Home > Oz Politics > Egg, faces

Egg, faces

March 20th, 2010

As Mark Bahnisch observes, lots of members of the commentariat have egg on their faces after tonight’s state elections, particularly in SA where, at least by the ABC estimates, Labor’s parliamentary majority has barely been dented, despite a big swing. If it weren’t for the pre-election spin, these results would be pretty good for the Libs. But, as it was, Rudd’s decision to stick with the standard “we’re the underdogs” line, looks a lot smarter than the actions of those Liberal apparatchiks who were confidently predicting the end of Labor dominance at the state level.

The Tasmanian Libs, having received marginally more votes than Labor, will presumably get a chance to form a government. But that’s something of a Greek gift. The Greens are sure to demand a high price (starting presumably, with a swift heave overboard for Gunns’ current management and what’s left of their plans for a pulp mill). And in the two-party preferred terms relevant for a Federal election, the result looks awful, with Labor and the Greens getting a combined vote of nearly 60 per cent.

Given the extent to which Abbott’s bogus “authenticity” campaign relies on momentum, this could be a big problem for him. Or maybe not. Despite the Libs pre-election spin, tonights votes had very little to do with Federal politics, and rightly so

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  1. Rationalist
    March 20th, 2010 at 23:00 | #1

    Labor may have won the battle, but in the war of ideas the economic rationalists always win. This is true in the case of SA and Tasmania and in every election in the foreseeable future at state and federal level.

  2. jquiggin
    March 20th, 2010 at 23:07 | #2

    “in the war of ideas the economic rationalists always win” Rationalist

    ‘“There is a desire on the part of the community for an investment in infrastructure and human resources and I think there has been a shift in attitude in the community on this, even among the most ardent economic rationalists.” John Howard, 2004.

    Perhaps you’ve been on an extended vacation for the last ten years, and in an isolation tank since September 2008. The winning run of economic rationalism has been over for some time now. Most recent evidence – Tony Abbott’s Great Big New Tax on Business to fund maternity leav.e

  3. gerard
    March 21st, 2010 at 08:11 | #3

    Extended vacation for the last ten years? I doubt he’s even been alive that long.

  4. Rationalist
    March 21st, 2010 at 08:34 | #4

    @jquiggin
    Wait… so economic rationalists do not wish to see investment in infrastructure? I think that is a general consensus between the two economic rational parties: Labor and Liberal. The difference between socialist governments and rationalist governments are the utilisation of the massive skill set and efficiency of the private sector. Economic rationalist governments privatise and utilise public private partnerships to tackle government inefficiency by allowing the naturally efficient and lean private sector to operate and build services.

  5. BilB
    March 21st, 2010 at 09:05 | #5

    “government inefficiency by allowing the naturally efficient and lean private sector” this is dogma and mostly fallacious.

    I think that in a contest of equal function and full disclosure on both sides, you would find the private sector unlean and substantially incompetent. The private sector is able to maintain the efficiency myth because its many, many, many failures drop out of sight and are rapidly forgotten, whereas public sector failures make good for the losses, and this is remembered in the media for ever. Private sector failures inevitably denude their investors whose financially crippled shells are often forced to live out their years at the public expense.

  6. conrad
    March 21st, 2010 at 09:06 | #6

    I’m not sure how much state politics is really influenced by federal politics — so it’s not clear to me what difference to Abbott or Rudd these results really make. Labor governments in NSW (and possibly VIC) will fall not because of federal politics, but because of how hopeless they are. The only reason they haven’t already is that the Liberals have been even worse (if that’s possible in NSW).

  7. conrad
    March 21st, 2010 at 09:24 | #7

    Actually, thinking about that a bit more — I think State Liberal governments could hurt Rudd by having a concerted campaign blaming the infrastructure problems they have and house prices on levels of immigration and population growth that are too high.

  8. BilB
    March 21st, 2010 at 09:30 | #8

    Kenealy’s new initiative to guarantee more low cost housing is a refreshing change. It might serve to bolster Labour’s state appeal.

  9. gerard
    March 21st, 2010 at 09:46 | #9

    Tasmanian Labor are the most disgusting bunch of liars. I’m glad their robo-call smear campaign backfired.

  10. March 21st, 2010 at 09:50 | #10

    Newspoll should also have egg on face, again, with its confident prediction of an always unlikely Liberal win. With Newspoll one always has the strong impression of a desire for wish fulfillment. They predict Labor wins as often as their Editorials suggest a Labor vote.

    And Tasmania once again shows the bizarre situation of a nominally left wing party in Labor hating an actual left wing party in the Greens more than it hates the neoconservative Liberals. Large numbers of people in Tasmania clearly don’t want to see the continued laisez faire plundering of the Tasmanian environment, why is it so hard for the Labor party to accept this and form a left of centre government either as an active arrangement (as in ACT) or a looser understanding? Is it because when it comes to environmental issues Tassie unions are as destructive as their boss counterparts? Again, the unions hate their natural foes less than their natural allies in the Greens. Strange days indeed.

  11. Jim Birch
    March 21st, 2010 at 10:11 | #11

    It isn’t “rational” to presume a single one-size-fits-all solution to a complex set of problems, that’s actually called doctrine. One of it’s primary biological purposes it to minimise energy expenditure in the brain. (The other big one is about sex but I won’t go into it now.)

