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A long parliament?

November 27th, 2009

Suppose that the delusionists can manage to force a party meeting tomorrow, and move a spill motion which will surely succeed. Then presumably, even if Hockey gets up, the Libs will kill the ETS deal. At this point, it makes sense for Labor to want a double dissolution. More it makes sense for them to keep Parliament sitting as long as possible to get extra triggers. Obviously the Reps is no problem. For the Senate, the Libs presumably need their votes + 2 more to pass a motion to adjourn. So, if Labor can keep Xenophon and the Greens onside, which would make sense for them in a lot of ways, they can keep Parliament sitting for another couple of weeks while the Libs tear each other apart. Any thoughts on the practicality of this?

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  1. Hermit
    November 27th, 2009 at 06:14 | #1

    The irony is that the Libs are giving Rudd an undeserved free ride. The ETS is deeply flawed for the reasons given in the series of Crikey articles to which I’d add some other criticisms. By playing out a side drama they are not helping to iron out those flaws. They could regroup and claw back some lost political ground. For example there is untapped support base of ‘nuclear greens’ who don’t know where to put their vote.

    Thus I suggest the Libs go with the flow for now. The likelihood is that in 2010 there will be major teething problems with the ETS and more bad climate news. They could steer a middle course though all of that. As it is the public must be wondering whether politicians represent public money well spent. If politicians can’t help resolve a global crisis real or perceived what use are they?

  2. Rationalist
    November 27th, 2009 at 07:18 | #2

    Stick to the economics, John :P .

    This is the kind of pointless snark that leads to bans. If you have something to say, say it. Otherwise, back away from the keyboard, slowly Also, please use a contactable email address for future posts, as required in the discussion policy -JQ.

  3. Donald Oats
    November 27th, 2009 at 07:19 | #3

    Well, Tony “The Rabbit” Abbott has chucked his hat in the ring for the opposition leadership position. It has been a most instructive few months, but I am not at all surprised at Nick Minchin biding his time until this fortnight just gone. The timing has been exceptional by him and his final instrument of Turnbull’s Torture – Tony “The Rabbit” Abbott, whose right hook is legendary, but not as good as the “knife – in – the – back – and – gun – to – the – head – oops – it – went – off” technique of destroying a leader.

    I was going to compile a list of the treacherous turds turncoats in the Liberal party, but maybe it is easier to list the complement: {“Turnbull”, “McFarlane”}.

  4. November 27th, 2009 at 07:24 | #4

    Why ‘extra triggers’? What’s the difference between having several double dissolution triggers rather than just one?

  5. Donald Oats
    November 27th, 2009 at 07:30 | #5

    Should be interesting to see how the Labor party manages the strategy today. Perhaps they would be wiser to attempt to create a double dissolution trigger with this bill. If the Liberals are antagonised enough into voting it down, then off we race to the double dissolution election, and don’t spare the horses!

    A truly Macchiavellian stunt would be to create a DDT – assuming the Libs look like forcing a delayed ETS to miss Copenhagen – and I was wondering if chucking a “conscience” vote on the ETS bill, and allowing Labor members to cross the floor to the Liberal side would sink the bill! Anyone know if the house rules prevent a DDT in that situation? Technically the bill would have failed on two presentations.

    Must be something in the coffee at the Oats household today :P

  6. jquiggin
    November 27th, 2009 at 07:31 | #6

    @Tom Davies It means they can pass the bills at the joint sitting, with or without Green support, but now you mention it, I’m not sure if there are any relevant examples.

  7. November 27th, 2009 at 07:42 | #7

    Pr Q said:

    it makes sense for them to keep Parliament sitting as long as possible to get extra triggers. Obviously the Reps is no problem. For the Senate, the Libs presumably need their votes + 2 more to pass a motion to adjourn. So, if Labor can keep Xenophon and the Greens onside, which would make sense for them in a lot of ways, they can keep Parliament sitting for another couple of weeks while the Libs tear each other apart.

    Pr Q

    I know that your only wish for Christmas is for an effective CPRS. But you are sounding more and more like an ALP strategist every day.

    Hockey has said that he will not stand against Turnbull if Turnbull remains in the contest. And Turnbull will not resign and go quietly if there is a spill. So Hockey is out for the time being.

    So the most likely scenario is an LP spill with Turnbull and Abbott facing off. I predict that Turnbull will win, just.

    If the LP elect Abbott then they are effectively saying goodbye to any chance at the 2013 election, never mind 2010.

