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Monday Message Board

August 30th, 2010

It’s time again, once again, for the Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language.

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  1. PeterS
    August 30th, 2010 at 14:48 | #1

    I keep seeing suggestions that the Liberals want a new election.
    Surely, most of the invalid-voters would feel that their point has been made, and will return to Labor?

  2. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 30th, 2010 at 19:31 | #2

    John, the latest reports indicate Bowen has scoffed off suggestions that he is a $7 chance behind Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of leading Labor to the next election. But in my opinion when it comes to having talent Steven Smith is in a class of his own.

  3. Ikonoclast
    August 30th, 2010 at 19:45 | #3

    The antics of the major parties and certain LNP individuals this week (and late last week) reflect no credit on anyone. The high invalid vote might reflect disillusionment with those mainstream political parties along with a feeling that minors like the Greens are just not professional enough yet.

    A vote for LNP or Labor just results in more of the same; namely policies geared to make a rich minority richer and to ignore the needs of the rest of the community and the environment.

    It is very concerning for a democracy when people feel that changing their vote changes nothing.

    Maybe our best chance is to keep voting Green and hope the Greens gain more expertise as they gain more seats. Labor and LNP are dinosaurs who have proven they will never face up to the real challenges of climate change, sustainability and genuine social equity.

  4. Rationalist
    August 30th, 2010 at 20:02 | #4

    Looks like the LNP will win the national TPP vote too and have the most seats.

  5. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    August 30th, 2010 at 20:10 | #5

    A tiny bit of good news on the silly helmet laws:-

    http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2010/08/29/sue-abbott-civil-disobedient/

  6. Jim Birch
    August 31st, 2010 at 12:06 | #6

    Tomorrow ze world!

  7. TerjeP
    August 31st, 2010 at 12:59 | #7

    It is very concerning for a democracy when people feel that changing their vote changes nothing.

    You can have progressive socialists or conservative socialists. Surely more choices would just be confusing and overwhelming. Chocholate and Strawberry was enough for previous generations so why mess with caramel.

  8. paul walter
    August 31st, 2010 at 16:28 | #8

    “Smith is in a class of his own”.
    Moshie, you said a mouthful there..

  9. Michael of Summer Hill
    August 31st, 2010 at 18:50 | #9

    Paul Walter, why?

  10. observa
    September 1st, 2010 at 02:17 | #10

    Let me put the proposition to you that the stalemate in Govt at present is natural and indeed quite sensible given the broader global perspective. To where should we be moving forward given the current state of play? That question to date has largely revolved around the threat of AGW and its handmaiden a global ETS. Now whatever your views on the science and the IPCC has just come under some considerable scrutiny and criticism, it is clear that Copenhagen has put paid to any serious thought of an ETS for the forseeable future. That realisation certainly cost a 75% approval rating PM his job and in any case serious shortcomings and fraud have been uncovered in the CDM of late and that coupled with no real effectiveness of ET where it has been implemented, should clearly dampen any immediate enthusiasm for it. Certainly Bob Brown and the Greens baulked at the compromises necessary to get it all started previously.

    Where does that leave the great moral imperative of our time then? Like the ACT should we simply announce extremely optimistic reduction targets and pour resources into renewables like solar? This despite the overarching energy density problems of solar as outlined fairly succinctly here-
    http://brookesnews.com/?p=92
    which tends to suggest we will fall well short of any aspirational goals like the ACT have announced. Nevertheless both major parties seem to advocate more of the same with solar and wind subsidies, which Gerry Jackson decries with rather poignant reasoning it seems. As well mainstream media is also beginning to question just what solar feed-in subsidies are really all about and just who is gaining the benefits and who is wearing the costs like articles here-
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/solar-PV-AGL-fuel-cell-carbon-abatement-pd20100830-8T5VK?OpenDocument&src=sph
    Let me add to that the experience of my 2.1Kilowatt solar power system. On a wet rainy day in Adelaide at 11am it was producing a measly 47watts of power, not enough to power a single 50watt downlight but no matter as my home had lignite powered backup. You can see the problem for Adelaideans should we all have come to rely on such rooftop systems to power our daily lives. ETS or no, that would still be one large problem that no amount of aspirational targets could evade. Even accepting the science of AGW which is under some serious challenge at present, where then should the true believers be moving us all forward to under these problematic circumstances? Can you help Tony/ Julia and Co out here? Where is their Plan B?

