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

The miracle of democracy, Part IV

September 7th, 2010

It’s finally over, and the outcome (if it holds) looks like the best possible. If it’s true that a country gets the government it deserves, we must all have been doing a lot of good deeds lately. Despite the efforts of both major parties to force us into a choice between focus-grouped piles of bribes and banality, we appear set for parliamentary reform, and a serious approach to climate change, tax reform and broadband policy[1].

fn1. Trying to watch the Windsor-Oakeshott press conference online was an object lesson in the inadequacies of our existing networks.

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  1. hjorgensen
    September 7th, 2010 at 16:17 | #1

    Yes, the video feed was terrible – I switched over to the online radio feed…

  2. Stephen
    September 7th, 2010 at 16:24 | #2

    The ABC online radio feeds were full, too, so I had to just watch twitter.

  3. paul walter
    September 7th, 2010 at 16:29 | #3

    Katter has a different sort of electorate and has responded on those terms. The others live in growth centres, want education and social infrastructure taken care of and want to leave a thoughtful legacy for the next generation.
    By crikey, Labor had better pull its finger out and stop beleiving it is entitled to be in government simply because it wears a tag with,”labor” written on it.
    Enough of this inward/backward lookingness that afflicts this country, how about labor adopts someof the “vison” of the more intelligent indies?

  4. Peter Evans
    September 7th, 2010 at 16:31 | #4

    Yes, it does look like a remarkably good outcome. The LNP has been captured by it’s hard right base, and they will not accept this. Entertainment is guaranteed as their bile and vitriol contrasts with the Government trying to look all statesmanlike and measured.

    Viva REFORM!

  5. Fran Barlow
    September 7th, 2010 at 17:05 | #5

    Yes, this is close to as good a result as any for which we might reasonably have hoped, given the system constraints. Neither side warranted support, both sides lost and the public won. We may now get the government we hoped we’d get in 2007 and finally begin to extinguish the Howard legacy.

  6. September 7th, 2010 at 17:08 | #6

    Pr Q said:

    Despite the efforts of both major parties to force us into a choice between focus-grouped piles of bribes and banality, we appear set for parliamentary reform, and a serious approach to climate change, tax reform and broadband policy.

    The outcome is perverse, but not necessarily perverted.

    The electoral polity shifted nearly 3% to the Right in 2PP terms. That is a fairly sizeable swing by historic standards. And the L/NP have actually won the 2PP vote.

    Yet governmental policy is likely to swing signficantly to the Left, at least compared to the most recent incarnations, based on pork-barrelling to focus-grouped marginal electorates.

    This counter-intuitive outcome was achived by the closeness of the result which forced the ALP to make liberal concessions to independent minded representatives in both town & country – thereby actually being more representative of the nation as a whole.

    I doubt whether the sky will fall in if the ALP has to make more deals of this kind in order to maintain its grip on office. I predict that this “independent moment” will promote the popularity of independent politicians and break-away parties.

    I also predict that the ALP will have to make some policy concessions to the Browns on the land in order to get through more policy achievements for the Greens in the city.

    Which is not a bad thing, on the whole.

  7. Peter Evans
    September 7th, 2010 at 17:31 | #7

    @Jack Strocchi
    I think it’s more subtle than that. We have a centre-right ALP and a fairly-right LNP as what counts in the 2PP numbers. But a great number of people voted for a genuinely left wing party, the Greens, more than have voted for such a party of the left since the 1970s when the ALP stopped having any left-wing leanings. So, sure, there was a swing to the right, but also a swing to the left for a lot of people, dejected with the ALP.

    There was a very nice letter in Crikey week before last. I hope I’m not breaking copyright, including it below. A beautiful summary:


    Sean Hosking writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial . There was a lot of unexpected things to take out of the election and one of them was just how badly, in attempting to decimate the last vestiges of progressive politics in the Labor Party, the big end of town and their media mouthpieces had screwed up.

    The Labor Party, ever since the early 80s, has been largely compliant in regard to the neo-liberal reform agenda at the cost of much of its core historical political mission. Gillard’s brief stint represented the low point of Labor’s descent into political nihilism, reactionary and right wing, not by dint of conviction, but because the dictates of “real politic”, as represented by talk back radio, the editorial of the Australian, corporate lobbyists and “what’s in it for me” outer suburban aspirationals necessitated it.

    So harassed and bombarded by the media arms of the ideological right and infected with the tactical gibberish of Arbib, Bitar and co, the Labor party had lost any real capacity to argue a point on the basis of solid reasoning, principle, conviction and common sense.

    Look no further than Rudd’s painful focus group tested apologies for his government’s “screw ups” in the wake of the stimulus spending which broke every fundamental rule of leadership, yet no doubt looked like political gold when drafted up by Arbib, complete with the latest political marketing buzzwords and tactical blather.

    Still Labor’s acquiescence has never really been quite enough for the ideological right and in particular the News Limited cable. If only they had known when to stop. Despite Labor’s bankruptcy as a party of the moderate left, by dint of not being the coalition, it still constituted a very effective means of harvesting lazy left wing votes and basically null and voiding them. A party that is nominally “left wing” and yet who are in reality pursuing a stringently right wing agenda is tactically manor from heaven. A Trojan horse for corporate interests.

    But ideologues by their very nature are not capable of restraint. They’re not playing a pragmatic tactical game, they’re pursing a total horizon of domination in much the same way that religious zealots are pursuing a homogenous utopia. They want everything, not just almost everything.

    In effectively neutering the Labor Party, harassing it to abandon any semblance of principle, vision and conviction (whether it be the ETS or the mining tax) and leaving it in the inept hands of the numbers men, the ideological right thereby made the bankruptcy of Labor clear to even the most tolerant of “progressive” voters.

    In doing so they forced a whole raft of moderate left leaning votes that would otherwise have been parked ineffectually with Labor straight into the genuinely left wing hands of the greens.

    So for all their denigration of the left, they’ve succeeded in giving Australian a genuine left wing political voice which is going to create real havoc with their “reform” agenda in the senate, and possibly in the house of reps. Well done.

    Spot on.

  8. September 7th, 2010 at 17:41 | #8

    This episode also illustrates another counter-intuitive aspect of (post-)modern politics, namely the cross-wired political switch. Which sometimes overlaps the Machiavellian principle (ends justifies means) and the “law of unintended consequences” or “ironies of history”.

    That is the tendency of politicians of a pronounced notional ideological persuasion to promote policies that would normally alienate their base, because their base has sizeable loyalty to the person themselves andtrusts them to not give too much to opposed interests.

    In the current case, rural regional politicians, in largely L/NP-tending electorates, are pleased to tarry with the ALP because they know that the ALP will be pay a higher price to bribe its notional enemies.

