresden or Hell, has become an event ”” Sounds like you’re passing on some scandal to a cocktail party hostess. Not one of your finer moments.

    Politicians should have a paradigm to work towards before getting into parliament-not just while in opposition. Seldom has Australia been in greater need of politicians who do have a sense of idealism than in 2012. Admittedly the Liberals have never pretended to have a philosophy but the Labor Party has. And Australians who seem to be deaf to the roar of mining equipment ripping the guts out of the land in order to flog off minerals to China and India, have seldom been in greater need of a political party with a sense of raison d’être. This makes the way to vote at the next election quite simple. Vote Green, you punters, vote Green.

  85. Frank Campbell

    Ian: The heebie-jeebies have struck the Eurozone again today…Spain this time. Printing money (which they said they’d never do, then had to do anyway) will defer the eurozone crisis for a time, but the scale of debt in some countries is too great – so we’ll see more Greek quasi-bankruptcies before long…

    The yanks printed trillions, socialised corporations etc…huge currency devaluation, which stimulated exports. But they’re two different systems- the US is based on cheap migrant labour, minimal safety net, a permanently insecure middle class etc. In other words, Americans are used to being screwed by feral capitalism.

    If Australia had middle and working class whites made homeless on that scale, cities would be burning.

    Of course no one knows if or when Oz will be struck down by a tsunami of dead Gordon Gekkos…you know the refrain- China, resources, etc. If the corpse does hit the fan, expect a variety of apparently extinct ideologies, sudden revival of the Left and the magical reappearance of the ALP dodo. No doubt the Lunar Right will also re-emerge, invading Glebe to hunt down the King of the Greens.

    Don’t be too hard on the europeans for merely rioting- they love their relatively civilised Europe and are told the bad old days will return if the Eurozone collapses, so drink the medicine. Corporate capitalism instantly stripped the taxpayer to rescue itself (everywhere), and the swine carried on exactly as before- bonuses, corporate bonding, resorts…they’re now sacking millions because the SS Gluttony still takes on water…time really is running out though- the tipping point might be sooner than we think…Then we’ll see just how vicious the ruling class is- they could only briefly tolerate the tame Gandhian “Occupy this or that Park” before sending in the dogs.

    If Gekko hits the fan, the best we can expect for now is to redefine the limits of corporatism- (the Trots were right, I am a mere Meliorist), but that will seem radical compared to the vast, stinking shitcastle the corporates have erected around themselves in the past 25 years.

    Demolishing the Shitcastle: Essential Reforms- here’s a few:

    -Tight regulatory controls on and exposure of everything the turds want to do- salaries public and capped;corporate space converted back to public space; lanyards banned; kill off “commercial-in-confidence”, decorporatisation of all public insitutions such as universities (destroyed by corporate ideology and management), hospitals, schools and quangos; Assume that every single action by a coorporation is against the public interest unless proved otherwise- so whatever the scum want to do, those directly affected AND the various elected levels of Govt. must scrutinise it before, during and after implementation.

    -Extractive capitalists in particular should be subject to stringent environmental controls to an extent never seen before. I know from long experience how rules, regulations, self-regulation, laws etc are invariably traduced by corporates and their colonised public officials if there is no public scrutiny or people-power. Take the trucking “industry” for example- many inquiries have shown that it is terminally corrupt, 80% take drugs to stay awake, trucks are illegally modified etc. Yet it took a single road crash for the useless police to act- Caramba! they discovered institutionalised slime everywhere they looked. Last week at a traffic light I was next to a Scott’s truck. All three wheels I could see close up were bald. Trivial but symptomatic. (Not trivial at all if you’re the Hamburger in the Honda…)

    My point is that the default position of every single capitalist organisation is to cheat, rip off, lie, evade, obfuscate and defecate on basic human rights.

    Note also that corporate language is a vital ingredient- highly toxic. Corporate verbal sludge, ideology, mission statements and especially rising inflection must be ridiculed out of existence…Gregorian choral groups could chant Corporate Goals at annual general meetings…

    Alongside the quarantining and scrutiny of the denizens of Shitcastle, we need new public institutions, political parties, temporary and permanent popular organisations- and new forms of economic organisation. There are plenty around- people like us live largely outside the system right now, We now have a tool- the net. The Shitcastle can’t be stormed by the masses- it needs to decay into compost because the citizenry build their own alternatives.

    I’d go on, but nature calls…

  86. AR

    FrankC – sometimes you aren’t completely wrong but must you be so otiose & verbose? Your pertinent point could have been made in <10% of the verbiage you shovel out.
    More is less.