    In the world of science, solutions tend to become more nuanced over time. Evolution typically moves towards complexity as it provides better solutions to individual problems. Most political ideas seem to me to be simplistic prescientific stuff – driven by biological impulses – because analysis is too difficult. Aristotle declared that men have more teeth than women; he apparently didn’t feel a need to look into mouths and count. He claimed he was a rationalist and maybe he was but his science was pretty weak.

  12. paul walter
    March 21st, 2010 at 12:29 | #12

    Its good for the heart to read Gerard, David Horton and the others express the sentiments they have.
    Labor reached, and crossed, its Rubicon as to embrace of economic rationalism with its rejection of underlying sustainability as to old growth logging and land clearancing in general, back in 1994-5, when Beddall and the other reactionaries rejected Faulkner’s program for forest tranches managed on the science rather than greed.
    The fruits of this decison became obvious within a few years, when the libs and labor joined together to gerrymander Tassie politics at the expense of the Greens. At the same time, the parent interests of the forestry industry locked stepped intimately with a corrupt Victorian government and any hope that common sense and science could enter into the harvesting of timber was lost.
    Far from being “dead” (as opposed to being “discredited”), neoliberal policies are alive, thriving, and expressed in the broken election promises re privatisation from
    Bligh and NSW Labor, thru to the rash of blatant and perhaps corrupt expropriations of the Commons that are the real drivers for resentment in the electorates of Adelaide ( NOT the nonsense over Rann bonking a barmaid, unless you are a complete fool! ).
    Voting yesterday, I found myself frankly, “not in the mood”. The Labor cardy tried to thrust an ALP how to vote card into my hands then told me I ought to know who to vote for. I responded by deliberately taking a Greens card, to the frustration of the Laborite and glee of the Green, and marched into the booth to vote. During the evening, the swings against labor politicians responsible for neolib “development at every cost”policies of recent times in the western subs made it obvious that many others had been inthe same mood and had adopted the same approach as myself, after coming to similar conclusions as to SA politics
    The saddest thing for me was the rejection of Jane Lomax Smith by the elite Adelaide electorate just across the tracks and up on the hill. The one individual in parliament, almost, capable of reflexive thinking was J-Lo, god knows what meters they’ll have to use to detect signs of brainwave activity in parliament now she’s gone.

  13. March 21st, 2010 at 12:47 | #13

    Pr Q said:

    lots of members of the commentariat have egg on their faces after tonight’s state elections, particularly in SA where, at least by the ABC estimates, Labor’s parliamentary majority has barely been dented, despite a big swing. If it weren’t for the pre-election spin, these results would be pretty good for the Libs.

    I don’t waste much schadenfreude on MSM psephologists. It kind of feels a little unfair, like kicking sand in the face of 97 lb weaklings.

    More to the point, neither Bahnisch or Quiggin bothered to put up positive prediction on these elections. So they cannot really claim bragging rights, although some bagging rights are perhaps in order.

    Not too much egg on this commenters face, although I did not scoop the pool. On 20 MAR 2010 I predicted, on the basis of no local knowledge at all, “a close ALP victory” in both the SA and TAS state contests. This prediction was derived from the “ALP is Natural Party of Government cum One-Party-State” theory. Hats off to Pr Q for mounting the most effective argument for this theory.

    I got SA right. Score one point out of one. I got TAS half-right since it is line ball. Score half-point out of one. So thats one and one-half points out of two. So overall, a solid B, not too shabby.

    Pr Q said:

    And in the two-party preferred terms relevant for a Federal election, the result looks awful, with Labor and the Greens getting a combined vote of nearly 60 per cent.

    TAS’s political system is most definitely atypical. I don’t understand the TAS Hare-Clark electoral system. (Life is too short.) My foggy notion was that GREEN preferences should have got the ALP over the line into government. But obviously notional preferences do not count in a proportional representation system.

    My broader point remains, which is that Centre-Left parties have established a psephologial, if not ideological, hegemony in the AUS political system. This implies nothing at all about the content of policies which can be as Right-wing as you like, cf NSW ALP.

    Pr Q said:

    tonights votes had very little to do with Federal politics, and rightly so

    This statement is undermined by Pr Q’s argument above where he states “in the two-party preferred terms relevant for a Federal election” the combined ALP-GREENS primary vote of nearly 60% would translate into a huge victory for the Centre-Left. (And whats up with “rightly so”? People should not barrack for their team in the Big League and Reserves? Tribal loyalties…)

    In any case I am not so sure that the state results have “very little to do with Federal politics”. True, there is probably an independent statist electoral bias towards the ALP at state levels. State governments administer community services which are both popular policies and ALP home ground politics.

    More generally, the evidence from living memory suggests that state electoral results are pro-, rather than counter-valent, to federal election results. Think the L/NP’s long post-WWII dominance at the federal level co-inciding with dominant L/NP leaders at state levels eg Bolte, Playford, Court, Askin, Bjelke-Peterson.

    In the post-Culture/Cold War period the psephological worm has turned. Since 1983 (the year the last baby boomer from the 1945-65 cohort attained majority) the ALP’s federal dominance co-inciding with ALP state dominance, eg Wran-Carr, Cain-Bracks, Beatty etc. Obviously we no longer share our ancestors Cold War concerns.

    The implication is that the L/NP can only regain office in the context of popular fears about alien threats, whether domestic or foreign. That is, if Culture War or Civilizational Clash issues become the focus of federal elections. The L/NP are very much victims of their own success here, having dealt with these issues so effectively the ALP have aped them. So they are no longer vote changers unless another ETimor, Bali, Cronulla or Intervention crisis comes up.

