Home > Oz Politics > The miracle of democracy, Part III

The miracle of democracy, Part III

September 3rd, 2010

By the end of election night, it seemed pretty obvious that we were in for an extended period of bargaining before a government could be formed. That seemed unlikely to be an edifying process – the usual expectation would be for a massive pork-barrel auction, throwing roads, dams and other goodies at the electorates whose members were lucky enough to be pivotal. Amazingly, so far at least, the reverse has happened. In its deals with the Greens and Andrew Wilkie, Labor has been forced to dump stupid focus-group policies (like the citizens jury), take on powerful interests (like the gambling lobby) and commit to a range of process improvements. The remaining independents (particularly Oakeshott) have made similar noises, so it’s possible to hope for a government much better than either of the miserable alternatives that appeared to be on offer a couple of weeks ago.

Of course, things can still go wrong, and recent experience suggests they probably will. But, at least for one weekend, there’s a bit of hope in the air.

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  1. Stephen N
    September 3rd, 2010 at 16:03 | #1

    I don’t dare to hope any more, it’s too depressing when reality smacks me in the face.

  2. Fran Barlow
    September 3rd, 2010 at 16:40 | #2

    It is indeed John. Prior to August 21, I wanted both sides to lose and yet I couldn’t see how that could happen. I think I said as much to Terje over at LP.

    And yet it seems that both sides have lost, and consequently, the lid is being lifted on how government actually works and something of the reality that lies behind the facade thrown up by the major parties. It seems that out of the ruins of the position the ALP acquirwed in 2007, we may actually get the government we hoped might emerge from that election.

    We may well get a government in which no serious topic is off the agenda. We will finally have a debate on gay marriage and Afghanistan and on-shore processing of asylum seekers. Finally we are going to get some action on a carbon price, through a comittee which could drive a wedge between the climate change mitigation-opposing Liberals and those favouring it. The Indies forced Abbott to out himself as an incompetent, a liar and an outrageous pork-barreller before taking power.

    Wilkie’s bait and switch? Probably the most Zen moment I’ve ever seen in Australian politics. Had I dreamed it up, I’d not have dared hope anyone would do it. Simply brilliant! Who needs sports when you’ve got people capable of pulling off stuff like this? Abbott is surely wishing by now that he lost outright. Glen Milne over at The Drum is having a conniption about how miffed the Libs are for preferencing him and saying that the Libs are expecting an election within 18 months in which they will preference the ALP in Denison. It seems to have escaped his notice that this involves backing a Gillard government’s legitimacy and declaring the Liberals plan to force an early election. Frankly though, if even the Libs prefer the ALP, why shouldn’t Wilkie?

    But I digress.

    I always love this quote from White Men Can’t Jump but the perverse situation we have here seems to demand Gloria’s quote here:

    Sometimes when you win, you really lose. And sometimes when you lose, you really win. And sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic globule, from which one extracts what one needs

    Very Zen.

  3. Marginal Notes
    September 3rd, 2010 at 17:01 | #3

    Fran, is that quote an “unknown unknown”?

    The final clincher for me will be the NSW independents joining the new Labor-Green coalition, putting further spine into the spineless Labor leadership, with Bob Katter as Speaker (complete with stock-whip in hand)!

  4. September 3rd, 2010 at 17:20 | #4

    I agree, John.

    It’s been great to see a bit of accountability and transparency as a consequence of the hung parliament, though I think this has been a pretty lucky turn of events. Bob Katter could be a bit unpredictable, but largely it seems (so far) that the independents are approaching it with a strong sense of conscience and desire for democratic reform.

    Of course, who knows how they’ll act once we have a government and parliament’s sitting.

    There’s some fairly interesting commentary on the matter on http://www.yopinion.com.au. It’s a new forum run by a group of uni students (declaration of interest: I am one of them) who want to see more balanced debate in the political and social sphere. You guys might be interested in checking it out and having a say.

  5. TerjeP
    September 3rd, 2010 at 17:55 | #5

    What is a balanced debate? Is this one where all sides get equal air time or some such thing?