  87. lilac

    The ALP I have known for my 30 adult years is long gone.
    The treatment of refugees by this government is an absolute disgrace! How the party that had always been for the disenfranchised and most vulnerable can adopt policies of the racist and facist Howard government is beyond comprehension!
    So the media have a sinister motive to dislodge the Gillard government (the campaign of negativity launched has been unprecedendented).
    Big deal Labor! Get back to your grassroots and you may manage to survive.
    Alas I feel it is too late, you have lost the core of your base to the Greens and you deserve it!
    The Coalition releasing their latest vote grabbing policy of a Nanny Rebate Scheme is reflective of modern day politics. Meanwhile the selfless, stay at home carers’ of elderly and intellectually disabled relatives are once again entirely forgotten and neglected by both parties.These are the true Australians. The burden and the cost they relieve on the tax payer, driven purely by love, is never recognised, rewarded or appreciated.
    The upper middlecrass who would otherwise wage war on any form of handout, state assistance, social responsibility, call it what you like are deafeningly silent in anticipation of their latest windfall.
    In the decade or so under the Howard regime we saw an entire nation devolve into brainwashed, xenophobic, selfish introverts and the best student of these teachings has been the ALP.

  88. Ian


    You say, “My point is that the default position of every single capitalist organisation is to cheat, rip off, lie, evade, obfuscate and defecate on basic human rights.”

    This is almost, or, in fact IS, designed into the system. We excuse corporations by saying and believing their job is to make profits… that’s their job, no need for ethics or moral principals. Someone else can worry about those. Perhaps our governments should do it? But hang on! Wait! Our governments have been bought by these very same institutions! What are we to do? Hold a raffle; see if we can collect enough money to buy them back or at least rent them for a time until we can down size these corporate monsters and take back society and the planet?

    I cant believe that the 1% can’t work out for themselves that they are pushing us all to the cliff’s edge and that they are heading there themselves as a consequence. The royalty on Easter Island eventually succumbed to their own greed and hubris along with the serfs that served them. So it will be for the civilization on this planet. There’s nowhere to go once we have f*cked it up.

    I can’t believe I used that “f” word. I must be upset.

  89. Edward James

    What is the point of the phrase, Good corporate citizen? Edward James

  90. Frank Campbell

    AR: If I’ve irritated you, that’s made my day. You’re just another anonymous troll.

    Ian:” Our governments have been bought by these very same institutions!”

    It’s worse than that- the essence of corporatism as an ideology (as opposed to an organisational system) is that it colonises other organisations. All those important to corporate capitalism. So efficient. Why waste time and money cajoling, bribing, threatening and infiltrating when your clones are inside the target? They share your assumptions, training, ideology and income.

    This is true down to the lowest levels- take our local council: the “shire offices” look like a public loo. The council has the turnover of a large milkbar in Hawthorn. The handful of local towns are miniscule and stagnant/dying. There is no industry. The land is poor…But corporatism rules at the shire hall: the titles are magnificent- “Director Corporate Services” , “Director Assets and Development”…this in a council which couldn’t/wouldn’t provide a ute for its busiest official, the dog and and wandering stock ranger, for many years. I phoned the Council last week to ask them to exterminate a large European wasp nest on the roadside (Council’s responsibility). I’d been attacked by a swarm when I accidentally disturbed the nest removing a tree which had fallen onto my fence from council land. “Not our problem” said the council- try DSE. DSE said “typical council response- they are responsible”. I cajoled Council in my usual Crikey manner- bombast, ridicule, threats of exposure etc. Instant success- phone call from “Director Assets and Devt”- he’s on the road, driving to the distant home of a retired gent who has no phone but who is reputed to deal with wasps. Gent arrives here, kills wasps and tells me that council won’t pay anyone to do the job. He’s a volunteer.

    These council “executives” earn big money. They get cars. They attend conferences. They travel. They pontificate to the impoverished locals. The state and ratepayers pay for this corporate charade. Residents receive virtually no services at all.

    But it gets much, much worse: this tiny clique of commuting corporates attacks the basic economic, health and social interests of the peasantry by facilitating massive devt of timber plantations and wind turbines. These are both job killers, road destroyers, noise horrors and environmental vandals. No regulations are enforced to control these corporate thugs- “we don’t have the staff”….

    So local corporate clones act as agents for global corporations.

  91. Edward James

    @ Frank Campbell. When pundits like Ian write about excusing our corporations because they are just doing their jobs. He and I expect many others reading Crikey.com should reflect on their part in the running of their elected corporate entities, which they would know as their Local Councils. Certainly I would agree these kindergarten of governments show no interest collectivly in ethics or moral principals. The Someone else is you Ian and me! It is up to us to control how our elected corporate entities conduct our civic business. When you write “Perhaps our governments should do it?” Understand our governments are us you and me! We dont need to hold a raffel it is called a ballot. Queensland and NSW have shown what we need to do to retake control of our Parliaments and Local Councils. Get involved instead of being as Karen says an interested observer Edward James

  92. Edward James

    Geewiz Frank I only just read the full post ! My local council Gosford is like the wasp nest you identify at Hawthorn (Victoria?) I can’t get Gosford exterminated no matter how I try and no matter the body count to my community. Local councils Australia wide are elected corporate entities and their conduct and the responcibility for that conduct belongs to ratepayers. When people get the right to exercise a vote (like a birthday entitlement) most of us hope to god others have enough brains to exercise it to good purpose for us all, rather than simply give it away by ticking one above the line ! Edward James

  93. shepherdmarilyn

    I used to be a labor person while Gough was around. When Hawke sold the country to Murdoch I supported anyone but the ALP or liberal party.