    This reinforces my prediction that “Rudd will clean up Abbott in 2010 federal election”, probably to the tune of 53 ALP-47 (L/NP) TPP ie an unprecedented improvement on 2007.

  14. March 21st, 2010 at 13:28 | #14

    And here is the Bartlett post Tas election interview from the ABC “The most widely tipped outcome is 10 seats each to both Liberal and Labor. Mr Bartlett has confirmed in that case, he will push for the Liberals to take power rather than negotiate with the Greens.” I didn’t expect to have my comment so clearly confirmed from the horse’s mouth.

  15. Fran Barlow
    March 21st, 2010 at 14:08 | #15

    PrQ said:

    The Greens are sure to demand a high price (starting presumably, with a swift heave overboard for Gunns’ current management and what’s left of their plans for a pulp mill).

    Doubtful. As the ALP have signalled their support for a Liberal government in the event of a 10-10-5 split, it will be the ALP who will support the Gunn’s proposal. They were after all, its authors and the Greens have pledged not to block supply. From the Libs POV, the Gunn’s proposal is probably going to be killed by the GFC and declining cofidence in Gunns. Their constituency would be outraged if they dropped it in a deal with the Greens. Only the Greens would benefit politically. If the proposal goes down the Libs can say “how sad … but of course, this was a business decision.”

    The Libs will say therefore say no and implement any policies they like anticipating the ALP (who also wouldn’t want rightwing blowback for a proposal that will be killed by forces outside their control either) supporting them or running dead by sitting on their hands while the Greens jump up and down and complain about the establishment parties blocking good government policies.

    Everyone’s a winner in that scenario.

    Sad, but most probable.

  16. Alice
    March 21st, 2010 at 14:34 | #16

    @Rationalist
    Ratio says

    “Economic rationalist governments privatise and utilise public private partnerships to tackle government inefficiency by allowing the naturally efficient and lean private sector to operate and build services.”

    Shame the morlocks are objecting to tolls every three minutes, excessive user pays charges by privateers and want their roads returned as public and built with taxes by governments Ratio.

    A lot of people are over the little waltzes with privateers on Sydney roads in Ratio – or havent you noticed?? – especially those who live further away from city areas and pay the most to get to work (combine that with house prices and they live further away because its cheaper – ie the less well off are paying more to get to work).

    Even the young are thinking this has all gone too far…but then there is nothing like an economic rationalist who wont give up the extreme view. Update your version Ratio – the tide is turning. You will find yourself laughed at by the next gen.

  17. paul walter
    March 21st, 2010 at 16:32 | #17

    Jack, #13, ” state governments administer commuunity services, which are both popular policies and ALP home ground politics”.
    Exactly. And the neolib policies that some wishfully conclude to be in rigor mortis is actually alive and well with Labor is its current conduit now that overt neoconservatism and neoliberalism have been so discredited for the selfish alibis they are.
    To conform with neolib dogma and obtain the support of big money formations, Labor has been forced not only to relinquish its traditional role in defence of the masses, but subscribe to fundamentalist christianity and Manichean “undeserving poor” explanations.
    We are supposed to feel so encumbered of our shortcomings that we scarcely dare question decisons passed down from above concerning our lives, values, heritage and aspirations.
    How dare we question the misappropriation of commons for the benefit of the few, let alone observe that economic rationalism, far from being deservedly dead, is indeed habituating, heterogeneous and homogenising, as intended and people now expect its a fair thing to bail out Wall st, conduct murderous wars or ruin the legal system and climate, without incovenient querying of these actions by mere mugs like us.

  18. Alice
    March 21st, 2010 at 18:41 | #18

    @paul walter
    Yes I agree – the Labor party NSW has outliberalled the libs in terms of attempting to chase the privateers to do their damn work on infrastructure (and they seem to want to just be a well payed committee with a well paid private sector position on retirement – yes the individual in politics has prevailed at NSW labor level – in there building their own personal free choice self interested piles of dung and swallowing the rationalist line until the rest of us are choking and spluttering with our own contempt for NSW labor.

    Question time. Have the liberals got anything different to offer? Answer – forget them both and destabilise the cosy duopoly at the next election (but above all make sure NSW Labor dont get a run on the board).

    Let them go get their MQ bank jobs…the bastards.

    But their days are numbered too Paul – dont you worry.

  19. Alice
    March 21st, 2010 at 18:53 | #19

    @paul walter
    All it takes is one honest bastard to lead a party. We dont have it. The US has Obama. I think he is honest. We have jack. We have Rudd. I think he is honest but he isn trying too hard to reach consensus with lunatics and he needs to clean out Howard’s henchmen not embrace them into governance…and spend real money on the infrastructure of economy, not pink bat money.

    I welcome his federal takeover of health and it astonishes me that people like Keneally whinge about it. NSW health has been bleeding money for years due to layers of bureacracy and incompetence and centralisation and “close the beds” rationalisations (oh the sheer irrationality of endless efficiency savings….now ambos are queued and idling their time away with pateints they cant leave in emergency depts and emergencies are not getting seen to in the required time to prevent a death or bigger emergency)

    Sad – system breakdown. Efficiency drives till it kills even more of us! Thats the efficiency they want. If we die we dont come back to their hopeless emergency depts.

    Shame NSW labor. Shame.