  11. Ikonoclast
    September 1st, 2010 at 19:19 | #11

    TerjeP, I’ll buy you a caramel milkshake if you and your libertarian mates can get speed laws rationalised in this country.

    The number of speed zones is getting ridiculous. In a 15 minute drive one way to take my kids to school I go through (from memory as I know it by heart);

    60 kph
    40 kph
    60 kph
    70 kph
    80 kph
    70 kph
    60 kph
    70 kph
    60 kph.

    That’s not counting the return journey as I said and it’s also taking the path that has the least speed changes. The police regularly target the areas I go through as they know the many speed changed confuse drivers. Often they use unmarked radar “spy” vans.

    I feel all this IS an infringment on my liberties. Excessive laws and excessive policing do infringe liberty.

  12. TerjeP
    September 1st, 2010 at 19:37 | #12

    Ikonoclaust – I’d be happy to hear your feedback on the LDP traffic policy:-

    http://www.ldp.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1165:traffic-laws&catid=101:policies&Itemid=290

  13. September 1st, 2010 at 20:12 | #13

    @TerjeP

    This bit makes very little sense:

    The primary aim of traffic laws and their enforcement must be to reduce the potential for death and injury to innocent road users – to a level that is reasonably proportional to the need for an efficient transport system.

    Proportional makes no sense at all here. Proportionate would have been more apt, lexically, but since there are no numbers to express a ratio, it still doesn’t convey anything meaningful. You probably mean that you want a reasonable trade-off between having a functioning ad hoc alternative to the scheduled transport system and the externalities — in this case life-altering injuries to those you rather curiously call “innocent road users”.

    This isn’t much better:

    Moreover, what is reasonably proportional is a matter for society to decide, not politicians and public servants.

    How does sopciety “decide” if not through “politicians and public servants”. Society has no mind of its own, and if individuals make up their own rules, that isn’t society at all, except in the Thatcher sense that there is no society.

    This looks odd too:

    Our traffic laws need to strike a balance between safety and the need for efficient travel over long distances

    It’s the efficient travel over short distances that is the chief problem.

    I stopped reading about that point.

  14. TerjeP
    September 1st, 2010 at 21:32 | #14

    Fran – happy to have you as an editor. I agree it could be worded better.

    You asked how society can decide the speed limit other than through politicians and public servants. The answer is through revealed preferences which is what the 85th percentile rule is all about. However if you didn’t finish reading you would have missed that.

  15. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 1st, 2010 at 22:56 | #15

    TerjeP, in case you haven’t heard the L-NP have blundered and are not worthy of forming a minority government. The neo-conservative illywackers are not only small time con artists but Abbott is the biggest born liar alive for according to Tony Windsor the Coalition costing figures have been underestimated by some $7-$11 billion dollars.

  16. September 2nd, 2010 at 06:06 | #16

    The electoral gains achieved by a somewhat conservative Coalition now seems to have put the lid on misleading speculation about “the last Liberal”. With the historic coalition agreement between the ALP and Greens just formalised perhaps now is the time for Pr Q to put up another post entitled “The Last Labourite”?

  17. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 2nd, 2010 at 06:57 | #17

    Jack Strocchi, there is a small window of opportunity for Labor to get the magic number of 76 or better if Gillard can negotiate with Tony Crook over his demands that the new Labor government match the $860 million Royalties for Regions program for Western Australia State scheme to ensure greater funding for rural WA now that the NP have given Crook the bird and told to piss off.

  18. Alice
    September 2nd, 2010 at 08:19 | #18

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Hang on a minute Moshie – according to our media – thats not an 8 billion dollar “black hole” in the LNP fabricated costings.

    Its just a “discrepancy”.

