Home > Oz Politics > Not enough votes = broken promise? (Update: as it turns out, yes)

Not enough votes = broken promise? (Update: as it turns out, yes)

January 20th, 2012

Update With brilliant timing, I wrote this post the day before Gillard announced that she was in fact breaking her promise, and would not bring the legislation to a vote. Presumably she had already signalled this to the media, which was why the accusations of a broken promise were being made, accurately if a little prematurely. Yet again, Gillard has lived down to my lowest expectations, while Abbott has (of course) been even worse End Update

Regular readers will know that I’m no fan of our current PM and a strong supporter of legislation to limit the damage caused by pokies and other forms of gambling that rely primarily on problem gamblers for their viability. And, having been overseas for much of last year, there may be some political nuances I’m missing.[1]

Still, I can’t see how Gillard can be accused of breaking a promise to Andrew Wilkie on pokies on the basis that she has failed to get the numbers for it. On that basis, for example, Rudd broke his promise on an ETS, not when he dropped the idea under pressure from Gillard and the NSW right, but when the Senate rejected the legislation. And every government in recent history has made election promises then had their proposals rejected in the Senate (the silly idea of a mandate, supposed to require the Senate to acquiesce in government legislation, never had any effect on this). Occasionally, such rejections lead to the PM being criticised for lacking negotiation skills. But I’ve never before seen such a case treated as a broken promise.

fn1. Most obviously, it might be that the government is secretly encouraging other independents to oppose the law. I haven’t seen any suggestion to this effect, but it’s about the only thing that would make sense of the “broken promise” claim.

Categories: Oz Politics Tags:
  1. Chris Warren
    January 20th, 2012 at 16:38 | #1

    Yes, Gillard is being very coy here.

    The numbers have changed in the HoR, not the arguments for and against pokies.

    The promise to legislate was made by Gillard to obtain government. She is honor bound to ignore the change in votes and to proceed to introducing legislation as intended, and leave it up to the HoR as to whether it gets passed or not.

    I assumed the legislation was already in the works. Presumably if Gillard promised that legislation would be introduced, this implies that the ALP party would vote for it and there would be sufficient votes to carry it.

    The ALP vote has not decreased – it has increased, so there should be no reason for there to be any extra difficulty in getting through the HoR.

    The whole difficulty appears to be Gillard’s opportunism.

    The claim of a ‘broken promise’ may have some basis.

  2. John Quiggin
    January 20th, 2012 at 16:45 | #2

    “Presumably if Gillard promised that legislation would be introduced, this implies that the ALP party would vote for it and there would be sufficient votes to carry it.”

    how does this presumption work? We know the promise was made after the election, so how could anyone know whether there would be sufficient votes? Did Oakeshott and Windsor promise too?

    What you say in the previous para makes more sense and contradicts everything thereafter. Gillard is honour bound to prepare legislation that meets the concerns of independents as far as possible, then as you say, “leave it up to the HoR as to whether it gets passed or not.”

  3. Chris Warren
    January 20th, 2012 at 17:25 | #3

    If Jenkins is in the Chair – ALP does not have his vote on the floor, and the libs have Slipper.

    If Jenkins leaves the chair, and Slipper goes in – the ALP vote goes up 1 to 73, the Coalition goes down one to 71.

    There is no change in the crossbenches – Crook, Windsor, Brandt, Oakeshott, Wilkie.

    So as I said; the ALP vote has not decreased – it has increased.

    So there should be no reason for any extra difficulty, based on numbers, in getting legislation progressed and through the House.

    If there is any extra difficulty, Gillard has introduced it.

    The numbers will only be clear on a vote in the HoR, although pokie legislation is doomed if both Oakeshott and Windsor side with the Coalition. Tony Crook may wobble, but Wilkie has visited him (with apparently no result), Surely Crook will line up with Abbott on this.

    Gillard cannot yet claim that she was blocked by the HoR or the Senate etc.

    Parliament resumes Feb 7. If I was Wilkie, I would want to see a Bill somewhere in the works.