  20. paul walter
    March 21st, 2010 at 20:36 | #20

    Aggravatingly insular, the Labor right culture is. Hides like elephants and a nuclear bomb exploding on top of them they would take to be no more than digestive bad manners from one of their assembled own.
    I suppose this general idea of the system killing spirit is one of the few areas where liberals and lefties would broadly agree, tho the libs see it in the dead hand of bureaucracy and big government they seek to flee from, while lefties see their Titanic in the current evolving corporatist into American capitalist ideal. The underlying problems seem replicated in both systems, but also, checking back thru history, also that “straight”or open capitalism also, so advocated by Americans and their local lib allies.
    No hope for any system if the units are dud, or do we hope, after the Frankfurt school, that a change of, somehow, a prospective underlying culture might yet do the trick?
    As to Rudd, one hopes the last adversarial couple of months may be the jolt that wakes him and his Qld, NSW and Vic Right mates out of their slumber, but one doubts it.

  21. Monkey’s Uncle
    March 21st, 2010 at 22:28 | #21

    The South Australian election was never realistically winnable for the Liberals, given the size of Labor’s 2006 victory, the huge swing needed, and the number of popular sitting Labor MPs in key seats. The Liberals best hope was always to get back within striking distance in order to win in 2014. They have done at least that.

    Labor strategists and ALP sympathisers in the media tried to put out the line that the Liberals could win in order to head off a protest vote.

    The result is pretty well disastrous for Labor. Based on Antony Green’s figures it appears the swing against Labor is about 8% 2PP. The Liberals won the 2PP vote and the primary vote. Given that only last year South Australia was still considered a safely entrenched Labor state and the state Liberals dismissed as a rabble and a joke, this is a remarkable turnaround.

  22. Fran Barlow
    March 21st, 2010 at 23:19 | #22

    @Monkey’s Uncle

    It’s telling what the combination of presidential politics and a sex scandal can do. I’m glad the little songstress didn’t get away with it though.

  23. paul walter
    March 21st, 2010 at 23:41 | #23

    Not a lot to say about humanity sometimes, is there Fran?
    Monkey’s Uncle, Labor had to use the hand it was dealt with, same as the Libs and Nats and so forth.
    Today (sunday) counting apparently eased Labor’s plight a little. If Rann wins, it will be a Lazarus only improved upon by Anna Bligh. God help us if Rann Labor back is as stubborn as the Queensland strain.
    Remember, “win” here, for Rann means “workable majority”.

  24. March 22nd, 2010 at 06:11 | #24

    Monkey’s Uncle at 21: When you say: “Labor strategists and ALP sympathisers in the media tried to put out the line that the Liberals could win in order to head off a protest vote”, you really are being ridiculous. For example, do you include in that statement the Newspoll published in The Australian showing the Liberals leading 52-58 on the morning of the election? Do you consider a 7.4 per cent average swing against Labor across the State as successfully heading off a protest vote?

  25. March 22nd, 2010 at 06:46 | #25

    Partly stimulated by Mr Rationalist above, and partly stimulated by the self-destructive US health care “debate”, this http://www.blognow.com.au/mrpickwick/289814/My_country_is_the_world.html is a take on belief in invisible hands. Paul Walter, enjoy.

  26. Rationalist
    March 22nd, 2010 at 06:47 | #26

    @JohnL
    According to Antony Green the Liberals will probably end up winning the TPP vote in SA with around 52% so the Newspoll was spot on.

  27. Alice
    March 22nd, 2010 at 07:34 | #27

    @David Horton
    LOL – the trouble with the invisible hand is that it might be the hand of a thief.

  28. March 22nd, 2010 at 07:35 | #28

    @Alice
    Yes Alice, hands in the till rather than on the tiller.

  29. James
    March 22nd, 2010 at 08:45 | #29

    @David Horton
    I think Tasmania could possibly give us the country’s first liberal-labour coalition government (excluding peculiar wartime arrangements, e.g. Menzies in Curtin’s cabinet, here). Which in the long term might not be such a bad thing as it would shift the “centre” of politics to a point between lib/lab and the Greens.

  30. robert (not from UK)
    March 22nd, 2010 at 09:52 | #30

    James :
    @David Horton
    I think Tasmania could possibly give us the country’s first liberal-labour coalition government (excluding peculiar wartime arrangements, e.g. Menzies in Curtin’s cabinet, here).

    Was Menzies in Curtin’s cabinet? I didn’t think he was, although of course both Menzies and Curtin respected one another personally.

    Of course, in Britain, now that the much-touted Cameron triumph of last year has faded away to zilch in the opinion polls, there’s now a distinct possibility of a hung parliament producing a New Labour / Cameronite coalition against the Lib Dems (whom both major parties hate more than they hate each other) and the BNP, if the latter should actually succeed in winning any Westminster seats.

  31. Fran Barlow
    March 22nd, 2010 at 10:31 | #31

    @robert (not from UK)

    No, Curtin never had Menzies in his cabinet. Menzies had accepted Opposition places on the Advisory War Council but campaigned against Curtin in the wipeout of 1943.

    Earlier, in 1940, Menzies had offered Curtuin both a role in cabinet and then as his UAP fell apart, PM of a national government. Curtin didn’t accept this probably because caucus would have been outraged and split over it.

  32. Caroline
    March 22nd, 2010 at 11:23 | #32

    I’m pleased that Tasmanians didn’t fall for Labor’s negative election campaign. First they ran a negative campaign on the Liberals, then they turned their sights on the Greens and ran them to the ground before these parties even had a chance at an election campaign. I’m very pleased that Tasmanians didn’t fall for the spin of Labor’s oppressive advertising but instead raised above it and made a very informed decision. I hope that the Liberals and Greens can work together in a respectful way and give the Tasmanian people a competent government. It’s the only way that Tasmania can move ahead. We want action from a government which can deliver.