    It has to be a Labor mistake of say 10 mill or less for it to be a “black hole”.

  19. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 2nd, 2010 at 09:55 | #19

    Alice, whatever credibility Abbott had he should do the wright thing and resign.

  20. Fran Barlow
    September 2nd, 2010 at 10:19 | #20

    @TerjeP

    Seriously, if in some alternative universe, where you guys swept to power and began trying to implement your transport plan, it would agbsolutely be the case that politicians and public servants were deciding the balance to be struck between these externalities and the discretion of road users, just as it would be if my folks achieved office.

    To say otherwise is simply the disingenuous populist spin.

  21. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 2nd, 2010 at 12:30 | #21

    Alice, I have to agree with Tony Windsor that the blowout is rather enormous and even Rob Oakeshott is inclined to believe Treasury figures over the Liberal’s bulldust. And many will agree with Wayne Swan that the coalition figures were “either deliberate dishonesty, incompetence or both.” To cut a long story short this is called cooking the books and now Abbott has to face the music for misleading the public and should resign immediately.

  22. Alice
    September 2nd, 2010 at 14:01 | #22

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Moshie – its so obvious the LNPs were making up their promises as they went along – both Abbott and Hockey. Knowing Abbott I doubt he sat anywhere with anyone to put these numbers together and I dont believe either Abbott or Hockey has the expertise (or many others in the party). To then approach a private sector accounting firm to do their budget was just a joke. They wanted to get a chance to put the boot into “bureacrats”. It should be obvious to many people that no matter how good a private sector accounting firm – doing the budget for the entire nation for a political opposition party would not be in their ordinary like of work and why on earth the LNP didnt seek the help of Treasury and submot their numbers for proper costing is beyond me.
    But the arrogance is utterly astonishing. When the hung parliament became obvious and the independents, as they should, sought some numbers on each parties costings – Abbott reacted very badly. He did look like a man who had something to hide and thats because he knew he had something to hide. His numbers simply didnt add up. I dont think this is so much deliberate as lazy. I think it more a sign of carelessness and a lack of seeing the costings as important to Team Liberal.

    Hardly the sort of sloppiness and laziness we want in a prime minister is it?

  23. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 2nd, 2010 at 15:08 | #23

    Alice, if Turnbull was leader none of this would be happening. Once you ‘cook the books’ you lose all credibility and no one will trust you again. You musn’t forget that Abbott kept on bagging Labor and now it turns out that he is rotten to the core. Have to go.

  24. Alice
    September 2nd, 2010 at 17:49 | #24

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    No if Turnbull was th leader I think they would have done a deal ahead of labor by now actually. Abbott is part of the problem.
    But Moshie – I dont really care for the policies of both majors – they are way too “large business centric” and both have fully subscribed to the free trade agreement, which I think is a monumental mistake in terms of our own economy. No comments from the back stalls will be responded to. I posted links in miracle of democracy part II which reflect my thoughts perfectly adequately.

  25. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 2nd, 2010 at 18:26 | #25

    Alice, if it wasn’t for Abbott Australia would have had an ETS & no crisis.

  26. paul walter
    September 2nd, 2010 at 22:38 | #26

    Last few, the coalition tactics have been negative and destructive, yet have brought Abbott and his backers to within an ace of government. Michael of Summer Hill talks of long overdue infrastructure progress in the big new mining centres, certainly 4 Corners did a take on it a year back and found in WA at least, governments had been very tardy indeed in returning money into basic community infrastructure in these places.

  27. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 2nd, 2010 at 23:12 | #27

    Paul Walter, I think you have misunderstood where I stand in relation to investing in regional Australia. No one disputes the fact that Australia relies heavily on mining, agriculture and grazing but the short sightedness by past governments to build on past successes and the lost opportunities has meant it is now more costly to correct past problems then two or three decades ago and we are now in catch-up mode.