  6. Peter Evans
    September 3rd, 2010 at 18:21 | #6

    Katter’s still holding out for his own fighter plane (and pilot). Apparently the sticking point is that it has to be an F-111. No one is game to tell him about the dodgy old wings on the poor things. No bi-elections! (I have just realised I have no idea how to spell bi-election.)

    Windsor to be speaker in the “Ted Mack Memorial Chair”, Oakshott to settle for a 250 bed hospital instead of 500.

  7. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 3rd, 2010 at 18:55 | #7

    Marginal Notes, it seems Bob Katter may have stumbled in the last 24 hours and Labor might be looking elsewhere for the speakers job and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Turnbull taking up the position if it was offered to him.

  8. David Peetz
    September 3rd, 2010 at 19:12 | #8

    If only one of the bookies had offered odds on the election winner being “a government that dumped stupid focus-group policies, took on powerful interests and committed to a range of process improvements”.

    Someone could have made a motza.

    It wouldn’t have been me.

  9. Alice
    September 3rd, 2010 at 19:13 | #9

    @Peter Evans
    Peter Evans – surely you jest. At least someone is asking for Coles and Woolies to be “gutted”. They alone account for one of the major reasons inequality is rising because they alone are ripping us all off – consumers and producers alike. Their reach is so widespread that my own governments (s) disgust me for allowing this obscene concentration to eventuate. What was their pathetic solution….”grocery watch”

    Give me a break. You say Katter “is still holding out for his own F 1-11”.

    That sort of comment only makes you look like an idiot.

  10. Donald Oats
    September 3rd, 2010 at 19:44 | #10

    I think that a few National Party members are, just quietly, fairly impressed with Bob Katter, and with Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie in particular has managed in one 24 hour period to get bigger cash offers for his electorate than any NP member in the coalition has managed! If the final tally puts the Liberals in government by the slimmest majority, then one or two of the NP members might be bright enough to work out that they can blackmail the coalition into porkbarrelling in their seat, in exchange for their continued support!
    Let’s see how stable that sort of government would be – or, let’s not. 🙂

  11. Alice
    September 3rd, 2010 at 19:58 | #11

    @Donald Oats
    Well – if that happens (porkbarreling) then I suspect its going tob happen to both governments Don. If Nats threaten cross the floor, they may be able to do deal and get some funds, before they do.

    It would be cheaper to listen to what they want and provide it (yes – tariff barriers up, yes an import tax, yes to strangling Coles and Woolies until they only share 20% of the grocery market and no exclusive deals with CC Amatil and the rest, and yes to some properly funded public services…).

    Both parties need to get with the plot. Id suggest three quarters to ninety percent of the population hates both parties.

    Its good. It doesnt matter who wins. They are going to cop it badly anyway. They (Labor and Liberal) both deserve it. Lets forget the days when Howard had a majority everywhere. All he did was make an almighty mess and continue the mess of prior governments who were also busy lugging pro market garbage in their cabin bags.

    I really dont want another election. I want to see both parties suffer. I dont want anyone to win.

  12. Ben
    September 3rd, 2010 at 20:21 | #12

    I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Rob Oakeshott put up a private member’s bill in the last Parliament to introduce a national feed-in tariff.

  13. Jill Rush
    September 3rd, 2010 at 20:38 | #13

    Watching Tony Abbott swaggering into a room yesterday showed me why he has not had the success of Julia Gillard in his discussions with the independents. I am happy that the public service is running the country as it is running well and it is nice to have a break from the unrelenting nastiness we have just endured. Andrew Wilkie is a public servant and he approached the deal with that as his background experience. No doubt he has seen promises go up in smoke before because there were no funds to back them. He looked at the coalition offer and concluded that if it looks too good to be true then it probably wasn’t. Neither party did deserve to win but no doubt the Independents are seeing a better way to achieve stability with Julia than with Tony. There are too many cowboys in the Coalition. If they are behaving badly now once they are installed in Government they will be impossible. Bill Heffernan alone means that they would be joining the devil’s party.