    The LP Right are truly fruitloops if this occurs. All it will do will deliver the balance of power to the GREENs either at a Double Dissolution or 2010 election.

    So in exchange for delaying ETS for a maximum of one year the LP Right will then see their mortal enemies stip all the hard-won concessions that Turnbull managed to eke out of Rudd and any realistic chance at power for the next four years.

    By that time the LP will have come around to an ETS one way or another. So it will have all been for naught, actually negative.

    It could precipitate the long-predicted Right-wing split, shades of the UAP. But I think not. Andrew Elder suggested that LP Right opposition to ETS resembled their opposition to Medicare in the eighties.

    There has been a lot of wishful thinking that the Liberals’ inability to come to terms with anthropomorphic global warming is like the Labor split of the 1950s and ’60s – it isn’t. Some have involed the centenary of Fusion to claim this is the end of conservative politics in this country once and for all – it isn’t. The historical parallel is with the Libs’ implacable hatred of Medicare throughout the 1980s and ’90s. As soon as they got over themselves, making Medicare a neutral issue and denying the stick for Labor to beat them with, they became electable again.

    They kicked and screamed for a decade but eventually were dragged into accepting it without a split. OTOH they did not change leaders on that issue, AFAIK.

    More and more this LP division looks like the Mother of All Temper Tantrums rather than a true ideological schism.

  8. nanks
    November 27th, 2009 at 07:53 | #8

    ignore – just trying to get my email saved correctly.

  9. jquiggin
    November 27th, 2009 at 07:57 | #9

    On Medicare, I was politically active throughout this period and I don’t remember this at all. The AMA kicked and screamed until Brendan Nelson replaced Bruce Shepherd (1993 according to Wikipedia). But for the Liberal party in general, it wasn’t an issue. Labor (re)introduced it in as part of the Accord, and the Libs (IIRC) promised to keep it at every election from 1994. They had to, having made, and broken, a similar promise with respect to the original Whitlam-Hayden Medicare.

    It doesn’t do to get carried away, but if you look at the delusionist Liberal commentariat, I don’t think you see much support for the “tantrum” viewpoint. They are convinced this is when they finally win.

  10. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:16 | #10

    Surely a long parliament would mess up christmas vacation plans for too many senators. This issue is important but it isn’t urgent.

  11. Fran Barlow
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:22 | #11

    There has been a lot of wishful thinking that the Liberals’ inability to come to terms with anthropomorphic global warming

    Good grief !!! Global warming with human attributes!!! Does it have consciousness? A sense of its own mortality? A desire to pass on its genes? Ethics? Empathy? Should one call it Gaia?

    These right wingers really are an ignorant lot.

  12. Rationalist
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:32 | #12

    @Rationalist
    John, my email address is contactable :) .

  13. November 27th, 2009 at 08:34 | #13

    “… Libs tear each other apart.”
    I suspect that’s what Rudd planned all along with the “Coalition Party Reduction Scheme”. See Now I see why our CO2 Emissions Reduction Target is so low

  14. Fran Barlow
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:39 | #14

    Then presumably, even if Hockey gets up, the Libs will kill the ETS deal.

    I cant see how he can John. Unless he has joined the camp described by Turnbull as ‘do-nothing on climate change’ how could he contemplate standing? He has to have a different policy from Turnbull otherwise the ructions continue. And why would anyone with ambitions to be PM want to be in charge of that rabble? Nobody in his or her right mind thinks Abbott could lead a cohesive and victorious team at the next election. They are heading for 1966 with colours reversed and years of rancour not dissimilar to the ALP in ’55 after that. This is ideological.

    So, if Labor can keep Xenophon and the Greens onside, which would make sense for them in a lot of ways, they can keep Parliament sitting for another couple of weeks while the Libs tear each other apart. Any thoughts on the practicality of this?

    It sounds like a good idea. The Greens and Xenophon say they want the matter discussed and they aren’t for putting off action. Fielding may go the other way but the longer this plays out, especially in the “silly season” the worse it is for the Libs — and of course, the government wants its trigger. One argument against the DD from the ALP POV is that it might have put them into the position of being dependent on Green support, but the Libs are decomposing at a rate which would probably result in them allowing an ALP majority in its own right, rendering the Green numbers moot. The talk is that in NSW the right are going to block pre-selection of Liberal senate candfidates who are pro-mitigation/ETS. That would make them damn near unelectable except to the hard core and you could get Turnbull campaigning against them.