  33. Monkey’s Uncle
    March 22nd, 2010 at 12:20 | #33

    Jack Strocchi said:

    TAS’s political system is most definitely atypical. I don’t understand the TAS Hare-Clark electoral system. (Life is too short.) My foggy notion was that GREEN preferences should have got the ALP over the line into government. But obviously notional preferences do not count in a proportional representation system.

    Green preferences don’t make that much difference in Tasmania for two reasons. Green preferences only get distributed if they fall short of a quota, or if they receive a quota whatever is surplus gets redistributed. But Tasmania also uses optional preferential voting, and a lot of voters don’t preference beyond their preferred party. So Green preferences only marginally favour Labor.

  34. Monkey’s Uncle
    March 22nd, 2010 at 13:05 | #34

    John L says “Monkey’s Uncle at 21: When you say: “Labor strategists and ALP sympathisers in the media tried to put out the line that the Liberals could win in order to head off a protest vote”, you really are being ridiculous.”

    John, anyone reasonably familiar with how election campaigns and tactics work in Australia would know that considerations of a protest vote and downplaying expectations have pretty much been standard practice for some time. What is ridiculous is the notion that such considerations would never have come into it.

    “For example, do you include in that statement the Newspoll published in The Australian showing the Liberals leading 52-58 [sic] on the morning of the election?”

    Not necessarily. But it is silly to predict election outcomes based on opinion polls of the overall popular vote. Not only do such polls have an error margin, but they don’t tell you whether the vote is stronger or weaker in the key seats. So such polls would mislead voters into believing the Liberals had a stronger chance of winning than they did. Whether or not that was the intention, it is consistent with the point I made.

    “Do you consider a 7.4 per cent average swing against Labor across the State as successfully heading off a protest vote?”

    So because the strategy doesn’t appear to have worked, it proves the strategy must have never been attempted at all? Er, there’s a slight logical flaw in that argument!

  35. Michael
    March 22nd, 2010 at 13:26 | #35

    @Monkey’s Uncle
    As far as I understand it there are still preferences, but “how to vote” cards are not allowed to be handed out anywhere near polling booths so preferences aren’t really party directed. The parties can’t even direct which of their own candidates should get first preference. There is also randomised ordering on the ballot papers. Sounds like quite a good system, although there may be downsides I’m not aware of. Peter Mares covered the voting system on http://www.abc.net.au/rn/nationalinterest/

  36. March 22nd, 2010 at 13:33 | #36

    Monkey’s Unclde at 34: Sorry about the typo of 52-58 when it should have been 52-48. There still seems something decidely odd in your original statement: “Labor strategists and ALP sympathisers in the media tried to put out the line that the Liberals could win in order to head off a protest vote”. Perhaps you could enlighten everyone who these ALP sympathisers in the media are. Many of us would like to know so that we could read their offerings.
    I take it from your statement on it being silly to predict election outcomes based on opinion polls, that even though you do not know if it was the intention of The Australian to mislead voters that the Liberals had a stronger chance of winning, it is consistent with your point that “Labor strategists and ALP sympathisers…..”
    I think a suggestion that The Australian may have wanted to mislead voters into believing that the Liberals had a stronger chance of winning than they did is really getting into fantasy land.
    Your last sentence suggesting a slight logical flaw in the argument that because the strategy doesn’t appear to have worked, it proves the strategy must never have been attempted. No, but it does throw doubt on those conspiracy theorists casting around for some reason why the mainstream media all were so wrong in their forecast of a hung Parliament in South Australia.

  37. Doug
    March 22nd, 2010 at 13:37 | #37

    Hare-Clark is not that hard to understand

    ACT also has Hare-Clark system – now entrenched by a vote of the electorate against meddling politicians – and has the great advantage that it takes some power away from the party machines.

    Essentailly you can run a primary in which the electorate can choose their candidates from within a party list as well as choosing which party they prefer.

    Lots to like and not too hard to understand

  38. Fran Barlow
    March 22nd, 2010 at 13:48 | #38

    @Michael

    One downside is that brand recognition — the name of the candidate — is a marketable asset, with the result that you get lots of political dynasties running. This tends to reinforce the view of Tasmania as incestuous that underpins mainland jokes.

    The other problem is that it is far easier to remove ministers without removing the party. This sounds good in theory, since a competent government need not be dragged down by an underperformaing minister, but the problem is that with only 13-15 members from which to allocate all the ministers, ministers have to double and sometimes triple up, which virtually assures that most of the time they won’t be able to get acorss the complete brief. If things go badly, they get dumped just as they were working out what not to do and getting across it all, and the process can start again. The only way to avoid this is to allow your department to run you, which again, is not really want you elect people for.

    Part of the problem is of course the small size of the Tasmanian parliament — with 35 or 40 they would have a better chance of having the talent pool they needed to be able to sack under performers and giver those in charge a shot at doing a good job. Of course, the reduction from 35 to 25 was a trick aimed at marginalising the Greens on the basis they would just miss quotas and surrender them to the major parties.

    It hasn’t worked out that way in the long run of course.

  39. anon
    March 22nd, 2010 at 14:49 | #39

    JQ said “The Tasmanian Libs, having received marginally more votes than Labor, will presumably get a chance to form a government.”