    Unless all of Oakeshott, Windsor, and Crook explicitly come out opposing Wilkie, a Bill is likely to get 75 votes.

  4. Chris Warren
    January 20th, 2012 at 17:27 | #4

    ALP vote goes up 1 to 72 with the return of Jenkins – not 73..

  5. Sam
    January 20th, 2012 at 18:26 | #5

    So exactly which cross-benchers are blocking this? It was my understanding that the real problem lay with certain Labor backbenchers.

  6. George K
    January 20th, 2012 at 18:40 | #6

    Numbers have not changed, it was never going to be approved even by the ALP, Gillard knew it and the ALP knew it. Really she is now 2 up with Slipper deal and has the ALp numbers and the Greens in the senate to appove it. She just agreed just to become PM. SO when you know you cannot do something and promise it it is simply a lie, then what do you expect from a great “lienator”

  7. John Quiggin
    January 20th, 2012 at 18:44 | #7

    There are plenty of Labor backbenchers unhappy with this, but they will do as they are told, since the alternative is instant expulsion.

    The cross-benchers whose votes are needed are Oakeshott and Windsor or, failing one of them Crook.

    So, Chris and I now appear to agree – Gillard is guilty of breaking a promise if and only if
    (i) Oakeshott and Windsor don’t unequivocally commit against (in which case there is no point in bringing the bill forward)
    (ii) She nevertheless fails to bring the bill forward.

    If she puts it to a vote, and doesn’t get a majority, I can’t see that she can be blamed.

    That seems to me to be very different from the view put forward by many commentators.

  8. Chris Warren
    January 20th, 2012 at 18:55 | #8

    @George K

    You are exaggerating – channelling Alan Jones?

    Gillard agreed with Wilkie, and there have been no significant enough changes for this high-level agreement to fall over.

    If the numbers are possibly “not there”, legislation can still go forward to test this presumption.

    Gillard’s government can change promises made before an election provided there is cause.

    If legislation (precommitment or 1 dollar limit) does not surface, and the position of Windsor and Oakeshott is unclear, then only will there be a ‘broken promise’ tattoo across her forehead.

    If both Oakeshoot and Windsor oppose Wilkie then Gillard just needs to let a Bill come and go and let everyone vent as they want and perform in accordance with their agreement. This is the high road.

  9. Jill Rush
    January 20th, 2012 at 20:13 | #9

    Wilkie appears to have a sound appreciation of the politics and is working hard on getting the numbers. Gillard will have to put the legislation forward and can promise the Labor Party votes.

    Wilkie has to convince the other independents who, in NSW, are representing large numbers of pokies. Not easy. It is hard to see why a WA independent wouldn’t support changing to $1 bets but the name seems to tell a story.

    The Coalition could give Wilkie the numbers quite easily and support the Productivity Commission’s recommendations but seems in the thrall of the pokie industry, an industry which shatters families, which must bring its credentials into question.

    Gillard could take up that argument. It would work as a way of convincing people that she has what it takes to keep her word and that she has strength and cares about families. Lukewarm support for the change means that she cannnot make the comparison to Tony Abbott’s lack of concern for the families of Australia, whose lives are ruined by the current regime.

    She has a credibility problem, so while she can’t legitimately be blamed if the legislation isn’t passed, people will still blame her because that’s what they do. She needs to be our good Queen Bess standing up to the Armada. It might even save her.

  10. Hermit
    January 21st, 2012 at 14:12 | #10

    Memo to independents cowed by the poker machine sad sacks.. people have long memories. Same goes for party hacks Next election when they want your vote say ‘sorry you blew it’. I doubt if the major parties have countenanced an increased Green vote. In the meantime we could boycott venues that have unregulated pokies. I guess that’s everywhere outside the ACT. Refuse to attend meetings and dinners at pokies clubs saying it goes against principle.

  11. January 21st, 2012 at 15:44 | #11

    The media coverage of this has been appalling – but I guess we’re used to it now. They’ll be back on Ruddstoration conspiracies after this blows over.