  14. gerard
    September 3rd, 2010 at 20:38 | #14

    Hilarious Milne article Fran.

  15. Peter Evans
    September 3rd, 2010 at 20:52 | #15

    Jeez, it’s called humour, Alice. I’m aware of your disgust with the Woolies and Coles duopoly, a disgust I also share. You not seeing the obvious, over-the-top joke about Katter makes be better comprehend why you’ve been banned a few times, and does you no favours in the endless he-said/she-said blog spats you like to get engaged in.

  16. Alice
    September 3rd, 2010 at 20:55 | #16

    @Peter Evans and your own comment wasnt at all snide Peter Evans??….seeing as I have never seen your name before and yet you appear to be privy to some history, can I ask if you are a troll or a sockpuppet?
    We are used to your type here and the sarcastic comments.

  17. Peter Evans
    September 3rd, 2010 at 21:32 | #17

    You’re entitled to ask. I use my real and full name, unlike many. I’ve been reading this blog since 2003 and occasionally adding comments – not nearly as many as I like but I very rarely have the time. I’ve have posted more recently – I’m sure you can dig into it if you care to. Snide comments about political horse trading is hardly a big deal. May be you see yourself as some sort of “Protector of the Blog” but I don’t think that’s necessary. That you may be feeling battle-scared and wary I understand, having noticed some of the colossal fights you’ve had. I have no interest or time for that.

  18. jquiggin
    September 3rd, 2010 at 21:48 | #18

    Alice: 1 comment per thread per day, please

  19. Tony G
    September 3rd, 2010 at 23:23 | #19

    It is not possible for Abbott to do a deal until he knows the lay of the land. There are still a couple of seats within his grasp with only 90 odd% of their votes counted, being held by only a few hundred votes.



    Anyway you look at it “the miracle of democracy” is the defeat of a first term government.

    The joke is how long it takes these public servants to count the votes and get a result.

  20. September 3rd, 2010 at 23:55 | #20

    Pr Q said:

    Amazingly, so far at least, the reverse has happened. In its deals with the Greens and Andrew Wilkie, Labor has been forced to dump stupid focus-group policies (like the citizens jury), take on powerful interests (like the gambling lobby) and commit to a range of process improvements.

    Its certainly a fluke, or freak, of democratic process when an election that saw a VERY large (nearly 3%) 2PP swing towards a fairly hard Right-wing incarnation of the L/NP may result in the formation of a AL/GP government that is actually more Left-liberal than would be the case than if the ALP had won government outright.

    I don’t know whether you could call that a fair reflection of the true will of the people.

  21. September 3rd, 2010 at 23:56 | #21

    One things for sure, whoever wins office will have to deal with the grotesque abortion that is the ETS. I’m for chucking the whole mess into the dustbin of History. Lets start afresh with a proper Carbon Tax, as per the Greens policy. The ETS was a fine idea in economic theory but it never made any political sense. Rather like the MRRT.

    Perhaps bureaucratic economists need to take a step back from public policy, given their tin ear for the public mood.

    The Greens should erect a statue of Nick Minchin in the Department of Environment in recognition of the fine work he did in paving the way for a carbon tax.

  22. September 4th, 2010 at 09:14 | #22

    Great quote from the Australian:

    Opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne last night told ABC’s Lateline that Labor, by wooing the left-leaning Greens and the rural independents, was trying to “put together a coalition of the mongoose and the cobra”.

    A minority ALP govt. will certainly be a miracle if it allows the Brown lion to lay down with the Green lamb. The balance of power being shared by minor parties at opposite ends of the political spectrum introduces a new weirdness into the ideological dynamic: centrifugal polarisation rather than centripetal convergence.

    My policy prediction is that Windsor/Katter will agree to support the ALP and grudgingly lend his support for a carbon tax in return for the ALP dropping its support for the mining tax. There would be a certain political sense in this as the former tax is popular whereas the latter tax isnt, particularly in the more rural states.