    Not necessarily so or even particularly likely. There’s a bit of ‘born to rule’ from both major parties down there at the moment. There’s no reason why the Greens should fall into line with a cosy agreement between the two major parties that whichever one of them got the most votes should be allowed to govern. Richard Farmer makes the point that something like 60% of Tasmanians voted for a left of centre government. It’s a bit of stretch expecting the Greens to support a Liberal Party that has been infiltrated with Eric Abetz’s Right Wing Uglies just because the Liberals and Labor think they should.

    Of course the Liberals and Labor between them can enforce any agreement they want, but consider the consequences. The Governor calls Bartlett (the ALP premier) to ask him if he can form a government. Presumably, he says no and advises the Governor to call on Hodgman (the Liberal leader). Hodgman makes the trip up to Government House and tells him that the Liberals can govern because they have the support of the ALP. The Governor accept this but then who is he going to appoint as Opposition Leader? It can’t be the leader of the ALP since he has said he supports the Liberal leader. So who becomes the leader of Her Majesty’s Tasmanian Opposition? It would have to be the leader of the Greens, Nick McKim.

    Effectively the Liberals and Labor will have formed a coalition. I can’t see that being a welcome development for either party. It will confirm everyone’s suspicion that there’s no real difference between them.

    So, no. I don’t think the Liberals will automatically get a chance to form government. I suspect Labor will ditch Bartlett (he lost the election afterall) and appoint someone who is prepared to negotiate with the Greens.

  40. paul walter
    March 22nd, 2010 at 15:26 | #40

    Re conversation involving Monkunc and John L, I quite concur with the idea that the Murdoch press would engineer a result convivial to itself and its supporters.
    Don’t forget that SA is like Tasmania, a closed and self referrent system devoid of the traditional mediating factors (broadsheet press, etc). The use of Newspoll for election (push-polling) purposes has become a frightening feature of Australian politics- issues are peripheral to soap opera fantasies, images and feel-good sentimentality or fear and loathing on the other hand, in the manufacture of consent.
    If Labor is as “captured” as the Libs, then it seems reasonable that the powers that be behind the scenes would know who they wanted “up” and its likely that these know that Labor finessing thru of unpopular neolibpolicies might be as promising as the old big stick approach of Toryism, which is still out of season in the wake of Howard’s failure of 2007.

  41. Donald Oats
    March 22nd, 2010 at 18:31 | #41

    The Advertiser – aptly named – smacked Rann around far more than either the Liberal opposition or that ex-someone’s squeeze and her ex-the-squeezer. The squeezer being the bloke with the rolled up newspaper that gave Rann a decent shiner.

    As to what policies either major party had to share with the South Australians I’m still largely in the dark, for once. Something about a hospital I think…

  42. Freelander
    March 22nd, 2010 at 19:26 | #42

    The beat up on Rann for his alleged liaison was unbelievable. Who cares? Why should they care? Even if Rann had done what was alleged, he hadn’t done anything many others, including politicians have done. And it is not clear exactly how relevant a liaison like that is when judging his abilities to do what he was elected to do. The pursuit of Rann by the woman allegedly scorned, was somewhat undignified. If the media had any decency they wouldn’t have put her undignified behavior in the spotlight, if only out of consideration for her.

  43. Alice
    March 23rd, 2010 at 06:55 | #43

    @Freelander
    I think the point the woman was making was that Rann lied through his back teeth about the affair….what I cant help wondering was….did someone reward her to do this because she comes out looking as bad as Rann as well.

    Who could really give a fig about what went on in the back seat of car overlooking a golf course and who lied about it (spare us the thought – where is June Dally Watkins when we need her?).

    You never know. Its politics – a dirty game.

  44. Michael
    March 23rd, 2010 at 08:24 | #44

    @Fran Barlow
    Good points. On the political dynasties, the electorate of Denison had two sons of former premiers running, Scott Bacon for Labor and Matthew Groom for the Liberals. Apparently some of the candidates pretty much campaign predominately on name recognition rather than parties. The Hare-Clark system would presumably complicate branch stacking and factional dealing, surely a good thing.

  45. paul walter
    March 23rd, 2010 at 08:53 | #45

    Will respond to previous several posts by including part of a comment piece in today’s (Tues) Advertiser.
    The ’tiser house columnist, the aptly named Tory Shepherd, felt that the whole thing was about a scolding for Rann, post Chantelois, for alleged “lack of contrition”.
    But the comment included here comes from Natasha Stott Despoja in a side column, observing that a number of politicians did behave in a civilised way during the campaign and at the booths, “a welcome feature” of the campaign,
    “Especially when we were drowning in attack adds from the major parties or worse, the election campign being hijacked by a disgruntled ex-couple who turned their marital woes into a serious invasion of democracy, with the help of some of the media”.
    Alice, we have had our communal headspaces invaded unmercifully by the tabloid media and press over this Chantelois nonsense. Since when is sex between consenting adults an isssue, wtf- and why has Chantelois so convinced that we need to know the sordid details of her private life, with her boasting about her sex life, getting laid by Rann presumably the accomplishment.
    Altho the fact is, Chantelois did encouraged a bit of unitended and over due investigation by the public concerning complacent Rann Labor.
    But with media cowardice and dishonesty, including with the ABC last Saturday night, the real reason why Chantelois was important is ignored; that if Mr Perfect, Rann, might not been honest on one issue, then he may not have been be totally honest on other things, too.
    Perhaps these include the actual elephant in the room that no one in media dares to touch, the usurpation of decision making out of a community and into the hands of outside developer interests, becoming more understandable.
    But then we’d have to consider whether the Tiser itself, and jerks like Greg Kelton; Adelaide’s Glen Milne clone, are as detached and objective as they may be.
    Because then we’d have to ask why the ’tiser has such a vested interest in”development at every cost”, including the extent that democracy must be subverted and done away with, and all mentionof it as a situation is avoided.
    Am now just reading another piece here, in the education section do you mind, a beat up full of grovelling, fawning admiration for the worst of the developers, Con Makris and denigration of his opponents as sort of quaint and old fashioned.
    And earlier, a headliner trying to wedge the Labor party for internecine feuding with leader/cabinet reshuffles due, provided they hang on. The victim was Jay Weatherill, a suited clone and nominal head of the withering Left faction, announcing he was contemplating a leadership challenge against the Right’s Foley, should Rann have to move on.
    Weatherill asked for it, tho. The other day, he stridently rejected the proposal for a independent corruption investigation body, yet now now reckons he understand the message about open government , wants to distance himself from the older naughties, like Foley and implicitly promises, therefore, a fresh start.
    No, the ’tiser wants as much anarchy down here as possible, in order to push its own secret agenda and it remains the single biggest problem for democracy in SA.