    That said, a Christmas election is a bad time to have one and January is too hot in many places. The better option would be to negotiate with the Greens wait until February, and start the whole road show again for a March election, after which the last thing in the minds of most of the punters will be the long hot summer of drought and bushfire — a perfect storm.

  15. 2 tanners
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:45 | #15

    I would love to see a spill, followed by a refusal, followed by a far less generous and significantly more ambitious scheme which would be agreed with the Greens. It would leave the centre in Rudd’s hands and allow him to retake part of the left. The right is already being alienated by his too-soft handling of boat people, according to the polling.

    He doesn’t need more triggers – he does need clear rejection of a Bill to be sure of a trigger. What he should be looking at is whether there are other legislative priorities unlikely to get through this or a post DD Senate, and to get them considered in the first part of next year.

  16. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:46 | #16

    @Rationalist
    been swimming and feeling good…now ROFL at ‘back away from the keyboard slowly’ (dont look left dont look right and put your hands up!)….I dont suppose anyone knows how much this blog makes me laugh and Ratio you deserved that one.

  17. Donald Oats
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:46 | #17

    If the destroyerati carry out their denied but so far predictiable countdown to destruction – of CPRS before Copenhagen and Liberal party – they will filibust in the senate today. I’m hoping that the senate is full of actual senators today, mainly from Greens and Labor ranks. Perhaps senate time may be further extended?

    Whatever happens from here on, Minchin et al have told me clearer than Howard ever did what the Liberal party really stands for rather than what they claim to stand for.

    How many others feel like me, I wonder? Trapped by the politics of those who lack the knowledge – by choice in some cases – to understand what they are opposing, with their opposition dictated by simple ideology and f*** the people, the party, the parliament. Trapped by the poltics of those who want an ETS with more subsidies than revenue (I think, it is too hard to work out ahh it Hurts!! It Hurts! Make it Go Away!!), in order not to frighten business big business big, or international, business f*****g Humungous World Dominating Business. Trapped by those who understandably want the science to determine targets etc, not political expediency, but whose policies are not well communicated to Australian citizens. Trapped by independent senator(s) who want lots of babies and think an international body wouldn’t want as many babies due to population growth’s impact on resources. Trapped.

  18. Freelander
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:46 | #18

    It would be good if a fund was put together to campaign for politicians to start taking climate change seriously. A campaign could also target deniers who are putting themselves up for relection. To target those deniers all that would be required is for someone to debate them and quote some of their more extreme claims back to them.

  19. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:52 | #19

    Trapped and utterly conned and ripped off Don and surrounded by utterly laughable (if it wasnt so twisted and sad) lunatics in politics.

  20. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 08:54 | #20

    Malcolm falling on this issue is going to do that party more harm than Brogden ever did.

  21. nanks
    November 27th, 2009 at 09:09 | #21

    Mike Fitzsimon :
    “… Libs tear each other apart.”
    I suspect that’s what Rudd planned all along with the “Coalition Party Reduction Scheme”. See Now I see why our CO2 Emissions Reduction Target is so low

    It’s win win for Rudd and the wealthy. As per Bob Brown from your blog “et the ETS legislation will lock them in until 2020 since any increase will trigger compensation claims worth billions of dollars.”

    I would think the perfect outcome for Rudd and his homies is pass this crap legislation now then modify later so as to trigger the compensation and shift even more billions to the buds.

  22. Rationalist
    November 27th, 2009 at 09:15 | #22

    @Alice
    Comedy is always a nice thing to have.

    @2 tanners
    Rudd is smart enough not to negotiate with the Greens on this issue.

  23. Paul Williams
    November 27th, 2009 at 09:19 | #23

    If Rudd rushes through this ETS legislation, taking advantage of the last few days of Turnbull’s leadership to get the Liberal votes he needs, then he will fully own it, in the eyes of the electorate.

    So any electoral backlash, once the costs mount and there is no visible benefit to the pain, will be directed mainly at Rudd and Labor.

    In my opinion, voter sentiment is turning rapidly against the global warming scammers (is it ok for a delusionist to say that here?). It’s almost like a tipping point has been reached!

  24. MH
    November 27th, 2009 at 09:53 | #24

    JQ- Interesting possibilities are unfolding but I am not convinced Labour would improve it’s Senate numbers with a double dissolution and i am sure both major parties will bleed votes to the Greens and the independents. Labour is not that far ahead on a two party preferred basis despite Rudd’s personal standing. They would get the benefit of a joint sitting but lose control of the Senate to independents and the greens. I am also not convinced that the ETS has the perceived levels of voter support that are presumed and a campaign run hard on hip pocket impacts maybe just enough to scare the bejeesus out of your average voter and spook them into voting against it. There is absolutely no support for ETS in rural areas and your battlers are going to be a very hard ask once the spin is on about it being a big tax impost and it will do nothing for the environment. We will be in the grip of the second dip of the GFC by then – so all in all the Libs and the Nats by their stupidity have screwed us all.