    Nixon could go to China make strategic deals with PRC (and Reagan could propose a zero-option to USSR) because their base knew that these two were not communist dupes or airy-fairy, touchy-feely, lovey-dovey peaceniks.

    Likewise, Keating could promote economic liberalisation because his base believed that he was at heart not a lick-spittle of the bourgeois.

    Howard was a master of this political ju-jitsu. He could promote high immigration because his base knew he was not a tool of the ethnic lobby. He got away with gun control because most people “know” that he emotionally sympathises with shooters.

    There is also a material interest in this process, because one’s enemies will normally be prepared to pay for what ones allies will expect be done free out of love. Thus Wall Street normally gives more campaign donations to the DEMs because it can afford to take the REPs for granted. To put it crudely, the DEMs are whores who must be paid to turn political tricks whilst the REPs are sluts who give it away for free.

    Of course the Liberals have taken the bush for granted for a generation, which is why Nationals split from the coalition to become independent. Poetic justice!

    So the lesson of the new politics is: it pays to betray ones base! Long live Machiavelli, who would not be surprised one little bit at this “miracle”.

  9. fred
    September 7th, 2010 at 17:42 | #9

    @Peter Evans

    Yes Peter, that’s a very good letter.
    Got a link please?

  10. September 7th, 2010 at 17:46 | #10

    Jack Strocchi @ #8 said:

    In the current case, rural regional politicians, in largely L/NP-tending electorates, are pleased to tarry with the ALP because they know that the ALP will be pay a higher price to bribe its notional enemies.

    And no sooner said than done.

    Labor’s $9.9bn deal for regional Australia.

    I guess the regional independents were prepared to allow the mining tax to stay so long as the proceeds were spent on the bush. All in all that seems like a fair result.

  11. September 7th, 2010 at 17:57 | #11

    Peter Evans @ #7

    I think it’s more subtle than that. We have a centre-right ALP and a fairly-right LNP as what counts in the 2PP numbers. But a great number of people voted for a genuinely left wing party, the Greens, more than have voted for such a party of the left since the 1970s when the ALP stopped having any left-wing leanings. So, sure, there was a swing to the right, but also a swing to the left for a lot of people, dejected with the ALP.

    I

    You are being too subtle. Its true that there was a localised swing to the Left, but that was a polarising tendency within the broad Left. Thus after the Rudd fiasco a large swag of inner-city pinko ALP voters decided to go the whole way and vote watermelon GREEN.

    However this Left-wing polarisation did NOT was not indicative of an overall swing towards the Left. Quite the opposite, the country as a whole swung substantially to the Right – remember the L/NP fielded a fairly conservative front bench.

    The ALP had no one to blame but itself for losing this election. Mainly due to diverse state reactions to ALP policy and political bungles.

    Most of all the ALP lost it in QLD which strongly rejected the mining tax. Alot of real estate developer lost a packet on the Gold Coast so the Sunshine state is not feeling in a generous mood towards Canberra. The anti-ALP swing in QLD pre-dated and indeed caused the dumping of Rudd. No doubt about that, the polls chronology does not lie.

    And of course the continuing degenerate farce of NSW state ALP finally blew-back towards the federal ALP. My guess is that public exasperation at the deplorable and over-priced public infrastructure finally caused NSW voters to spit the dummy. This may explain the anti-immigrant tendency in marginal electorates – voters can’t see the point of drawing in hundreds of thousands more people into already over-crowded trains, roads, schools & hospitals.

  12. Roy Wilke
    September 7th, 2010 at 17:59 | #12

    @ Jack Strocchi (10).

    Spending on basic infrastructure in regional Australia is long overdue.

    Even as an inner-city dweller (in Queensland), I would rather see governments spend a few million dollars upgrading a road or rail link somewhere west of Toowoomba or north of Noosa than on another un-necessary road or footbridge in Brisbane.

    And I would rather see the Federal government spend money to make life more bearable in the wilds of South Australia, Western Australia or the NT than chucking it into central or western Sydney.

  13. September 7th, 2010 at 18:18 | #13

    Alot of public money goes into Sydney. But it does not get spent on anything recognisably in the public interest.

  14. Mr T
    September 7th, 2010 at 18:42 | #14

    @ Roy Wilke (12)

    I would rather see governments save the money than on another un-necessary road or footbridge in Brisbane.

    I see the need for stimulus spending, but it needs to satisfy a real need.

    As for spending money in the bush, we have better infrastructure in the city because we live in cities. Our society is able to afford this because of economies of scale (or is it scope). And that is why 90% of the population lives in cities

  15. Alan
    September 7th, 2010 at 18:54 | #15

    We do not yet know who won the 2PP and will not know for some weeks. The current figure posted by the AEC excludes any electorate where the the two major parties did not run first and second. I do not know why we are repeatedly told that the Coalition won the 2PP.

  16. Jill Rush
    September 7th, 2010 at 18:59 | #16

    Jack Strochi #11 – I see you are writing out of the old paradigm. In many ways I have enjoyed the last 2 weeks because of the politeness of the discourse. As Rob Oakshott said – it can’t last. The mining tax was fought by the mining companies who will now have to pay a fairer share.

  17. Alice
    September 7th, 2010 at 19:19 | #17

    @paul walter
    Paul Walter, Moshie…my friends. The best result we could hope for??.

    The lesser of two evils. I watched Windsor’s speech in my office today – all stopped to watch. People said “why cant all our politicians speak like this?” It was truly great speech.
    Why indeed not? Methinks its because the dreadful media reduces them to soundbites , game show participants and boat people arguments. Shame about Katter but he has himself to think about, obviously.
    As to spending on infrastructure – Obama is starting that again in the US. Repairs and maintenance – roads and railways.

  18. paul walter
    September 7th, 2010 at 19:28 | #18

    Abbott loses that window of opportunity he currently has when Fielding leaves the senate next year.
    Methinks the fascist press will give the Gillard minority government a rough ride until then: after that it doesn’t matter so much, for a few years.

  19. September 7th, 2010 at 19:55 | #19

    Actually as this link shows the percentage swing to The Greens was more than four times what the swing to the coalition was. Most ALP votes were lost to the left rather than the xenophobic, parochial and ignorant cockie right.

  20. September 7th, 2010 at 20:07 | #20

    It does look like there should be some good outcomes to come out of this arrangement, but it also seems certain that the road ahead is very difficult. Labor will need to break bread with both the Greens and the independents on policy, whilst nevertheless being mindful of the fact that it so very nearly lost government to one of the most conservative oppositions in living memory.

    Although it is the discombobulated product that came out at the end, and may result in some worthwhile outcomes, I don’t think that anything like a majority of people really wanted the likes of the Greens, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott to wield so much power when they cast their votes at the ballot box.