  46. Fran Barlow
    March 23rd, 2010 at 18:52 | #46

    @paul walter

    Had I been an SA voter, I might have departed from my longstanding rule of not voting for anyone to vote through gritted teeth for Rann, merely to repudiate the business of sexual muckraking as a factor in politics.

    This stuff ought to be irrelevant. I’d like it if he could simply say — look, I’m too decorous to kiss and tell — draw your own conclusions. Regrettably, that would have been political suicide.

  47. Alice
    March 23rd, 2010 at 19:21 | #47

    @paul walter
    Paul

    I just want to know who paid Chantelois to kick up a stink…?? Because otherwise, what on earth was in it for her. Her husband was mightily ticked off and belted the premier with a newspaper.
    Either that (she was paid ) orm this woman is one hell of a narcisstic attention getter…and a bad loser.
    Spare a thought for the premier’s wife. Id rather have seen the tabloids reporting her throwing him out on his backside. That would have done him far more damage and it would have been deserved…

    but then I dont like lying bastards either…but what does that make Chantelos who lied just as much to her family

    Oh spare me big narcissistic egos…Im glad Im not wed to one.

  48. bill
    March 23rd, 2010 at 19:32 | #48

    As a South Australian who has spent several years caning Rann for his absurd ‘Access All Areas’ mining policy, which has culminated in an attempt to mine the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the northern Flinders Ranges actively facilitated by his government, I was infuriated by the whole Chantelois fiasco.

    Here was an issue – the impact of the Uranium boom on high quality wilderness areas – that couldn’t get arrested, but the supermarket tabloid nonsense just ran on and on and on. The Advertiser was appalling, as usual, but Fairfax’s Independent Weekly was no less biased, if slightly less salacious.

    So, despite the fact that I’ve been actively fighting the bastard since 2007, I was actually pleased by the result as a blow against the punditocracy – I figure they lost the SA election, just as the Greens won the Tasmanian – and mood-based ‘narrative’ journalism. By which I mean the grand tale of the alleged momentum of former nutter turned guy-we-all-want-to-have-a-beer-with Tony Abbott, exemplified in the public’s renunciation of the evils of Socialism at the state level.

    The Advertiser managed to get through another series of wash-up pieces today that sagely assessed the dangers of political hubris without mentioning Michelle Chantelois, and their unceasing campaign to have the woman in our faces 3 or 4 times a week, once!

    Without these efforts the result in terms of the actual distribution of seats would hardly have raised an eyebrow; after all, this was a government seeking a third term whose very popularity had delivered them an unsustainable majority at the last election.

  49. paul walter
    March 23rd, 2010 at 19:51 | #49

    Alice, the alleged fling took place four or five years, while Rann was still single I think Michelle Chantelois was apart from her husband by then, or thinking about it, from what I recall.
    Was actually just putting away dishes from dinner and thought that Michelle Chantelois’ behaviour could be quite explicable- like everyone else it seems, including the audience on tonight’s Insight show, she felt disempowered and disenfranchised.
    Fran’s “gritted teeth” comment comes into play here. If you feel really naffed off to despair by politics, you may indeed do something drastic in a fitful attempt to drag the bastards you feel have betrayed you down with you. No doubt she was payed off, but she’s no more pitiful than the rest of us, or at least me, speaking for myself, I suppose.
    I’d be as willing to shoot some of the cold blooded politicans and Kelton journo types in MSM, as much as cutesie Michelle.
    They DO know what is going on and the silence is deafening. I need say no more as far as Alice, at least, is concerned, because I know she’s been to the Anna Bligh thread.
    Ps, if you go to the Gary Sauer Thompson blog,”Public Opinion”, he’s included a gem of a cartoon from Leak (I think) that takes on the themes discussed here.

  50. Alice
    March 23rd, 2010 at 20:00 | #50

    @paul walter
    Maybe you are right Paul – except why did hubby bash him with a newspaper? Doesnt make sense if they were separated…

    nah..I think Chantelois is telling just as many lies about who she has been manipulating..anmd how much does “no idea” pay for a double page story? (wish I had one)
    You are too kind Paul!

  51. paul walter
    March 23rd, 2010 at 21:16 | #51

    My heartfelt thanks for that Alice, I haven’t been spoken to so nicely since (looks at wristwatch) just after tea, when I obliged my neighbour by rooting thru my dry rubbish to retreive a new seasons football program from the discarded newspaper, that she wanted for a tipsters entry form..