    If Gillard welshes, Wilkie would have no problems in saying so. What she has delivered is 72ALP votes but cannot get 1 other (72+wilkie+brandt – needs 1 more or maybe 3 no shows)

    Wilkie is busy trying to negotiate that vote from somewhere. He saw Crook last week but like the other independents they say “can’t comment, seen no bill” which I presume is code for “No, will not support but too gutless to say so”.

    What it will take for one of them to committ I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks – in the meantime, the Evil Gillard is ratting on Wilkie because she’s got Slipper line will be played out the usual dumb farts. Incidently, same oxygen thieves who didn’t see the Slipper thing coming even whilst covering Rudd and Slipper meeting whislt Howard was installing a new creep to take Slipper’s seat.

  12. Troy Prideaux
    January 21st, 2012 at 16:38 | #12

    Looks like it’s all over :( Deal looks off. Yet another shameful day for our pollies and media.

  13. Nicholas Gruen
    January 21st, 2012 at 16:47 | #13

    Gillard should seek the best agreement she can get with the independents and then see if she can get it through. That doesn’t seem to be what she’s done.

    I agree that if she did so and then couldn’t get it through, her current course of action would be fine.

  14. January 21st, 2012 at 19:10 | #14

    Well that settles it then. “Broken Promise” it is.

    http://www.andrewwilkie.org/content/index.php/aw/press_releases_extended/andrew_wilkie_withdraws_support_for_government

    What kind of imbeciles are advising this government? How can anyone argue next time some clown yells “JuLiar”?

    This country is demonstrably being run by unelected, unaccountable, unrepresentative powerful lobbies and lobbyists. After wikileaks gave us irrefuted proof that the US runs people like Shorten and Arbib I had hoped that more people would be more angered.

    Our media is mostly to blame for all of these things having less traction than they should. I think that this situation is coming to an end as travesties accumulate (broken promise on Tas forests, virtual silence on CSG, etc..). Hope I’m right but Murdoch has a few billion dollars which say I’m wrong.

  15. Jill Rush
    January 21st, 2012 at 19:41 | #15

    Well it seems that Gillard has another fail. The only thing in her favour is that Abbott while being able to nail the lack of integrity has his own problems. His light hearted dismissal of the passengers and crew of the Costa Concordia and his negligence as to the consequences if he is PM and turning back boats is appalling.

  16. rog
    January 21st, 2012 at 21:09 | #16

    Abbott makes Julia look good.

  17. January 21st, 2012 at 22:27 | #17

    All over Australia tonight die-hard rusted on Labor faithful are frantically debating, and awaiting, the received wisdom on how to deal with the pokies “lie”(?)/”broken promise”(?)/”backflip”(?)/”compromise”.

    Yes, pragmatic compromise when faced with the cold hard reality of the numbers. That’s it! Howard did something like that, we can too!

    The interesting thing about moments like this is that suddenly the hack apologists come out into the open.

  18. paul walter
    January 21st, 2012 at 22:58 | #18

    No, I thought it was grubby.

  19. BilB
    January 22nd, 2012 at 06:04 | #19

    This is a mistake for Julia Gillard to back out of this initiative.

    It is also yet again a massive fail for Australian Journalism. The Cubs Association $3billion dollar lie that the media have been happy to fling around is offensive. The fact is that there are fewer than 200,000 poker machines in Australia with an average cost of $12,000, so the total replacement cost all of Australia’s poker machines is only 2.4 billion dollars. This is way short of the 3 billion dollars that the clubs have been declaring.

    What is wrong with our journalists? Are they so stupid that they can’t do basic research and primary school arithmetic???

    This is what the whole thing is about……..

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-nsw/panthers-could-bring-down-penrith-as-losses-force-club-to-shrink/story-e6freuzi-1226147341846

    Money.

    And what might happen if the tap gets turned off.

    Empires might fall.

    Well they are going to fall anyway because the whole thing is built on greed, with a total disregard for people.