  25. Peter Evans
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:34 | #25

    MH, according to Antony Green’s analysis, the ALP would most likely pick up three senators in a half senate election, and 1 to 3 senators in a DD. The coaltion would lose 2 to 5 in a half-senate election, and 5 in a DD (where “others” pick up quite a few). Sounds about right to me. Another consequence of a DD is deciding which senators get to be “long term” and which get to face re-election at the next poll (there’s all mannerof precedence here, plus some constitutional considerations), which boost ALP numbers in the subsequent poll.

    Green also has a very strong argument why there will be no DD before July 1 2010, because it would force a half-senate election in the first half of 2012, so a much more likely DD date is between July and October 2010. Technically, the latest date is Oct 14, but with a Victorian election due late November, we are either going to have a DD or a half-senate plus reps election sometime July to Oct, most likely late Sept (after footy finals).

  26. wilful
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:06 | #26

    Fran, you said:

    That said, a Christmas election is a bad time to have one and January is too hot in many places. The better option would be to negotiate with the Greens wait until February, and start the whole road show again for a March election, after which the last thing in the minds of most of the punters will be the long hot summer of drought and bushfire — a perfect storm

    My understanding is that once the DD gun is loaded, it can be kept in a safe place, doesn’t have to be used immediately, so a March DD election is still possible.

    All of this speculation is a lot of fun for those of us who watch Aus politics. But I cannot see a safe way out of this spot for the Liberals. Whatever they choose, it’s lose. Turnbull can’t campaign with a hostile backbench like that, and Abbott doesn’t realise just how unpopular he really is. Hockey will just be Turnbull-lite, how can he reconcile their climate positioning? Can anyone?

    Not good for democracy, whatever happens.

    Certainly there’s a building case for a DD election, to allow the opposition to sort themselves out. I don’t think there’d be much or any backlash against Rudd for this. It would be murder.

  27. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:23 | #27

    @Rationalist
    Essential Ratio – you really need a sense of humour in here sometimes..

  28. Uncle Milton
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:30 | #28

    Antony Green has got a good analysis of the election options, and the constraints placed by the constitution. In summary,

    1. Rudd can call a Reps election anytime, but a half senate election can’t before next August. He won’t want a separate Senate election.

    2. Rudd can have a DD anytime he likes if he had the trigger, but if he goes before the second half of next year his second term will effectively be cut by one year, again assuming he won’t want a separate half senate election.

  29. November 27th, 2009 at 11:31 | #29

    It would make sense to extend parliament for another week, but the PM has some rather important business to attend to between Dec 7 and Dec 18.

  30. Donald Oats
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:41 | #30

    @Alice

    Alice, is that the swimming pool next to Lunar Park with the great view across the Harbour + cafe? I miss the lap-nazis there! Even the slow lane copped it from time to time.

    Anyway, just to show how deep the Lib – Public Service ties were/are, thanks to a policy of private style contracts for the heads and turning a blind eye to tragic wannabes: check out Michelle Grattan’s article on Godwin!
    (Damn! I mentioned nazis and Godwin in the same post – do I win the argument, or lose it? :-) )

  31. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:06 | #31

    @Donald Oats
    nahhh….not that one but I know the lap nazis there – lot of lap nazis. Too many in those lanes Don (way too many – you would have to pick your time). No Im close to the Warringah aquatic centre but where I go is a private school pool and bliss its deserted at 7.30am except for a mad lot of people like me – a few diehards who do all the surf / oceans swims and masters stuff – and a long time coach who cant give it up either. Ive done a few ocean swims but I dont like the mad crush elbows in the head random surfrages and the scary business of no black line…deep blue blur underneath ewww…eww eww

  32. Alice
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:11 | #32

    @Donald Oats
    Yes violation of Godwins Law V.2

  33. Fran Barlow
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:18 | #33

    A ready to clip list of Liberal Senators … FYI

    [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; senato[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

  34. Alphonse
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:26 | #34

    Labor doesn’t want a bunch of greens and independents in the senate. It would much prefer a reactionary coalition rabble. So it would much prefer a series of half senate elections to a double dissolution.