  21. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 7th, 2010 at 20:07 | #21

    Alice, think positive for Bob Katter is still part of the equation and just needs to work with people rather than threaten to bring down a government. Katter will do well for country folks as will Windsor and Oakeshott. The only losers have been the Coalition.

  22. svenk
    September 7th, 2010 at 20:42 | #22

    @Fran Barlow
    its obvious you have half a brain

  23. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 7th, 2010 at 20:55 | #23

    Sorry Alice for stuffing up my last post as I really meant to say ‘the only losers have been the Coalition & Libertarians’.

  24. paul walter
    September 7th, 2010 at 20:58 | #24

    Which is at least half a brain better than you, Svenk.
    At least Fran discusses the issues rather than indulging in infantile name calling, because she has quite a lot, one suspects, more wit and brains than others here.

  25. paul walter
    September 7th, 2010 at 21:01 | #25

    Guy almost invites an argument from me as to the suitability of the indies and greens as parliamentary material, when you think of the drones and zombies the major party factions have thrown up as alternatives over recent times.
    “Moribund: does not even begin to describe some of these

  26. paul of albury
    September 7th, 2010 at 21:43 | #26

    How many seats out of 150 do the Independents and the Greens have, Guy? If this gives them disproportionate power isn’t this because the holders of the massive majority of seats are locked into a dysfunctional modus operandi?

  27. Peter Evans
    September 7th, 2010 at 22:12 | #27

    @fred
    Sorry, it’s pay-walled. From the newsletter August 25.

  28. September 7th, 2010 at 22:20 | #28

    @svenk

    its obvious you have half a brain

    Why thanks! Like the moon though, some people miss the other half at the back.

  29. September 7th, 2010 at 23:10 | #29

    Fran Barlow @ #18 said:

    Actually as this link shows the percentage swing to The Greens was more than four times what the swing to the coalition was. Most ALP votes were lost to the left rather than the xenophobic, parochial and ignorant cockie right.

    Your link showed the GREENs primary vote swing was four times larger than the L/NP’s, but off a six times smaller base. This invalidates apples-to-apples comparisons.

    Australian elections are, quite sensibly, based on preferential votes which more accurately weight voter sentiment. Most ALP votes were lost to the Left, but nonetheless the L/NP achieved nearly a 3% national 2PP swing.

    So the Broad Left polarised towards towards the Far Left whilst the mainstream shifted significantly towards the Centre-Right. The election was not, overall, a ringing endorsement of Left-wing parties.

    The media-academia-blogging complex does not seem interested in registering these facts. But anyone who refers to half of the country as “the xenophobic, parochial and ignorant cockie right” is always going to face an uphill battle against unpalatable facts.

  30. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    September 7th, 2010 at 23:18 | #30

    I was enjoying the absence of an executive government. Why did it have to end?

  31. September 8th, 2010 at 00:01 | #31

    Jack said:

    But anyone who refers to half of the country as “the xenophobic, parochial and ignorant cockie right” is always going to face an uphill battle against unpalatable facts.

    Amusing in its irony. The entire 0.6% swing to the Libs (less than the swing to informal), or thereabouts was an appeal to this above the usual tribalist voting, and this is the unpalatable fact you’re fighting not to register.

  32. September 8th, 2010 at 00:12 | #32

    Have I missed something or is Jack Strocchi’s comment @#28 truly innumerate and clueless. The swing figures from the AEC are percentages of total national vote so they do compare apples to apples and they seem to clearly demonstrate the green swing (+3.96%) at more than 5 times the Coalition swing (+0.73%). The size of the base is irrelevant, it’s not a percentage of the base. Is Jack Strocchi completely deluded or is this just the standard right wing tactic of loudly, aggressively and repetitively declaring black is white no matter how obvious the lie is?

  33. Donald Oats
    September 8th, 2010 at 00:16 | #33

    @Peter Evans
    Yep, I switched to the Greens (eventually) after building frustration at the taking the low ball estimates to Copenhagen, the watering down of an ETS/CPRS system into a tokenist piece of malarkey, and the failure to take a double dissolution to the electorate when the CPRS – after Minchin gave the red hot poker to Turnbull – was deferred several years, by the very man that had said it was “the greatest moral challenge of our times”. Julia Gillard hardly added to the situation, what with the people’s court or whatever it was.

    Now for the fun part: watching Turnbull attempt to skewer Abbott with a red hot poker someone left to him…

  34. September 8th, 2010 at 00:18 | #34

    Fran Barlow @ #30 said:

    Amusing in its irony. The entire 0.6% swing to the Libs (less than the swing to informal), or thereabouts was an appeal to this above the usual tribalist voting, and this is the unpalatable fact you’re fighting not to register.

    This is half-baked infantile Left-liberalism. The swing the L/NP had nothing at all to do with “the usual tribalist voting”. it had everything to do with the ALP harming the perceived interests of voters in certain states.

    The pro-L/NP swing occurred at specific time and places – toward the middle of the year, after the mining tax was announced. It was focused in QLD & WA which would be adversely affected by the tax.

    And in NSW which was adversely affected by an inept and corrupt NSW state government, whose infrastructure was completely over-loaded by the massive influx of immigration over the past few years. You can call this “xenophobic” if it makes you feel virtuous, most people call it common sense.

    And the relevant swing is 2PP, not primary. In AUS psephology we weight, rather than just count. By that yard-stick the L/NP swing was nearly 3%, which is quite a healthy result.

    Had Rudd not blundered in the execution and promotion of the mining tax he would still be leader of the ALP and the ALP would be in majority government.

    Those are facts, get your head around them for a change.

  35. Donald Oats
    September 8th, 2010 at 00:22 | #35

    @Ian Milliss
    Jack is just toying with us, probably because of the Labor victory. Or, more properly, the Labor/Greens/Oakeshotte/Windsor victory.

    If it lasts more than a few months I will be mightily impressed with the Labor coalition’s staying power.

  36. September 8th, 2010 at 00:28 | #36

    Donald Oats :
    Aha, as in the 7 Stages of Grief…

    1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
    You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

  37. September 8th, 2010 at 00:29 | #37

    sorry, I screwed up the formatting but I’m sure you get what I mean.

  38. September 8th, 2010 at 01:32 | #38

    Ian Millis @ #31 said:

    Have I missed something or is Jack Strocchi’s comment @#28 truly innumerate and clueless. The swing figures from the AEC are percentages of total national vote so they do compare apples to apples and they seem to clearly demonstrate the green swing (+3.96%) at more than 5 times the Coalition swing (+0.73%). The size of the base is irrelevant, it’s not a percentage of the base.