  94. shepherdmarilyn

    And even today the worthless ALP think that 90 days jail for no reason for asylum seekers is a good idea.

    What about no fucking detention at all.

  95. Suzanne Blake

    Looks like Labor have finally ended up with 7 seats in Queensland, with a final count known by Easter. Looks like they cannot with an eighth seat.

    So, Toyota wins the bet. The Tarago has more seats that the ALP in Queensland.

    Will save Newman a packet in car costs.

  96. Mal White

    A friendly hint for grammatically challenged individuals or in the old language: people that can’t spell.
    It is not to difficult to have your computer underline in red any word that is spelt wrong. If you are using Firefox or Chrome as your browser it already has a built in spell checker. For Internet Explorer you can add a free spell checker or wait for version IE10 which will have one built in.


    If you don’t care, just ignore my comment.

  97. Mal White

    A friendly hint for grammaticall.y challenged individuals or in the old language: people that can’t spell.
    It is not to difficult to have your computer underline in red any word that is spelt wrong. If you are using Firefox or Chrome as your browser it already has a built in spell checker. For Internet Explorer you can add a free spell checker or wait for version IE10 which will have one built in.

    If you don’t care, just ignore my comment.

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation”.
    (A pity it cannot exterminate auto bot moderators).

  98. Ian

    Edward James,

    Your observations about local councils is spot on from what I know of them. The CEOs are all clones of each other and act just like corporate CEOs do. The councils seem to be largely populated by people with their own economic self-interest in mind rather than that of the community. Those that do not have vested interests are fewer because it involves a lot of work within a basically hostile environment with most things stacked against them – and there’s no personal gain.

    By the way I am not just a pundit (a word a don’t like) siting on the sidelines spouting off, although I do that. I have, and continue to be, active in one way or the other on environmental and human rights issues, but I am tired of banging my head against a wall and am somewhat disheartened and lack the energy I once had.

    Good luck in your battles within your hornet’s nest of a local council.

  99. Suzanne Blake

    @ shepherdmarilyn

    Marilyn, you can pound away, but only around 5% of Australia agree with you, maybe 8%

  100. Edward James

    @ Ian
    Posted Saturday, 31 March 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink Thanks for the kind words! Fighting a very public fight for natural justice with my elected representatives for over ten yeas has taken its toll. Friends fall away because they can’t be bothered maintaining the rage against the political machine. Most peoples are too preoccupied keeping a roof over their heads and feeding their families. Many people who are being damaged by what I often identify as political sins against the people are not willing to take their elected their representatives on in public, because they have the good sense to fear defamation laws or other responses. I append my name to what I write because I am actively involved in trying to influence the way we are governed or misgoverned depending on the point of view. I resent the term chattering classes, which I understand has been used by politicians to describe the way members of the proletariat endlessly discuss the way they are governed without resolving to vote to bring about real change. There are over 140 local councils in NSW. Gosford with a body count of five has been publicly accused of misleading the State Coroner during an inquiry. It is just one of many which need a very close look. Edward James

  101. Karen

    @ SB – Marilynshepherd is right. Even if you are correct about public sentiment, this does not make mandatory detention, let alone detention in third world islands, putting to one side our legal obligations, appropriate.

    Given that most Australians support on-shore processing, however, I am inclined to think that a not insignificant percentage of Australians would also support the dismantling of the mandatory detention system, in the absence of politicisation. No chance of that occurring under the Libs who will stoop to anything for political capital on their road to power. I don’t exonerate Labor who was also guilty here in trying to promulgate the Malaysia solution, thankfully, with little success.

    The plain fact of the matter is that the immigration system, prior to mandatory detention, worked perfectly well. It was, and is, an easier, healthier, cheaper, and humane solution. There is absolutely no reason not to reintroduce it. Most refugees and, for that matter, immigrants, more broadly , assimilate and turn out to be useful and productive workers and self-employed operators. They are important, indeed, vital to the cultural and economic development of our country.

    I think JG will probably let sleeping dogs lie and continue with the onshore processing of refugees (into the community), as she should.

  102. Karen

    ‘into’ should read ‘within’ – second last line.

  103. Suzanne Blake

    Dishonest Gillards last public walk, unscripted and unmanaged by media minders.

    Thats right almost the first and last of “wearing out the shoe leather”


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