    But having Katter & Brown kept in the same tent and p*ssing out should make for some entertaining politics.

  23. Alice
    September 4th, 2010 at 09:28 | #23

    @Peter Evans
    This is my one comment in this thread today JQ. Peter Evans – for your information I have not been “banned”. See JQs comment above. Dont get personal with me and I wont get personal with you. Most of your comments about me are clearly from your own subjective interpretation. I dont see myself as any “protector of the blog” nor am I “battle scarred” and plenty of others have had “colossal fights” in this blog. Thats what makes it entertaining. From my interpretation – Perhaps you are not quite as benign as you claim to be. Your comment about Katter wanting F1-11s is more like a comment the Murdoch media would serve up. An attempt at ridicule with no fair assessment.
    The good thing to come out of this election is precisely that all the routine assumptions of policy directions and spin and underlying ideologies of both governments are being questioned by the independents. The divide between government direction (both governments) and what voters really want is being thrown up to scrutiny. Ridicule is just a base attempt to denigrate the person (yes take a personal slant on the subject – something the Coalition has been excelling in for years and something you seem to have no problems with) and hence ignore the rest of the value they may in fact be adding with their ideas and requests.

  24. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2010 at 11:39 | #24

    Jack Strocchi, the pact between Labor & the Greens, Wilkie, Oakeshott, and possibly Windsor making up 76 is more likely than not of making up the stable government. As for the L-NP, when the chips are down and all is lost why not take the moral high ground and argue that they stuck by their so-called ‘principles’. You will never hear the end of it now.

  25. Jill Rush
    September 4th, 2010 at 12:00 | #25

    I am not concerned about an unstable coalition of Labor and Independents as they appear to be reasonable people who are willing to work with others. We all know that sometimes just working and arguing for a position can have an impact and engaging with others with a different viewpoint can strengthen a policy position as it can take the flaws out of a position. It could be said that one of the real problems with the ETS was that it did the horse trading after it was announced rather than before. A Labor coalition with independents would help counter this tendency. If it is a Coalition with the Coalition however I am not sure whether this would work as there is so much bad blood between the Independents and the Nationals in particular. The Independents would certainly be looking over their shoulders constantly and would have a lot of pressure on them to support policies which they disagree with.

  26. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2010 at 12:30 | #26

    Jill, the GG needs to be reassured that the next minority government will be a stable one. The Greens and Wilkie have shown their willingness to cooperate with Labor, Windsor has indicated he can work with the Greens and Labor, and Oakeshott is such a jolly fellow he can work with all concerned.

  27. Ron E Joggles
    September 4th, 2010 at 13:15 | #27

    Peter Evans, “by” – on the side, rather than “bi” – 2, so it’s byelection.

    I fear that the 3 incumbent independents, when they consider the reactions of their electorates and the community generally, will realize that if they support Labor, they will be subjected to a torrent of abuse from a very hostile right, while if they support Abbott, Labor supporters will just wear it. It would be very brave of any of them to support a Gillard govt.

  28. may
    September 4th, 2010 at 14:42 | #28


    on a micro note re duopoly prices.

    this morning i went to an organic growers market and bought a bunch of parsley for $3.

    broken into smaller bunches of the size that retail in the big w for $2:50-$2:99 i had

    $25:00 dollars worth of produce.

  29. September 4th, 2010 at 16:39 | #29

    Michael of Summer Hill @ #24

    Jack Strocchi, the pact between Labor & the Greens, Wilkie, Oakeshott, and possibly Windsor making up 76 is more likely than not of making up the stable government. As for the L-NP, when the chips are down and all is lost why not take the moral high ground and argue that they stuck by their so-called ‘principles’. You will never hear the end of it now.

    It looks that way at the moment, with GREENs x 1 & liberal Independents x 2 tending ALP. The L/NP sitting on 73 seats with Bob Katter being everyones favourite wild card.

    But such an arrangement would hardly be described as “stable”, given possibilities of by-elections and the conservative tendency of rural electorates. If the rural Independents were to somehow disappear from the scene, suffer a tragic accident or be abducted by aliens, then their seats would revert to National.