    YOu have not missed something. I did, my mistake. The percentage increases are taken off national, rather than partisan, voting bases. I misread the table, plead late night, preparing lesson plans yada yada yada.

    So the pinko Left of the ALP swung to the GREENs after Rudd flubbed the CPRS. That is a movement within the Left, not a movement of the whole nation from the Right to the Left.

    And of course the size of the primary vote is irrelevant in our preferential electoral system. What counts is the weighting, not first counting, of the votes. In this case, given the turn-around of votes to the L/NP in WA, QLD and NSW, the weight of electoral support wound up shifting the country’s political centre of gravity nearly 3% to the Right.

    Innumeracy and cluelessness would appear to be rampant amongst Left-wingers like Barlow & Millis if they refuse to accept these primordial facts.

    PS I am not a “Right-winger” or any kind of winger. Just checking the facts and correcting errrors including my own.

  39. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 8th, 2010 at 06:26 | #39

    Jack Strocchi, are you absolutely sure that the high informal vote didn’t affect Labor or was it just another aberration?

  40. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 8th, 2010 at 06:48 | #40

    John, I just finished reading a good piece by Josette Dunn entitled “Package a ‘good start’ for rural Australia” much of what is written is coming from the heart rather than the bulldust we have been hearing.

  41. Alan
    September 8th, 2010 at 07:18 | #41

    Preferential voting does not involve any ‘weighting’ of votes. If your vote cannot be counted for your candidate it transfers, at the same value, to your next available preference. End of story, trying to discount the primary vote is as inaccurate as the Liberal claim to have won the election by receiving more primary votes than Labor. Moreover the AEC quotes the national swing on the 2PP as 2.71%. That is somewhat less than the much more exciting figure of 3% and is likely to reduce as the independent and greens eats are returned to the 2PP count.

    Australia has a record of swinging against first term governments. In 1998 the national swing against the Coalition was 4.6%. In 1984 the swing against Labor was 2%. 2.71% is simply not a historically large swing against a first term government.

  42. Chris Warren
    September 8th, 2010 at 07:42 | #42

    @Jack Strocchi

    The 2PP figure is not relevant in a multiparty scenario – particularly when the swing is to a third tendency.

    If the swing was to the right – Oakeshotte and Windsor would have supported the Right.

    But given the shocks of GFC, climate change, overpopulation, and greedy mining magnates trying to retain their returns, profits and super profits, many Australians appear to be looking for a watermelon solution.

    The electorate has been very smart.

  43. September 8th, 2010 at 07:49 | #43

    Oakeshott and Windsor are true democrats. Hopefully their electorates will boil them alive at the next poll.

    From the AEC website.

    Lyne
    Oakeshott (Independent) – 40,066 votes
    Gillespie (Nationals) – 29,217 votes
    Frederick (Labor) – 11,456 votes
    Oxenford (Greens) – 3,645 votes

    New England
    Tony Windsor (Independent) – 56,317 votes
    Tim Coates (Nationals) – 22,965 votes
    Greg Smith (Country Labour) – 7,396 votes
    Pat Schultz (Greens) – 3,244 votes

  44. Jim Birch
    September 8th, 2010 at 08:07 | #44

    Wouldn’t it be an accurate summary of this result to say that despite a somewhat unpopular Labour government, the coalition really failed to make up much at all, ie, 0.6%. They improved their vote in two states with extremely unpopular labour state government but were neutral or negative elsewhere. Labour lost a protest or a shift to the Greens, Mr Informal did well and the minor parties also picked up a bit of a protest vote.

    Despite the current trumpeting of Abbott’s wonderful near success, he failed big time. According to a cartoon I saw, Gillard’s main attribute for most people is not being Tony Abbott. That seems to sum it up for me. The Liberal Party should ditch him. And do a bit of policy revision. Oppositional policies like climate change denialism – that appeal to the looney right who were always going to vote for you anyway – have to go. Next election Gillard will have settled in, and there won’t be Labour governments in Queensland and NSW.

  45. Alan
    September 8th, 2010 at 08:12 | #45

    Lyne 2 Candidate Preferred
    OAKESHOTT, Robert Independent 53,298 62.73 0.00 +62.73
    GILLESPIE, David The Nationals 31,672 37.27 0.00 +37.27

    New England 2 Candidate Preferred
    COATES, Tim The Nationals 25,990 28.55 25.59 +2.96
    WINDSOR, Tony Independent 65,032 71.45 74.41 -2.96

    The Coalition had its chance to contest these seats. It lost. Windsor did not need preferences. Oakeshoot was elected on Labor and Green preferences.

  46. O6
    September 8th, 2010 at 09:58 | #46

    Just being a little pedantic, wasn’t the swing to the Coalition about 1.52 percentage points, as one has to add Libs, Nats, Lib Nats of Qld & CountryLP of NT? This compares with 3.96 for Greens.
    And do we know that all the Green votes were ex-ALP? Evidence?

  47. David Barry
    September 8th, 2010 at 10:12 | #47

    hc :
    Oakeshott and Windsor are true democrats. Hopefully their electorates will boil them alive at the next poll.

    Why “hopefully”? If the voters of New England return Windsor again, would that make them undemocratic?

  48. Ikonoclast
    September 8th, 2010 at 10:24 | #48

    JQ said, “we appear set for parliamentary reform, and a serious approach to climate change, tax reform and broadband policy.”

    I wish I could believe it. Parliamentary reform will be cosmetic at best. There will be no approach to dealing with climate change, the coal lobby will see to that. Tax reform will be a non starter as vested corporate interests continue to get to set their own effective tax rates by controlling the government via donations and lobby pressure. The broadband rollout might happen… slowly.

    Democratic government is in corporate capitalist straight jacket and can and will do nothing that is not sanctioned by the power of corporate capital.

  49. September 8th, 2010 at 10:42 | #49

    Trying to watch the Windsor-Oakeshott press conference online was an object lesson in the inadequacies of our existing networks.

    But I bet the problem wasn’t between your home and the exchange.

  50. Peter Evans
    September 8th, 2010 at 10:43 | #50

    @hc
    If you look at the data from the the independents seats post election, in all three cases, of the people who preferenced the independent higher than the LNP or ALP candidate, more of them then preferenced the ALP candidate higher than the LNP candidate. If you factor in those who preference the LNP above the independent, sure, more of the voters wanted LNP than ALP, but not of those that preferenced the independent higher. And this is with the ALP running dead in all three seats (which they will continue to do).

    It is not a foregone conclusion that the independents are going to do badly at all next time around. And you only have to look at the examples of Mack and Andren to see very popular progressive, enlightened, candidates can do well in rural seats.