    And State governments who have convinced themselves that they need the poker machine revenues are equally greedy, ….stupid, and show an equal disregard for hte victims of this pathetic extortion.

    The fact is that money not put through poker machines will still circulate throught the economy, only it will be put to far better use buying such things as clothing, food, things for kids, holiday accommodation, …and a myriad of other things.

    I would like to see poker machines eliminated altogether, and have the clubs become real clubs, rather than the dens of iniquity that they have grown to be.

  20. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2012 at 07:24 | #20

    @rog

    Abbott makes Julia look good.

    No. They both simply shine a light on each others’ most repulsive features. They make each other look dreadful.

  21. January 22nd, 2012 at 10:46 | #21

    Exactly BilB

    But I wonder what Gillard could have done. Should she have hired goons and beaten Oakeshott and Windsor up until sense prevailed or incapacitation (no show to vote)? I can’t see that working myself. You got any answers Megan? Fran? Anyone?

  22. January 22nd, 2012 at 10:56 | #22

    Also, is there a possible reason why the PM wont bring a pokies bill to the lower house even knowing the numbers are not there?

    Why I ask, I didn’t think it was a worry – I was under the assumption that the only vote a government cannot afford to lose is supply or confidence. But is there a bad look or some other ramification of a pokies bill that lost?

  23. January 22nd, 2012 at 11:14 | #23

    Dave, Gillard could have kept her side of the agreement. Simple.

    If you mean “what could she have done to eradicate pokies?”, that’s a different argument altogether. This would have been a tiny step against a huge problem and obviously one the lobby wasn’t going to allow if they could bend a weak-willed PM.

    In answer to your last question: don’t know. My likeliest scenario is that although politically she may have been able to have introduced something Oak/Win couldn’t accept and thereby weasel out by saying that she at least tried, she instead had to prove to the lobby (and various other lobbies) where her loyalties really lie. Can’t prove it, but that makes the most sense to me, we are ruled by people who simply don’t give a toss what we want (see: climate change, CSG, Assange, refugees, media ownership, secular public health/education, internet censorship, ASIO surveillance, US domination, Iraq, Afghanistan, ABCC, Tas forests, neo-liberalism and so on).

  24. January 22nd, 2012 at 11:20 | #24

    Pr Q said:

    Update: With brilliant timing, I wrote this post the day before Gillard announced that she was in fact breaking her promise, and would not bring the legislation to a vote…Presumably she had already signalled this to the media, which was why the accusations of a broken promise were being made, accurately if a little prematurely. Yet again, Gillard has lived down to my lowest expectations,

    Props to Pr Q for updating so soon. Few bloggers are as conscientiously self-critical in error detection and correction.

    But its not as if this is the first time he has been disappointed. He has also given her a free pass for her lies on carbon tax. Now, like a spurned lover, he reacts with violence implying that Gillard is barely better than Abbott, despite the fact that she actually gets good things done.

    Call me unsurprised. I had her pinged as a Machiavellian fellow traveller from the get-go. Back in May 2011 I was predicting more Machiavellian twists by Gillard:

    The ALP in general, and Gillard in particular, has shown some Machiavellian skill in deposing an ineffectual leader, deceiving the electorate on carbon tax and now dodgy dealing with Independents to get a carbon tax through. Her cynical opportunism in pursuit of a noble end is breathtaking and not a little awe-inspiring, at least for the present commenter….Over the next 18 months I expect the ALP odds to shorten along with the electorates patience with Abbott. Plenty of time for Gillard to pull more Machiavellian rabbits out of her hat.

    Of course for a Machiavellian like me Gillard’s dodgy dealings are a feature, not a bug.
    Her policies are the lesser of two evils compared to Kevin “all process no progress” Rudd and the rest of the ALP apparatchicracy. The only alternative to Gillard falling over the line by hook or crook is Tony Abbott, who would be a disaster for this country on plutocratic and ecological grounds. So it is only right and proper that she has lied her way to the top and will lie her way to stay there.