  30. TerjeP
    September 4th, 2010 at 17:17 | #30

    I don’t want this ALP government to survive so my following comment might be interpreted as playing into coalition hands. However it is well intended.

    I honestly think if they want to put a price on carbon it should be via a tax not an ETS and they should compensate households by cutting income tax. In particular they should significantly increase the tax free threshold.

  31. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2010 at 17:25 | #31

    Jack Strocchi, if Bob Katter had not opened his trap and threathened to bring down the government, and had he put forward his wish list before Wilkie made up his mind then things could have turned out different. In my opinion Katter has missed the boat.

  32. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2010 at 17:31 | #32

    TerjeP, when did you become a socialist asking for a ‘price on carbon via a tax ‘.

  33. TerjeP
    September 4th, 2010 at 17:58 | #33

    MOSH – I’ve prefered a carbon tax over an ETS for around the last four years. And it isn’t the first time I’ve said it on this blog. It is phony to claim that an ETS isn’t also a tax also so I suppose I should be specific. Any tax on carbon should be at a government determined price not at a price determined by the government via the market following a government determined emissions cap. A fixed government tax will be far less disruptive to production than a quota based system. And over the long haul either will cut emissions by the same amount if calibrated correctly. Also a new tax if balanced by cuts to income tax isn’t any more radical than the GST was.

    I believe taxes should be radically lower. However even without getting a radically lower tax burden there are structural changes worth supporting. A carbon tax that delivers a reduction in income taxes is a reform I would support. Even better if fuel tax is ditched as part of the process so we have no more actual taxes in the mix.

  34. Donald Oats
    September 4th, 2010 at 18:04 | #34

    A question of quality?

    A miracle for me would be the government – ALP perhaps – to look into the duopoly food-sourcing from other countries, for sale here at many multiples of the local price overseas. In particular, I’d like to see the humble nut checked out: hazel and brasil nuts, pistacchios and cashews, walnuts and peanuts, etc. A few ocassions now I have purchased nuts from o/s – not necessarily intentionally – and found that they do not taste like what I expect them to. In fact, they taste rather strange. Maybe that is the way that are meant to taste and they are just variations upon the varieties I was brought up on. Or perhaps there is a quality-control issue with the way they are grown and the environmental conditions.

    Another miracle for democracy would be if a stronger focus upon the quality control of pharmaceutical medications is put in place, with a particular emphasis upon avoiding substitution of inferior generics for the original drug manufacturer’s product. I’m all for generics – I have used them many times – except that my recent experiences with generics makes me wonder about the pharmacologically-active content in generics, and whether it compares accurately with the original manufacturer’s product, ie 300mg tablets have equivalent effect, whether original or generic brand. I would put my experience down to an over-active imagination, except that it has happened several times (that I have had a noticable decline in effect on a generic), and today I happened upon a drug study Tramboo and Gurkhoo, Indian J Palliat Care. 2009 Jul–Dec; 15(2): 132–136 that hints at the differences through statistical analysis. Basically two lines of subjects are provided original brand or generic brand. The generic brand’s response is statistically weaker than the original. The differences aren’t in fact the goal of the study, but are uncovered nevertheless. To quote from Tramboo and Gurkhoo:

    In the past, differences between innovator and generic brands with regards to therapeutic outcome in patients have been reported for other antiepileptic drugs, including phenytoin, carbamazepine and sodium valproate. [14] Though generic brands contain the same chemical entity as the innovator brand, they can differ from the innovator brand in various other aspects like the manufacturing process, purity, enantiomeric ratio, salt of active moiety, or the excepients. [14] Hence there may be differences in the appearance, taste and shelf life of generic and innovator brands, as also clinical differences in therapeutic and adverse effects. Indeed, commentators have noted that bioequivalence need not necessarily guarantee therapeutic equivalence, i.e., it does not guarantee that a drug will have the same therapeutic and adverse effects as the reference drug. [14]