  51. Peter Evans
    September 8th, 2010 at 10:44 | #51

    Mack in Nth Sydney, of course.

  52. Chris Warren
    September 8th, 2010 at 11:00 | #52

    Tom Davies :

    Trying to watch the Windsor-Oakeshott press conference online was an object lesson in the inadequacies of our existing networks.

    But I bet the problem wasn’t between your home and the exchange.

    Why not just use AM radio?

    It worked perfectly for me, and has for over 50 years.

  53. Donald Oats
    September 8th, 2010 at 11:04 | #53

    @Peter Evans
    I’m pretty sure that after Joe Hockey got the seat they got drought relief there, or at least some of the Regional Development Fund goodies :-D

  54. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 8th, 2010 at 11:51 | #54

    TerjeP, where are you TerjeP? Did you know your mate Jarrah votes for the Greens. That is correct Jarrah is a Greenie down under.

  55. Fran Barlow
    September 8th, 2010 at 11:55 | #55

    @Jack Strocchi

    Innumeracy and cluelessness would appear to be rampant amongst Left-wingers like Barlow & Millis if they refuse to accept these primordial facts.

    I always find communication from that most interesting of parallel universes, Strocchiverse amusing. One has to remember that the rules of this universe is that observable reality be fit into its paradigm. Accordingly, Strocchi is not the least bit shamefaced about calling others innumerate and clueless in a post in which he was having to admit to being innumerate himself and arguably illiterate himself. Of course, in Strocchiverse reality is what you make of it.

    Of course, he wheels out the late night carelessness defence, but really, can anyone who has been as engaged as he claims to be with the voting process have made such a “primordial” error? It’s hard to credit. That’s either ignorance or dissembling. I call dissembling, because Strocchi is just not that ignorant.

    Putting aside the numbers, which do suggest a drift towards a more centre-left set of policies, the broader question though is what does the shift in votes in QLD, parts of Western Sydney and WA to the official parties of hard core xenophobia, debt angst, rent-seeking miners, rural patronage and general hatred for the cultural advances of the late 20th century actually mean? Is this really a shift to the right?

    I’d say not. Sure it’s true that the capacity and willingness to mark a ballot paper supplied by some far right dimwit accurately enough to count as a vote is, in a sense, a political act, but what’s less clear is whether the people marking these ballots had a firm grasp of the issues and had established a connection to a coherent philosophical and policy rubric. One simply has no basis for assuming most people in the areas above got anywhere near achieving that. Being scared without fair cause and listening to someone who tells you its all about “open border” policies or “spiralling debt” and helps explain why water prices, petrol and electricity went up is not really political unless such claims are connected to observable reality.

    If some adult child molester claims that ‘the kid led me on’ we tend to discount that because we assume the child wasn’t able to make an informed choice. In voting, we assume this fiction, in order to legitimise boss class rule in circumstances where it’s not considered feasible to do civic education and qualitative polling , but really, it’s no more plausible, especially in places like QLD where all the daily press is owned by one group of folks tied to the interests of extractive industry and property. Here, what people get is a steady diet of disinformation, driving them to disengage from politics and trust the loudest mouth on the street corner. Truly, no pertinent fact, “primordial” or otherwise, stands a chance in Murdochracy and its allied organs when confronted by a rightwing talking point. The ALP, to its discredit, did nothing to confront the Murdochracy and so rather than subverting xenophobia, ignorance and angst, they buttressed and legitimised it, with the result we saw. The outrageous moves in QLD and NSW to wholesale privatise public assets, despite running against such policies was manna from heaven for Abbott, who beat Anna Bligh and Keneally, who to be fair, had run dead.

    So is the expression by the easily manipulated of QLD, Western Sydney and WA of more vociferous angst than was available by voting ALP really a shift to the right? Not in any meaningful sense. Of those who actually had an informed rationale for making a choice, the vast majority voted Green or possibly informal, leaving the rightwing parties to duke it out amongst themselves for the spoils of office.

    That’s something one won’t hear in Strocchiverse however.

  56. Alice
    September 8th, 2010 at 12:17 | #56

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Mosh – there are a lot of closet greens in regional Australia. They want the NBN and they want public infrastructure spending. They just have not realised yet that its not a pro free market Coalition policy or the too similar Labor policy. Both parties have pro free market policies that are rapidly de-industrialising us leaving us with nothing but raw materials / ie mineral exports, if you believe Martin Fell. When you have no comparative advantage in industrialised output, why wouldnt industrialisation move to China according to the theory? (And we will be left putting all our raw materials in the one Chinese basket for our GDP).
    http://www.abc.net.au/overnights/stories/s2896370.htm

  57. September 8th, 2010 at 12:26 | #57

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    Been checking out my blog, MoSH? Good for you. You might learn something. But you might want to take note of the fact that I vote Green (in HoR) only when I can’t vote LDP, or any of the several other parties that I would rank higher. On my Senate ballot, the Greens were a fair way down.

    @Fran Barlow
    As ever, beautifully put.

  58. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 8th, 2010 at 12:31 | #58

    Jarrah, welcome to the socialist club.

  59. TerjeP
    September 8th, 2010 at 14:41 | #59

    MOSH – a number of libertarians and LDP voters give tactical votes to the Greens. I’m not one of them but I understand the logic. The Greens and the LDP both want a more sane approach to illicit drugs and think prohibition is s poor policy approach. The Greens and the LDP think assisted suicide should not generally be illegal. The Greens and the LDP both support same sex marriage. The Greens and the LDP think mandatory detention of illegal immigrants is currently over the top. So there is a lot of common ground. However there is also a lot of differences. The Greens think people who own guns should be treated as criminals, that anybody on middle class income should pay more tax, that smokers should be boxed in by illiberal laws, that private property rights should be violated for heritage and environmental reasons. The Greens are liberal on some issues but liberalism is not their core principle. In fact they are in my view essentially statist in their philosophy even if some of their policies are on the right track.

    I have a lot of time for Jarrah and I can understand his difference of opinion on how to vote tactically. Luckily we have the LDP to unify people like Jarrah and I, something that didn’t previously exist.

  60. TerjeP
    September 8th, 2010 at 14:43 | #60

    p.s. Jarrah isn’t a socialist.

  61. Ken Fabos
    September 8th, 2010 at 17:08 | #61

    @Fran Barlow
    Did we end up with this situation because Rupert couldn’t make up his mind? Or in spite of his preferences?

  62. Fran Barlow
    September 8th, 2010 at 17:30 | #62

    @Ken Fabos

    Did we end up with this situation because Rupert couldn’t make up his mind? Or in spite of his preferences?

    The latter. The bulk of the swing was in QLD where he has near untrammeled voice, including via his broadcasting arm, the ABC.