    Pr Q needs to embrace the soft bigotry of lower political expectations. The old Whitlamite rules of sticking to the mandated program and keeping campaign promises come hell or high water no longer apply under conditions of extreme spin doctoring, a ruthlessly negative opposition, oligarchic media campaigns and a cranky electorate.

    More generally, when the ship of state is listing badly to starboard it is no time for indulging in “rainbow ALP” policies. So all that symbolic or small potatoes stuff (pokies reform, romanticism over gay marriage, asylum seeker sob-stories, posturing on uranium sales, yet another indigenous feel-good promenade) should be tossed overboard until we get back on an even keel.

    Give Julia a chance and she will come through with the fundamental goods, a mineral tax and a carbon tax and a “Small Australia” that is sustainable for native-born citizens. Of course if she or her party loses then the Machiavellian tactics will be thoroughly discredited, since political victory is the only good that can justify the moral price paid.

  25. January 22nd, 2012 at 11:58 | #25
  26. January 22nd, 2012 at 13:08 | #26

    I think we can peg anyone who pushed ETS=carbon tax=lie as either partisan or stupid.

    Thanks Megan for reply. Agreed, she should have presented it. But not presenting it and thus not making 72 ALP members show to Clubs that they prefer humans over an exploitative industry – you’re probably right I still struggle with that logic.

    The Clubs will still prefer Libs over ALP. The LNP represents zero risk to profitability. The ALP presents possibly a snowflakes chance in a hot place but still above zero .. or maybe not.

    And I would’ve thought that Labour could make something of those that voted against the reform as against families as they are.

    It would be fantastic if the Greens bill could make it to the floor. I would like to know who is for exploiting mental illness for profit.

  27. Dan
    January 22nd, 2012 at 13:56 | #27

    Big Pharma?

  28. January 22nd, 2012 at 17:00 | #28

    No – to explain for Dan – I would be interested to know what politicians that are pro-club profit at the expense of their constituents. And by that which ones vote against mandatory commitment or low intensity.

    If that was a funny then sorry I missed it.

  29. Donald Oats
    January 22nd, 2012 at 18:28 | #29

    It would not have cost Gillard’s government many votes at the next election if they had put up a bill acceptable to Andrew Wilkie. It might have passed, but more likely would have failed. That would have been the actual Macchiavellian strategy, for it would have boxed Wilkie in, so the government could have relied upon Wilkie’s vote on other bills, in spite of his preferred option for pokies bill failing. He would have been honour-bound to continue to support a government that had done the right thing by him.

    On the other hand, if the preferred Wilkie option actually passed, the initial fallout would be most likely dispersed by more current events, in the lead up to the next election. It is very unlikely that the minimum pokies bill acceptable to Wilkie would have led to serious financial trouble at the various pokies venues – the GFC aftermath is probably more significant as it reduces people’s source of capital for blowing on the machines. Wilkie’s bill would have knocked a few high-spender, big-loser punters, but the clubs and pubs have been telling us for years that the main source of pokies revenue is from the social punter, not the problem gambler: by their own admission, the bill shouldn’t have had any real impact. The voting public, sans pokies’ barons, would generally commend a government that takes a principled stand against socially damaging factors like problem gambling on pokies.

    In my opinion, the moronic variant of Macchiavellian thinking is to do exactly as the government has done, which has now given Wilkie a freedom to be very rigid on future compromises, and to vote against government bills that don’t suit him. The apron strings are cut…which brings us to the delicate issue of Craig Thomson (MP), and whether the Libs can shake him loose from his HoR seat. Or maybe someone gets ill and suddenly “no confidence” votes can pass, or worse.
    Nope, the government is either incredibly stupid, or incredibly “courageous,” to use a “Yes, Minister” code word. If courageous, then the government’s game-plan is strongly resembling “open misere” at this point.

  30. January 22nd, 2012 at 19:20 | #30

    The beauty of the greens $1 legislation is that you’ll get to find out (at least in the senate and – given that Gillard’s excuse was simply “it wouldn’t have got the numbers” the ALP would have to support it there or face even more criticism as liars and hypocrites – probably in the house of reps as well)!