  28. Donald Oats
    September 2nd, 2010 at 23:29 | #28

    Australians should be pretty unhappy with the Liberal Party: they withheld their policies from treasury scrutiny before the election, claiming that they couldn’t trust the treasury public servants, several of whom were appointed under the Howard government. It is a regular catchcry by the right that public servants are incompetent, or sneaky Labor rats (that is implied of course, the use of the expression ‘public servant’, said derisively and with a faint hint of a sneer, accomplishes that task). Perhaps we should reflect upon the Godwin Gretsch affair…nah, that is too unfair!

    Anyway, now that we have all voted and all have to wear the consequences of our collective decision, the Liberals finally submit “95%” of their policy costings for treasury to scrutinise. And the outcome wasn’t pretty, coming as it has upon the back of massive mining profits and an economy speeding along, with unemployment kept low to boot! Naturally, the masterminds at Liberal HQ still think they can get the three independents onside; I sure hope that whatever Tony Abbott offers them, they get it in writing.

    So, where do we stand? As participants in democracy, we’ve been played by the Liberals, and by the miners, and by a hefty chunk of the MSM. The Liberals have tried to bluff the Australian public with their “independently costed” election promises, and succeeded to some extent, it seems. Labor tried to bore us into submission – or a stupor – hoping we’d forget the Kev, but he kept repeating on them. And if the MSM is correct, KR had a leak or two on Labor’s campaign, which just proves the adage: better to have them inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing in.

  29. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 3rd, 2010 at 10:35 | #29

    Donald Oats, you forgot to include the most important thing of all that Wilkie’s swifty shows just how incompetent and gullible the rabble are within the Shadow Cabinet. Sweet revenge.

  30. September 3rd, 2010 at 18:54 | #30

    A while back on this blog I wrote the Tea Party off as a flash in the pan. But the Tea Party goers seem to be gathering steam and the US Right is starting to flex its muscles.

    This appears to be motivating the REP base which has been making some impressive displays of force recently, what with the recent upsurge in xenophobia (Arizona checking laws, anchor baby amendments and Ground Zero mosque protests). And the Tea Party gatherings which appear to be growing in scale.

    Perhaps its the prolonged recession or the removal of the rather multicultural Bush from the Presidency. Whatever, its making the US Right want to bare its fangs. And that means gains for the REPs in the congressionals. Nate Silver bears the tidings.

    Earlier this year I predicted that the DEMs would hold both the House and the Senate. It may be time for me to say “I was wrong” again. Its becoming a depressingly frequent event these days.

  31. Alice
    September 3rd, 2010 at 19:32 | #31

    @Jack Strocchi
    You would be gathering speed if you had billionaires funding you Jack (the tea party ought to be called the high tea party).

  32. September 3rd, 2010 at 23:37 | #32

    Alice @ <a href="http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2010/08/30/monday-message-board-175/#comment-266856#3 said:

    You would be gathering speed if you had billionaires funding you Jack (the tea party ought to be called the high tea party).

    Yes thats a good point, the billionaire support for Tea Party certainly helps it along. Although there is a large measure of grass roots populism to go with the tall-poppy elitism. And the TP’s are broadly ideological libertarians.

    But libertarian billionaires do not explain the resurgence of xenophobic cultural populism in the US over the past year or so. There has been a major Right-wing reaction against anchor babies, illegal immigrants and Ground Zero mosques. None of it supported by billionaires, AFAIK.

    There are some uneasy rumblings deep within the cultural bowels of the US polity, which is driving the phenomenal polling numbers achieved by the REPs in the run-up to the Nov 2010 congressional elections. The numbers suggest that this sentiment is more anti-DEM rather than pro-REP.

    Maybe average white guys don’t like what they think liberal DEMs stand for.

    It may simply be people being cranky about the shonky economy. Or it may be the result of the absence of Bush from the White House, who acted to temper some of the more nativist elements in the Right. Or it could be the long-awaited normalisation of the US polity towards a more EU alignment, where the Left is social-democratic whilst the Right is Christian-nationalist.

    It may be tha this Right-wing reaction is just a flash in the pan, more smoke than fire.

    Whatever it is, its big. And I did not predict it, quite the opposite, I pooh-poohed it.

    Damn.

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