  63. September 8th, 2010 at 18:15 | #63

    Chris Warren @ #31 said:

    The 2PP figure is not relevant in a multiparty scenario – particularly when the swing is to a third tendency.

    If the swing was to the right – Oakeshotte and Windsor would have supported the Right.

    That doesnt make any sense. The general “swing was to the Right”. Oakeshotte and Windsor have already copped alot of flack from their electorates for not “supporting the Right”. They have their reasons, no doubt. But these reasons do not square with ideological tendencies within their electorates or trends in the nation as a whole.

    The 2PP figure is designed “to be relevant in a multi-party scenario” It is a method of distributing votes expresses, and “weights”, the voters partisan preferences accross a range of partisan options.

    If the 2PP outcome indicates a general swing to the Right then that factors in local swings to the Left. That is what has occurred in 2010. There was a large intra-ideological swing from the Centre-Left ALP to the Far-Left GREENs, mainly due to Rudd squibbing on a carbon tax. But this large polarising swing did not have a big effect on the partisan balance since GREEN preferences flowed back to the ALP.

    Concurrently there was a smaller inter-ideological swing, from the Centre-Left ALP to the Centre-Right L/NP, largely because Rudd stuffed up the conception and promotion of the mining tax. This had a large effect on the partisan balance because it turned over a large number of marginal seats, mainly in QLD. Those seat losses cost the ALP control of government.

    And of course, there was a fairly signficant (5% +) vote for largely Far-Right “other” politicians such as Family First, One Nation and rural indepedents. This all goes into the Right’s electoral column, although it did not translate into seats.

    Leftist “psephologists” have largely glossed over these inconvenient facts because it disrupts their ideological narrative. I am in no mood to be charitable and indulge their delusions, at least on psephological matters.

  64. September 8th, 2010 at 18:48 | #64

    Fran Barlow @ #4 said:

    I always find communication from that most interesting of parallel universes, Strocchiverse amusing.

    What you find “amusing” is probably not side-splitting to the general public. You dont appear have an observable sense of humour, at least from the evidence of your leaden prose and earnest ideological orthodoxy.

    Fran Barlow intoned portenteously:

    Of those who actually had an informed rationale for making a choice, the vast majority voted Green or possibly informal, leaving the rightwing parties to duke it out amongst themselves for the spoils of office.

    Shorter Barlow: The “actual and existing people” got it wrong. They have “false consciousness”. Lets “elect a new people”. Where have I heard that party line cranked out before? And how did that little episode work out?

    Fran Barlow opined tendentiously:

    One has to remember that the rules of this universe is that observable reality be fit into its paradigm…Of course, in Strocchiverse reality is what you make of it..

    Rather than get into a he-said-she-said slanging match I prefer to stand on my record. I barely predicted the governmental outcome of this federal election, not nearly as accurate as usual. I erred in not taking into account the Right-wing reaction to the mining tax and the ALP’s reckless population policies. Still, I won a bet on it, which is the main thing.

    That makes me four correct predictions of AUS federal elections on the trot over the noughties. And three correct predictions of US presidential elections, over the same period. The odds of this occurring at random are 2 [superscript seven] or 1:128.

    Not to shabby for a supposedly “innumerate…illiterate” solipsist. By contrast you continue to flounder psephologically – excuse me but how many electoral results have you correctly called [embarassed silence for about 900 years].

    So whatever it is I am drinking in the Strocchiverse appears to be working. Largely because I spend a good bit of time in error-correction, plus the occasional vindictive gloat. Its is a good way to get improve ones own score. You should try it sometime.

    And lets not dwell on the clapped out version of post-seventies Left-liberalism that you are still trying to peddle. You should have outgrown this stuff by now.

  65. September 8th, 2010 at 18:51 | #65

    Fran Barlow @ #4 said:

    I always find communication from that most interesting of parallel universes, Strocchiverse amusing.

    What you find “amusing” is probably not neccessarily side-splitting to the general public. At least going by the evidence of your leaden prose and earnest ideological orthodoxy.

    Fran Barlow intoned portenteously:

    Of those who actually had an informed rationale for making a choice, the vast majority voted Green or possibly informal, leaving the rightwing parties to duke it out amongst themselves for the spoils of office.

    Shorter Barlow: The “actual and existing people” got it wrong. They have “false consciousness”. Lets “elect a new people”. Where have I heard that party line cranked out before? And how did that little episode work out?

    Fran Barlow opined tendentiously:

    One has to remember that the rules of this universe is that observable reality be fit into its paradigm…Of course, in Strocchiverse reality is what you make of it..

    Rather than get into a he-said-she-said slanging match I prefer to stand on my record. I barely predicted the governmental outcome of this federal election, not nearly as accurate as usual. I erred in not taking into account the Right-wing reaction to the mining tax and the ALP’s reckless population policies. Still, close enough to get the cigar.

    That makes me four correct predictions of AUS federal elections on the trot over the noughties. And three correct predictions of US presidential elections, over the same period. The odds of this occurring at random are 2 [superscript seven] or 1:128.

    Not to shabby for a supposedly “innumerate…illiterate” solipsist. By contrast you continue to flounder psephologically – excuse me but how many electoral results have you correctly called [embarassed silence for about 900 years].

    So whatever it is I am drinking in the Strocchiverse appears to be working. Largely because I spend a bit of time in error-correction, plus the occasional vindictive gloat. Its is a good way to get improve ones own score. You should try it sometime.

    And lets not dwell on the clapped out version of post-seventies student politics Left-liberalism that you are still trying to peddle after all these years. You should have outgrown that stuff by now.

  66. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 8th, 2010 at 18:53 | #66

    Alice, the push towards a globalised free market has so far produced only regional markets and many commentators confuse the two. In my opinion Australia’s rural problems has been exacerbated by past governments poor planing policies rather than globalisation. Instead of opening up the interior, governments sacrificed the rural sector and are now paying the price.

  67. Peter Evans
    September 8th, 2010 at 19:42 | #67

    The Strocchiverse must be a place of deep resonant, all-encompassing laughter. Imagine, where the ALP is a centre-left party and the LNP is centre-right!!!! If only…

    But sigh, the real world imposes upon us. Except Jack, that is.

  68. September 8th, 2010 at 19:46 | #68

    @Jack Strocchi

    Shorter Strocchi: I know I am but what are you?

    It’s clear that Strocchiverse is approaching its own event horizon. It has nothing of substance to say, beyond apologetics for errors past and recitation of the banalities of pop politics. It seems the Liberals are not the only crowd to have discovered a black hole in their thinking recently.