    As an aside, I found Dan’s ‘funny’ darkly humorous in the circumstances where we’re basically discussing the undemocratic and cynical hold on our politicians of powerful but unaccountable (thanks to our woeful ‘media’) lobbies.

  31. rog
    January 22nd, 2012 at 19:47 | #31

    @Fran Barlow Perhaps I should have said only Abbott can make Julia look good..

  32. January 22nd, 2012 at 20:32 | #32

    David Macrae @ #26 said:

    I think we can peg anyone who pushed ETS=carbon tax=lie as either partisan or stupid.

    So you think that if Gillard had stalled on a carbon tax after 2010 election then the GREENs would have voted with the L/NP to bring down the minority ALP government.

    If you believe that they your are indeed “partisan or stupid”.

    The GREENs would do anything rather than allow an Abbott-L/NP government to rule, including swallowing a stalled carbon costing scheme if the ALP apparatchiks has pressed this case.

    The fact is that carbon costing in some form or another is in the ALP platform and the ALP leadership were always going to bring it on during the 2010-2013 parliamentary term.

    Gillard had to lie about the ALP’s carbon policy in the run-up to 2010 because she had her hands patching up the political mess left by Rudd after his inept attempt to sell the MRRT against a determined and effective mining oligarch media campaign. Had she not lied about CPRS the ALP would have lost and there would have been no carbon tax, possibly forever.

    The need to form a GREENs coalition simply gave her the necessary cover to “move forward” on CPRS.

    More generally, how many times does Gillard have to lie before people tumble to the fact that this is part of her MO, even more so than “rodent” Howard. She lied to get rid of her boss, she lied on carbon tax, she lied on pokies, she practised some pretty deft footwork to ride roughshod over the wishes of the conservative independent electorates.

    What this tells me is that a certain amount of deceit is politically imperative to get good policy over the line, lying in the interests of the better angels of our nature. Howard more or less losing an election by being honest over good policy (GST) is a striking instance of this tendency.

  33. Chris Warren
    January 22nd, 2012 at 21:36 | #33

    @Jack Strocchi

    You are turning this topic into a circus.

    Where do you get your scripts?

  34. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2012 at 21:55 | #34

    @Jack Strocchi

    So you think that if Gillard had stalled on a carbon tax {price} after 2010 election then the GREENs would have voted with the L/NP to bring down the minority ALP government.

    I suspect we would have. There’s no way that negotiations could have taken place to support the regime without express reference to the party if the ALP had noty given an explicit undertaking to legislate and implement a carbon price and associated deal in the coming parliament. I can also be certain that if such a reference had been made, the party would not have endorsed it, because there could have been no consensus in favour.
    It’s not merely the case that our party has abiding principles. We also know that to have entered such an arrangement would have made us look as fraudulent and sleazy as the ALP itself. For a non-governing party, this would have been lethal. Left-of-centre politics would have been set back for a couple of decades, if not longer.

    Bob Brown and Christine Milne would have known all that and would not have contemplated taking such a proposition to the party. That in turn would have meant that Abbott and Windsor and Wilkie could not have imagined they were supporting a viable parliament by supporting Gillard. On the other hand they could not, in good conscience, have supported an Abbott regime, since Abbott would not have been the slightest bit interested in negotiating with them in such circumstances. Windsor could not have had anything to show for his last term in parliament. Oakeshott would have been finished.

    Abbott would have pressed for a new election, and almost certainly had it. From The Greens point-of-view, this would have been the least unappetizing prospect. Once again, we’d have run as the only party with enduring principles. The LNP would have had their dodgy budget exposed. Many would blame them for the nuisance and cost of a new election. The ALP might well have won the next election by a better margin, and not have needed us. It’s possible the LNP might have split as Abbott might have been dumped.

    Our numbers would probably have held or improved and a few months of the LNP-controlled senate would have been used up. In short — a deal we could live with.