  52. Jill Rush
    March 23rd, 2010 at 23:19 | #52

    The reason that the papers kept on printing the story of Michele, Rick and Mike was that it sold a lot of papers, everyone was talking about it and were shocked at every new revelation.

    There were plenty of reasons to vote Rann out including the deceptive manner he dealt with the Phillips attack, when he led the media to believe it was an awful political attack and these things are to be expected, and its not the first time.

    All of those in safe seats could vote against Labor without having to worry about whether it would really change the government – but it did make them feel better.

    Those in marginal seats however looked at recycled politicians who were nice people whose governments had done awful things. The voters in the marginals had the choice between awful and even worse. Vicki Chapman reminded people of how bad it could be and the Shadow treasurer confirmed people’s worst fears that the Liberals were not offering anything better because so much open space had to be sold to pay for the unbudgeted promises. Who knew what else.

    Of course it is ironic that in an election based around trust that Labor perpetrated a huge con on the people and are now busy trying to spin their way out of this claiming that it is not so bad and that all’s fair in love and politics. An ICAC is still off the agenda.

    In SA Isobel Redmond had the momentum but it stalled at the last minute because just like in NSW and Queensland the Opposition were unelectable. Tony Abbott is too. The Liberals aren’t so hot on the Apple Isle. They should look at themselves and try to be nicer people – they would stand a chance then.

  53. paul walter
    March 24th, 2010 at 00:00 | #53

    That’s a perceptive summary, Jill Rush.
    Are you from Adelaide?
    In some places people are starting to talk of a closer relationship with the Greens for the Libs, what a march they would steal for themselves.
    Pipe dream.
    But Abbot, Minchin and the die hards have to be given one more chance, with the coalition of the wilting. The last of the RSL/CWA brigade want to march out shouldering arms, after that any internal reform of structure and zietgiest would finally have a chance of standing up.
    You must know about Weatherill’s adventures too, by the sound.

  54. bill
    March 24th, 2010 at 18:39 | #54

    In SA Isobel Redmond had the momentum but it stalled at the last minute because just like in NSW and Queensland the Opposition were unelectable. Tony Abbott is too.

    On the last point I certainly hope so!

    But I cringe everytime I hear the words ‘the momentum’ and suspect someone is trying to sell me something, not least because the Advertiser and Independent Weekly went into overdrive trying to convince us it was true. Just as they’ll doubtlessly do with Abbott.

    So why wasn’t it true Because the momentum stalled? Another world-of-physics – sciencey – metaphor, meaning what? Because the Liberals are ‘unelectable’? Again, what does that mean? ‘We loved them but then realised we couldn’t actually vote for them’?… Hmmm… quite the tabloid tragedy!

    How about the Liberals were unelectable throughout – because the Chantelois saga was their only real card. The pundits talked themselves into a golden dream of their candidate’s ascension – to be closely followed by its Federal sequel (ah, sweet ecstasy!)- but it never was happening, so it never did happen. When the local Tory media try to convince me of something because ‘it’s the vibe’, I start checking my pockets, to mangle a metaphor!

  55. Alice
    March 24th, 2010 at 18:41 | #55

    @paul walter
    And now Minchin is going….one fruit loop down…how many to go?

  56. paul walter
    March 25th, 2010 at 03:13 | #56

    That’s not a very nice thing to say about Nicholas, Alice.
    I think we have the explanation now, for such a weak performance from Abbot the other day, he knew or sensed Minchin was stuffed and on his way.
    Either that or Abbot’s poor effort was enough to break Minchin’s heart, on top of his other recent problems.
    Think about it also, that his SA factional ally Isobel Redmond almost lead the SA Libs out of the wilderness acouple of nights later.
    Now we all know how unpalatable an election night is when the people you support are denied and pollies you hate and fear and policies that offend you are continued or commenced.

  57. Alice
    March 25th, 2010 at 19:05 | #57

    @paul walter
    As I have said before Paul – you are too kind. You even went through the waste for a neighbour looking for the racing sheet (or something similar).
    Id like to be your neighbour Paul rather much more than Mr Minchin’s neighbour – something tells me he wouldnt do the same for his neighbour.

  58. Alice
    March 25th, 2010 at 19:06 | #58

    @paul walter
    You couldnt possibly mean that a rat is jumping from a sinking ship could you Paul?

  59. Ian Gould
    March 25th, 2010 at 22:52 | #59

    Rationalist :
    Labor may have won the battle, but in the war of ideas the economic rationalists always win. This is true in the case of SA and Tasmania and in every election in the foreseeable future at state and federal level.

    I tend to suspect that most politicians given a choice between winning the war of ideas and winning elections, would choose the latter.

  60. Alice
    March 26th, 2010 at 18:55 | #60

    @Ian Gould
    Ian – Rationalists doesnt beleive that economic rationalists could be losing the debate and teh hearts and minds of voters out there. Therehas been an incredible amount of negative press lately on all sorts of bizarre behaviour against people in politics (both sides) who have supported Obama’s health care reform bill. They have had death threats, rocks thrown through their windows

    and its being put down to the lunatic “right wing” fringe.

    Shame Ratio. If you asked ten years ago or even five whether the right had lunatics on board the answer may have been no (they are economic rationalists). No they couldnt been losers…but hey guess what Ratio? The far right is under attack not by the “left”, but by the mainstream electorates.

    You have positioned yourself with the losers Ratio.

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