    Chemically, pregabalin [s-(+)-isobutyl GABA] is the s-enantiomer of isobutyl GABA. The r-enantiomer of isobutyl GABA lacks activity at ?2 -? site, and its presence in a pregabalin formulation may be regarded as an impurity. [15] Theoretically it could also possess undesirable activity that could contribute to adverse effects in vivo. It is thus, a potential impurity that could arise during synthesis of pregabalin. It is possible that different brands of pregabalin use different manufacturing processes that yield varying proportions of s- and r-enantiomers of isobutyl GABA, thereby explaining the difference in the therapeutic and adverse effects of two different brands of same molecule. This highlights the need for enantio-specific analyses of chiral drugs whose pharmacologic activity resides in one enantiomer.

    I’d rather hope that other researchers don’t use a mix of original and generics as a means of keeping costs down in their experiments, without treating it as an extra variable! :-0

    This is also a warning to the average consumer of medications – ask the doctor first, check the Australian Therapeutics Association – TGA site – for advisories, and chat with your pharmacist. Really though, I consider this to be one thing that government(s) should be involved in. Self-regulation or a de-regulated market is not appropriate here, in my opinion.

  35. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2010 at 19:13 | #35

    TerjeP, I’m a bit confused are you now saying that The Liberal Democrats believe or do not believe that the free market is the best mechanism to deal with climate change.

  36. Donald Oats
    September 4th, 2010 at 19:33 | #36

    Ohh BUM!! While my comments concerning quality of generic drugs are reasonable, I am suddenly a bit more sceptical whether the claims in the Tramboo and Gurkhoo article are in fact fully supported by their analysis. This is because the statistical analysis was performed by…oh, just read the Conflict of Interest statement at the end of the PDF version of the research article, to wit:

    Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: Mr Krishnendu Biswas and Dr. Neal Sule who helped in statistical analysis and manuscript preparation were employees of Pfizer, the manufacturers of LYRICA.

    Now compare the above quotation from the PDF version with the online version, in which it is stated only as an acknowledgement, without the affiliations listed:

    The authors wish to thank Mr. Krishnendu Biswas for statistical analysis and Dr. Neal Sule for preparation of the manuscript.

    The web statistics show that only about 10% of the people who view the online article actually download the PDF version where the Pfizer affiliation is clearly stated.

    It is awesome just how stitched up the pharmaceutical research scene is. The problem here is not necessarily that Pfizer has supplied “assistance” in this instance. The problem is that virtually every significant article I have seen on pregabalin has a Pfizer connection to provide “assistance”, making it impossible to know whether verification studies are legit or not. This really must stop. Scientific progress relies upon independent verification of a research finding, but with this drug (pregabalin) it is particularly difficult to find true independence.

  37. TerjeP
    September 4th, 2010 at 20:37 | #37

    MOSH – a price on carbon isn’t LDP policy. However if you are going to put a price on carbon then a tax is the most sane way to do it.

    Is a price on carbon the most sane thing to do about CO2 emissions? No it isn’t. The sane thing to do is to remove the ban on nuclear power. However a price on carbon is more sane than the current grab bag of renewable subsidies and “direct action” initatives.

  38. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 4th, 2010 at 21:34 | #38

    TerjeP, welcome to the socialist club.

  39. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    September 4th, 2010 at 22:00 | #39

    So when will somebody be teaching me the secret handshake?

  40. trout
    September 5th, 2010 at 02:52 | #40

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)

    Handshaking is for the Bourgeoisie.

  41. Tony Abbott for PM
    September 5th, 2010 at 07:12 | #41

    Anyone else agree with bob katter in that we need tariffs on all our imports?

  42. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2010 at 08:01 | #42

    For those interested in the latest news ‘Key independent Tony Windsor is reported to be strongly in favour of Labor’s $43 billion National Broadband Network and has criticised the coalition’s cheaper alternative as a retrograde policy that would create a digital backwater in rural Australia’. This says it all. A politician with a level head.