  35. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2012 at 21:56 | #35

    @rog

    He hasn’t yet succeeded.

  36. January 22nd, 2012 at 21:58 | #36

    Chris Warren @ #32 said:

    [fact-free, logic-chopped random effusion]

    I take it that you sincerely believe that Gillard hasn’t lied as a matter of course to acquire, hang onto and utilize power ever since she made the move on Rudd’s job. What touching faith in a politicians word!

    You can take heart from the thought that I will make you a textbook case in my forthcoming manual on the psycho-pathology of political suckers.

  37. rog
    January 22nd, 2012 at 22:12 | #37

    @Fran Barlow All Abbott has to do is pull back a little and come over half decent to leave Gillard stranded. This really has been a race to the bottom.

  38. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2012 at 22:46 | #38

    @rog

    They’ve both reached the bottom. Now they are rolling in the mud, fighting over a shovel with which to dig deeper.

  39. January 22nd, 2012 at 23:06 | #39

    Mr Denmore on the tweets brings up 2 points
    a.) why some media aren’t getting past the Gillard-Abbott show as mere sock-puppetry to powerful lobbists
    b.) couldn’t a chief of staff or decent media get a crew outside the clubs to interview fleeced punters

    And Jack, re clowns who assert ETS/CapTrade/CPRS is equivalent to a Carbon Tax for the point of creating a meme when everyone, including Abbott, knows the difference (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckcH0Wrmy74) – see http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillards-carbon-price-promise/story-fn59niix-1225907522983 note date and note “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a CPRS, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”. Gillard knows the difference, Abbott knew the difference, and now you do know. So no longer partisan or stupid, it’s partisan and stupid if you care to flog it.

  40. Dan
    January 22nd, 2012 at 23:44 | #40

    @DaveMcRae

    Yes, it was an attempted funny.

  41. BilB
    January 23rd, 2012 at 01:59 | #41

    I think that there is another very sinister aspect to the Clubs Association campaign.

    This is a hunch on my part, and from my memory. I suspect that poker machine revenues are in decline, and the forward looking decadal outlook for clubs’ revenues is rather bleak. This is because poker machines are very much a “baby boomer era” phenomenon. The sports clubs gained prominence in the 60′s and 70′s when the economy was strong and there was full employment. Television was well established, but portable entertainment was relatively primative. In those days men were Marlborough Men, dranks heaps of piss, spoke of treks across the Nullabor and of kangaroo shoots, and went to clubs for Prawn nights. Few went overseas.

    Now campare that to what you know of how young people amuse themselves today. Far fewer people smoke, they do still drink but at night clubs rather than sports clubs, drink driving surveilance has severely reduced the distance that nighters can travel (walking home and cab fares), entertainment options have ballooned almost beyond comprehension so people do not need to go to a club to see colour television or play computer games, most people travel by air multiple times, and nearly all have combination pocket entertainment and communication devices upon which they text furiously. People these days are “connected”, and in many time consuming ways.

    So while Australia’s population has multiplied four fold since the seventies, I am guessing that per capita participation in poker machine gambling has steadily declined. And the backbone of the clubs’ revenue today is that body of “Baby Boomer” sports and RSL clubbers who started going way back. Only now those who are hooked through habbit of life style are gambling into their retirement and property equity, and the clubs now depend upon that equity dip because they are able to attract fewer young people every year.

    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news44261.html

    For the Clubs Association, I am arguing, the money spent attacking Wilkie’s Way is actually both an advertising campaign and a call to “the faithful” to come back to support the clubs. They have been given a free ride to be seen as the picked on underdog in a fight to the death with an ogorous tyrant.

    The reality is of course the opposite. The clubs are the ogors who are only too pleased to suck every last cent out of their patrons at the maximum possible rate.

  42. Chris Warren
    January 23rd, 2012 at 07:17 | #42

    @Jack Strocchi

    You did not answer the question, and you have not understood the previous posts in this thread.

    You are turning this thread into a circus.

    Whether Gillard lied, depends entirely on the final position of Oakeshott, Crook and Windsor.