  69. September 8th, 2010 at 19:51 | #69

    For those interested in these matters, the ALP edged ahead of the coalition on 2PP by 1010 votes (88.42% counted). (Time stamp 7:03pm)

    {sarcasm}It’s unclear if Abbott or the Murdochracy will note this changed reality in their reporting. {/sarcasm}

  70. September 8th, 2010 at 20:40 | #70

    Peter Evans @ #16 said:

    The Strocchiverse must be a place of deep resonant, all-encompassing laughter. Imagine, where the ALP is a centre-left party and the LNP is centre-right!!!! If only…
    But sigh, the real world imposes upon us. Except Jack, that is.

    Psephologists study relative (ordinal), not absolute (cardinal) referents. So the conventional placement of the ALP to the Centre-Left and L/NP to the Centre-Right is perfectly defensible. Its just too sad for ideologues if these alignments do not correspond to their fondest hopes and dreams.

    [Peter Evans to Real World: so pleased to finally make your acquaintance.]

  71. September 8th, 2010 at 23:32 | #71

    “Shorter Barlow: The “actual and existing people” got it wrong. They have “false consciousness”. Lets “elect a new people”. ”

    Jack, while I thought someone would criticise the elitism (which I use in a non-derogatory manner) of Fran’s post, I genuinely thought you of all people would be receptive to the realpolitik behind the sentiment. Voters ARE generally ignorant of policies beyond the news cycle, and ARE somewhat captive to the ‘narrative’ of their primary sources of information, and ARE normally lacking a coherent, well-thought-out political philosophy. Consideration of these facts is essential for any political analysis, and must surely introduce a lot of noise into any signal about swings Left or Right, let alone reactions to specific policies.

  72. Fran Barlow
    September 9th, 2010 at 11:29 | #72

    @Jarrah

    To which one might add, though it’s possibly unnecessary, that I didn’t propose “false consciousness” though might be guilty of suggesting “unconsciousness”.

    One of the fairer criticisms made of my proposals on governance structures (by Andre Reynolds and Terje Peterson) is that they assume too much interest in and capacity for the mobulus vulgaris to be actively engaged. I’ve responded that people will not be engaged unless they think it germane to their existence — mere sense of civic duty doesn’t cut it.

    As you note though, it’s difficult to make meaningful inferences about the polity’s position on a binary left-right scale if even the people who contribute the basic data didn’t understand what ther individual symbols meant, in left-right terms.

    FWIW, for my own interest, I did a quick tally based on AEC data of all the first opreferences of the identifiable ALP-aligned parties (SA, SEP, Comms, Greens, Dems) and persons (i.e the three Indies backing the ALP) and all the Coalition-aligned parties (eg FF, ON, DLP, CLP, LNPQ, LDP, NATS, Climate Septics) and parties (i.e Katter) and excluded all I couldn’t work out … (e.g. carers alliance, Building Aust, Aust First, Sex Party, Secular Party) in the HoR.

    This gave a total of 6.301680 million for the ALP aligned parties and individuals and 5.875655 million for the Coalition-aligned groups. Split 2PP this would give roughly 51.74 to 48.25.

    Interestingly, the current 2PP is 50.03 to 49.97 in favour of the ALP. The ALP leads by 6510 votes, not that at 88.53% complete, it ought to be that relevant. Others seem to think it is.

  73. September 9th, 2010 at 11:49 | #73

    The LDP aren’t Coalition-aligned. Our HoR preferences, as expressed on HTVs, is anti-incumbent. In 2007, that meant an almost equal split between Labor and Coalition, not sure for 2010. But excluding us wouldn’t have changed your result much anyway :-)

  74. Fran Barlow
    September 9th, 2010 at 12:48 | #74

    @Jarrah

    Fair enough then … as you say, not a great deal of difference but I wanted to err, if I did, on the side of the Coalition, so as to maximise their vote share and leave no room for anyone to say I’d rigged the figures.

    It is fair to say that the LDP would be a lot more attractive to coalition voters than ALP voters, although as others have noted, there are some LDP policies that leftist humanists and Greens would find a lot more appealing than ALP policies.

  75. Fran Barlow
    September 9th, 2010 at 13:12 | #75

    Interestingly, the current 2PP is 50.05 to 49.95 in favour of the ALP. The ALP leads by 12,711 votes, (88.66% complete) updated 12:47

  76. TerjeP
    September 9th, 2010 at 13:13 | #76

    Fran – you probably infer LDP alignment to the coalition through talking to me. In the last two elections I have been coalition leaning, although I did personally vote the ALP higher than the Liberals during the Latham election (with no regrets). Obviously those aligned with the LDP tend to vote for the LDP but how they vote in terms of second preference isn’t altogether clear. I know of many that lean towards the ALP and some like Jarrah lean towards the Greens. All agree that freedom is important but if they can’t have a freedom party they prioritise the freedoms they care most for. For example those in the LDP with a strong interest in firearm laws tended to be very anti-coalition in 2007, and particularily anti Howard. This was people who are pretty organisationally important.

    There certainly isn’t any official alignment with any of the major parties and for tactical reasons the LDP nearly always preferences the major parties last, especially in the senate.

    The whole exercise of putting minor parties and independents into major party camps is pretty unfair and counter productive to the democratic enterprise. If those in the LDP wanted to vote for the coalition why would they bother forming, funding and running a political party.

  77. TerjeP
    September 9th, 2010 at 13:18 | #77

    It is fair to say that the LDP would be a lot more attractive to coalition voters than ALP voters, although as others have noted

    Check out MenziesHouse. Some in the coalition positively hate what the LDP and libertarians stands for.

  78. Fran Barlow
    September 9th, 2010 at 17:05 | #78

    I infer it from the overall “free-enterprise” rubric while recognising that not all coalitionists tghink i t means the same thing the LDP does. Similarly, the ALP is seen widely as having some vaguely communitarian rubric and thus appeals more to those on the left, even if few actual leftists would recognise the kinds of communitarian values still espoused by the ALP as having any significant connection with socialism or even small-l liberal policy.

    Current 2PP is 50.09 to 49.91 in favour of the ALP. The ALP leads by 22,286 votes, (88.91% complete) updated 4:33pm

  79. TerjeP
    September 9th, 2010 at 17:16 | #79

    Fran – whilst most people have an opinion on markets and economics it isn’t the political decider for a lot of people. Many people vote Liberal because that is what God would do. Or they vote Green because they like critters.

  80. Fran Barlow
    September 9th, 2010 at 17:22 | #80

    Growing up in West Ryde, my family and indeed my entire street voted ALP, because they were connected to the unions. We lived two doors down the road from Cliff Dolan. The Liberals were seen as the sum of all evil, though until I was about 8 I found it hard to grasp why this was. I recall the story of my grandmother letting slip that she had voted Liberal in 1961 (the year that preferences from the communist candidate in Killen’s seat got him elected and let Menzies slide back in, just). Apparently my grandfather, the entire street and all the people at the Local Inn sent her to Coventry for about six weeks as this was seen as an unconscionable act.