    If Turnbull can’t keep (make?) the Lib brand intellectually respectable and a double dissolution on climate change is presented to Rudd, I doubt that he would take the opportunity.

  35. Tim Macknay
    November 27th, 2009 at 13:21 | #35

    Labor doesn’t want a bunch of greens and independents in the senate. It would much prefer a reactionary coalition rabble.

    Nonsense. Labor, like any government, would prefer to control the Senate by itself. But failing that, it would prefer some party it can reliably deal with to get its legislation passed.

    At the moment, the Coalition is clearly not such a party. Nor is a combination of the Greens and Independents with wildly divergent ideological views. Maybe, in the next Senate, the Greens will be such a party. But that remains to be seen.

    Labor is unlikely to go for a DD simply because that is likely to be less electorally advantageous to it than a regular half-senate election, as Anthony Green has shown.

  36. iain
    November 27th, 2009 at 13:34 | #36

    Labor should have cut some sort of a deal with Bob Brown to pass the watered down legislation. Some libs may vote for it yet (Troeth at least?) but maybe not seven.

  37. paul walter
    November 27th, 2009 at 14:12 | #37

    Now that the football season is over, JQ’s suggestion acheives an unexpected significance as to the all too pervasive problem of boredom during that hiatus before sane folk are inexorably roped into the perennial all-pervasive Great X mass scam (bah humbug)

  38. Alphonse
    November 27th, 2009 at 14:39 | #38

    Sorry Tim (#34), but the preferencing of Fielding over the Greens was not an aberration explicable by a Conroy brain explosion. It was an illustration of Labor’s antipathy to conviction politics – particularly of the kind that could erode its left flank.

  39. November 27th, 2009 at 14:57 | #39

    Pr Q@#9 said:

    But for the Liberal party in general, it wasn’t an issue.

    The analogy of ETS with Medicare is that the LP was divided, with its own base (private health carer interests and rugged individualist ideologues) being at odds with the mainstream public and more or less expert economic analysis. But, as I observed, the LP “did not change leaders on that issue”. As of today they have not on the ETS.

    I predict that they will not.

    Pr Q said:

    It doesn’t do to get carried away, but if you look at the delusionist Liberal commentariat, I don’t think you see much support for the “tantrum” viewpoint. They are convinced this is when they finally win.

    The theory that this division will provoke a split in the Right-wing, reducing it to a UAP-like rump and rabble, is “getting carried away” alright.

    The analogy of the “delusionist Liberal commentariat” and tantrum-throwing child implies that the outbreak of temper only succeeds in eliciting an intervention with more adult supervision. Such as a resounding electoral defeat, which was going to happen anyway.

    TO characterise the delusionists, perhaps a better simile than temper-tantrum throwing child would be idiotic heir to the throne succumbing to some kind of petit mal. The danger of self-harm is amplified in the peril to the realm.

    Whats striking is how at odds the delusionists are with even the major interest groups in the Greenhouse Mafia such as Business Council, Coal Association and state ALPs. This is to add a loose cannon to the gun-deck of the delusionist man o’war.

    The evidence is that the “delusionist Liberal commentariat” have been very successful in rousing grass-roots opposition to any kind of CPRS. This is going by the dramatic drop-off in public support for CPRS amongst the conservative parts of the electorate, the hysteria over the leak of a few emails scattered with ill-chosen words by climate scientists and the flood of angry members of the public harassing LP officials.

    The delusionists blogitariat have had their first taste of power, they sense blood in the water and are in a feeding frenzy. Bolt has been particularly invidious in whipping up the delusionists into a lather of fury. Over the past few weeks the tone of his commentary has crossed the border from breathless hysteria and entered the state of rabid.

    I wish they would just stick to their strong suit which is frothing at the mouth Right-wingery on cultural matters, like me.

  40. Freelander
    November 27th, 2009 at 14:58 | #40

    I think the Labor Party has a good election slogan: “The Coalition, unfit to govern!”

    Roll on the double dissolution.

  41. Rationalist
    November 27th, 2009 at 15:08 | #41

    @Freelander
    It is scary when we judge if a government is fit for re-election by this criterion.

  42. nanks
    November 27th, 2009 at 15:25 | #42

    @Rationalist

    Rationalist :
    @Freelander
    It is scary when we judge if a government is fit for re-election by this criterion.

    we’ve been doing that for years in Qld.

  43. paul walter
    November 27th, 2009 at 18:37 | #43

    Actually the consensus here seems to be more on a”hung” parliament rather than a “long” one. Hung in an activist sense, that is as with ropes, branches and things.

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