  43. Alice
    September 5th, 2010 at 09:17 | #43

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Mosh – the polls are now saying that people want the independents to go with Labor. I dont think Tony Abbott would want his new election now and I notice the newspapers have gone quiet on that idea. If we did go back to the polls, after the blatant fiscal costing ineptitude of both Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey – and dishonesty over the “Wilkie offer” which was never going to happen anyway, I suspect Labor would win. If they offered Wilkie a $billion – what has the Coalition offered the other three? (Thats what I would like to know – similarly irreverent amounts?).

    TA shot own foot.

  44. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2010 at 09:33 | #44

    Alice, talk of another early election is not on the anyones agenda other than the L-NP. As for Wilkie’s $ billion offer by the L-NP on top of Tony Abbott’s big black hole, well Wilkie just could not resist the temptation to get even. As for the Independents, well Windsor and Oakeshott have level heads and more in tune with Labor than the L-NP who cannot be trusted.

  45. Alice
    September 5th, 2010 at 10:08 | #45

    @Michael of Summer Hill


    Quote unquote Tony Abbott….

    “Well, because we’ve had it carefully modelled by NATSEM and over the relevant budgetary periods there won’t be a net cost”.

    According to NATSEM

    “We never spoke to the Coalition,” said NATSEM director Alan Duncan. “We did work for the Parliamentary Library that the Coalition may have asked for, but we had no relationship with the Coalition itself.”

    Maybe Tony Abbott meant to say NASA.

  46. September 5th, 2010 at 10:39 | #46

    Alice, you’re breaking your quota again.

  47. Franko
    September 5th, 2010 at 13:50 | #47

    Just a bit on Julia’s citizen assembly (or whatever it was to be called) – I agree it was a dumb idea and probably cost votes (not necessarily the same thing) but given the extreme disinformation and uninformed views on climate change abounding in our community, something was (and still is) needed to give legitimacy to taking effective action, as that action will inevitably involve costs to taxpayers. Labor was strangely unable to sell its policies throughout the first term and I see this as an ill-advised attempt to show the populace that ordinary folks just like them were able to be persuaded to grasp the nettle.

    Nice blog, BTW. I got here by searching for Graeme Bird, who I found was banned from here 3 years ago.

  48. OldSkeptic
    September 5th, 2010 at 19:05 | #48

    I agree with the concensus here, a carbon tax is the best way to go.

    Simpler, easier to fine tune, far, far more transparent. Can’t be gamed as easily, no help for speculators.

    Can start low then build up over a set time and directly allocate the money to where it will do the most good. Some for income adjustment (as per the case of lower income renters who have to pay higher power costs but their landlord won’t put in solar, insulation, etc), the rest for direct investment in alternatives and things like an electricity grid upgrade (essential for a major electricity generation shift).

    Plus apply it to everything including fuel (you can add back rebates for rural areas of course) and you also have the option of an imputed tax on imports, based on their calculated carbon usage in production.

    International carbon import taxes are coming (surprised they haven’t arrived already), so might as well get in first.

    And now is the best time to do it, as Australia’s power generation assets (including what we laughingly call grids) are all coming up for renewal over the next 10-20 years anyway.

  49. Ikonoclast
    September 5th, 2010 at 19:38 | #49

    I agree with OldSkeptic. I’ve been calling for a carbon tax for a year or three now on JQs blog.

    Actually, a carbon tax is what you implement when you actually mean to do something about CO2 emission reduction. Anything else is just more hot air… literally.

    It’s a bit like the parable or fable about the farmers wheat. Only when the farmer gives up all his other ideas for getting outside help and decides to reap the wheat himself does it actually happen. Same with CO2 emissions. Only when we give up the idea that the free market will help us and decide to do it ourselves with legislation (laws and carbon taxes) will it happen.

  50. Alice
    September 5th, 2010 at 20:04 | #50

    Yes Terje – here I am in complete agreement with both old skeptic and Ikono on the need for a carbon rice but needless to say it is yet more useless “government legislation” to you (and Jarrah?).