  81. TerjeP
    September 9th, 2010 at 19:11 | #81

    Growing up my parents didn’t vote because they were not citizens of Australia (despite having four kids that were). At the time I had no clue as to how they would have voted given the option even though politics was topical in our household. In conversation my father would figure out how the other person was inclined to vote and then adopt the opposite view. I think he found consensus quite boring. Actually he still does.

  82. Michael of Summer Hill
    September 9th, 2010 at 19:13 | #82

    TerjeP, you are correct in suggesting there are two main camps within the neo-conservative side of politics, those who believe in the free market and those who espouse to religion. But in Australia there remains a third group of old conservatives, like Katter, who believe the old ways of protectionism, and when parliament resumes I wouldn’t be surprised if the three amigos will send a few raspberry tarts towards The Nationals.

  83. Alice
    September 9th, 2010 at 20:01 | #83

    @Michael of Summer Hill
    I hope they do Moshie.

  84. Alice
    September 9th, 2010 at 20:09 | #84

    @Alice
    Id like to see protectionism returned (some Mosh – its a question of balance over important matters like food production and protecting industry sufficient to self sustain here and maintain at least a degree healthy variety to our industries instead of a conncentration in raw rmaterials).

    I would like to see the free trade agreement burned.

    Im just waiting for the day the government gets sued big time by some bankrupt foreign company with a head office in the Seychelles who has done little for any production here and added nothing to the tax base – yet we will be asked to bail the foolish government out with our taxes – just like the taxpayers in the US were called on to bail out banks.

    Just like the taxpayers in Canada were forced to cough up 130 mill for a bankrupt US water company, when they closed the water plant, sacked half a town and point blank refuse to supply a basic necessity. (A water supplying necessity thats probably been running for almost a century quite well as a public institution).

    This is not free trade at all and its false to say it is.

  85. TerjeP
    September 9th, 2010 at 20:25 | #85

    Alice – bank bailouts are not part of the free market. Nobody disagrees. So why criticise free markets by bringing up bank bailouts? It seems a little weird.

  86. Alice
    September 9th, 2010 at 20:34 | #86

    @TerjeP
    If the banks hadnt failed under an increasiongly “free market” banking environment with little regulation over an increasing number of “off regulation radar” derivatives…we perhaps wouldnt have needed to bail the banks out Terje.

    It seems to me they couldnt regulate themselves (which is a core tenet of liberalism isnt it? ie genuine question) and investment banks like Goldman moved increasingly from the pursuit of profit from genuine value stocks to profit from pure speculation. But then Terje, how do you account for Goldman being around taking massive profits in 1929 from speculation. Maybe they do what they do well (not in question)….but maybe they dont know when to self regulate any more than you or I do?

  87. jquiggin
    September 9th, 2010 at 20:55 | #87

    Hi Alice: Could I ask you to remember your limit of one comment per thread per day
    Terje: To keep parity, I request one comment per thread per day from you also.

  88. paul walter
    September 9th, 2010 at 21:58 | #88

    Oh no!
    Please, just the thought of losing Alice and Terje in particular has me into almost instantaneous withdrawal symptoms, particularly paroxyms and convulsions, combined with a strange hee hee hee sound that emates complementarily from between this writers lips.

  89. paul walter
    September 9th, 2010 at 22:01 | #89

    sorry, “emanates”, not “emates”, which is more like “emotes”, which is probably what our delinquents did verbally when they read the prof’s comment.

  90. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    September 9th, 2010 at 23:30 | #90

    Terje: To keep parity, I request one comment per thread per day from you also.

    JQ – This rule is one that Alice really struggles with. I doubt I would be much better. I enjoy dialogue and would feel stiffled by an artificial comment restriction. As such I feel that this is a rule that I can’t successfully honor and would probably not enjoy even if I could. I’ll simply move on as a practical alternative. If you decide to lift the rule at some future date then I might try my luck again.

    A little nostalgia. I think I first emailed you to discuss economics some time circa 1998. I was pleasantly surprised to get a reply. Later on you started a blog and I’ve followed it since very early in the piece. I’m not sure if it is my earliest comment but the following page shows one from 2003:-

    http://www.johnquiggin.com/archives/001383.html

    The comment I made on that occasion still rings true. It sits very close to the heart of my economic worldview. Producers and their incentives, be they worker or investor, should be the centre piece of our economic model.

    As an aside it is amusing to see on that piece a comment by a blogger called 24601. I had no idea who 24601 was at the time but I now know him quite well and have on occasion even enjoyed a beer with him.

    Sorry about the times I annoyed you and made you cranky. Obviously I disagree with you on a lot of fundamental stuff but you have been a good sport all things considered.

  91. Alice
    September 10th, 2010 at 10:03 | #91

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Good morning Terje!

    Dont take it too hard. Neither you or I have made the Prof cranky. He just likes other people to have comment ability…lets face it – we do do a bit of swamping in all honesty (both you and I). Thats the problem when the blog is interesting. Would you post as often in Crikey or say the newspapers blogs ?? (which are pretty one liner low intelligence level posts) and lets face it…you can be boiled and cannibalised over at Catallyxy!. Or I would be anyway.

  92. September 10th, 2010 at 15:01 | #92

    @Alice
    “you can be boiled and cannibalised over at Catallyxy!”

    Alice, we’ve had our differences, but if you want unmoderated debate and have the courage of your convictions, you are welcome at the Cat. There’s an unrepentant communist, THR, who is a regular. You can bolster each other. And FDB is centre-left and not worried about getting into the mix. Adrien is all over the place ideologically, but instinctively left-wing. Dover_beach is conservative (not libertarian) and agreed with half of Katter’s demands, so I’m sure you’ll find something to agree on. Just make sure you ignore JC – it infuriates him and reason and logic don’t work on him anyway ;-)

  93. Alice
    September 11th, 2010 at 07:16 | #93

    @Jarrah
    Jarrah – believe it or not I wouldnt like an unrepentant communist for a bolster or a Friday might drink alone (zzzz). There would have to be at least a couple of centre lefts, a Dover an Adrian and a Terje and you.
    I might take a look.
    JC sounds intriguing.

  94. Graeme Bird
    September 12th, 2010 at 14:01 | #94

    “It’s finally over, and the outcome (if it holds) looks like the best possible. If it’s true that a country gets the government it deserves, we must all have been doing a lot of good deeds lately.”

    Exactly. Its just marvelous. Could not be better. I cannot understand the bile thats been piled on the three statesmen. Its a mystery to me.

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