    No doubt Jarrah would like to tell me Im breaking my quota again but Im totally amazed at you Terje – who somehow manages to get away with 15 plus (closer to 20) posts in one thread in one day (weekend reflections).

    …..and is still completely wrong….

    or maybe speaks “twaddle” which is what you accuse me of?

    Sometimes I think JQ is asleep.

    PS – where are yours and Jarrah’s profound numbers that back up your own sweeping assertive statements (like you accuse me of not having)? I dont see any. Where are your numbers – both of you?

    Both a pair of total hypocrites abd both quick to denigrate me. Give me one post where you two have provided any substantive factual or numerical data to back up your arguments? A link will do.. eg Terje says “Is a price on carbon the most sane thing to do about CO2 emissions? No it isn’t. The sane thing to do is to remove the ban on nuclear power. ”

    Numbers? Cost benefits? Logical reasoning? Non existent – same with Jarrah.

    Maybe this blog would be more intellectual if you two actually practised… what you preach instead of ramping up behind my restriction with a row of insults.

    JQ has banned you before – andJarrah needs banning for plain rudeness.

    Youre lucky you are right wing – both of you. JQ is more lenient with you…because you are more worth saving from your own delusions.

  51. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 5th, 2010 at 20:16 | #51

    Alice, don’t be so peed off for there are various organisations and individuals who are paid to destabilise the left.

  52. Alice
    September 5th, 2010 at 21:23 | #52

    I am peed off Mosh. Why is JQ so tolerant? Terje is up to post 17 on weekend reflections just for today and he is still….blathering on and wrong and misguided (as usual). Paid?

    It wouldnt surprise me at all…what gets me is they get clean away with all sorts of liberties and rudenesses and how will the moderates ever win unless we learn to fight?. Wasnt that and isnt that the biggest criticism of the left…they didnt fight…they fragmented and fought themselves a la Monthy Python in the Collosseum episode? Like a bunch of losers – except the tide is turning Mosh and people are tiring of the right.

    Well Im not left, Im normal and in the middle. I can appreciate Bob Brown as well as I can appreciate Bob Katter – and I appreciated Rudd and I dont yet know Gillard – but I dont like the way she sank to the same level as Abbott (well not quite as low but heading in the same direction) by fearmongering on boat people and playing to the bogun vote (Sorry Mosh – I know you like Labor but that was weak )

    If its a fight we need its a fight we need to have.

    Im not one for taking rubbish anymore. Im too old and you only live once and you only get to speak your mind in one lifetime and to me, its too short especially when it may take you thirty years before you even begin to say what you really think – and I say they can take their rightwing propaganda to the rubbish tip (good if someone is paying them for that – why should the taxpayers bear the cost? User pays for removal seems suitable to me.).
    The market approach to analyse everything from bananas to broadband, a local bridge or a school hall, and whether we need it (and the fact we have to discuss whether Big Bob Private Businessman is going to build it first – when we all know he isnt) is a con, a waste of time and its dysfunctional. Causes paralysis. Maybe economics is to blame.

    Never underestimate the power of a conscience to wither one slowly. It happens. Thats the justice for paid mouthpieces who sell their soul to might not right, Mosh.

  53. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    September 5th, 2010 at 21:31 | #53

    Alice – I don’t care how many comments you make in a day. It is between you and JQ. However rather than compare your limit to me, and cry about how unfair it is, why don’t you compare it to MOSH or any number of other participants from the left, right or middle and ponder why it is that they are not on the same leash you are on.

    As for your suggestion that I am paid to comment here, that is both untrue and utterly ridiculous.

  54. Alice
    September 6th, 2010 at 08:54 | #54

    Alice, please use your assigned comment for constructive contributions, rather than slanging matches with other commenters. To other commenters, please play fair, and don’t make sharply critical responses to Alice, given that she is limited in her capacity to respond. To everyone, please avoid personal attacks. Dealing with them is one of the reasons I had to go on hiatus, so if you want the blog to continue, please stick to civil discussion of the issues – JQ

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