    If they clearly line-up against pre-committment, then Gillard cannot be excoriated for supposedly lying.

    But this does not stop the babble from clowns.

  43. Alan
    January 23rd, 2012 at 09:57 | #43

    As a recovering maths teacher (I now run a successful manufacturing company), my feelings about gambling reform include a dose of schadenfreude.

    Gamblers support the employment of staff in pubs and clubs and pump a lot of money into state government revenue, thereby helping to provide government services that I use but don’t pay as much for as I would do without pokies. If these people go broke, well, hard f’n luck: you could have paid attention for a few hours in year 10 probability and statistics.

    I feel sorry for their kids, though.

  44. derrida derider
    January 23rd, 2012 at 10:10 | #44

    Chris, people in the street will suspect – I certainly do – that Gillard has been running dead in her negotiations with the other independents in order to provide an excuse not to honour her promise, calculating she can do without Wilkie and keep the NSW Right happy. The best way to dispel this suspicion would have been to bring forward the legislation and put all MPs on the spot.

    Even if you lose and then Wilkie still walks (and he may not) people will give you marks for integrity, but backing an unpopular reform (though this one isn’t actually unpopular) and then being seen to stab it in the back is politically the absolute worst of both worlds.

    This government is now utterly dead. The Slipper affair gave it a chance to make itself electable which it has now blown (and isn’t it expert at blowing opportunities!). Julia has been amazingly stupid to once again listen to the Arbibs of this world.

  45. Wooster
    January 23rd, 2012 at 10:19 | #45

    A succinct commentary on the real state of play beyond the squabbles and one-upmanship emanating from Canberra and the media’s interest in reporting the same-old-same-old.

    http://thefailedstate.blogspot.com/2012/01/plays-thing.html

    Btw – WA has a longstanding ban on the introduction of pokies (except at Burswood Casino)

  46. Wooster
    January 23rd, 2012 at 10:24 | #46

    Sorry bout that – hopefully this works.

    http://thefailedestate.blogspot.com/2012/01/plays-thing.html

  47. Troy Prideaux
    January 23rd, 2012 at 11:10 | #47

    @Wooster
    No arguments here. Channel 7′s Mark Riley is only concerned with personality politics. It appears as though actual policy issues are just way too deep a discussion for the mainstream media viewer (and reporters for that matter); unless of course they’re issues that directly affect the interests of the viewer or broadcaster and are clearly illustrated that way – either truthfully or not.

  48. Chris Warren
    January 23rd, 2012 at 12:55 | #48

    @derrida derider

    The best way to dispel this suspicion would have been to bring forward the legislation and put all MPs on the spot.

    Exactly.

  49. socrates
    January 23rd, 2012 at 16:26 | #49

    I’d just like to comment briefly that I agree with Fran Barlow, derrida derida and others that this move harms the government politically, and makes it seem even more socially conservative than it already was. Like others, I cannot see why Labor couldn’t have at least brought the vote to the house as a gesture of good faith, and to expose those who oppposed it. The obvious conclusion is that many of those opposing pokie reform were within Labor.

    Incidentally Obama adopted this same flawed strategy in 2009/10 – not to bring on votes that he thought he would lose in Congress or the Senate – and lost support equally rapidly. His opponents didn’t even get identified to the public, and he wore all the blame. Gillard will surely wear plenty of blame on this one too.

    Also, this decision yet again reinforces the perception that any vested interest group in Australia only has to mount a political campaign against this government and they will fold on introducing any reform. The only exceptions are the issues that they actually believe in, such as workers rights and the survival of unions. It is not obvious they believe in anything else. The perception of weakness is palpable.

    I accept the comment of some that the media coverage has been unfair and Abbott is at least equally to blame. But that is hardly news and Labor should have taken it into account in its own political calculations.

  50. January 23rd, 2012 at 21:29 | #50

    Chris Warren @ #42 said:


    You did not answer the question, and you have not understood the previous posts in this thread…You are turning this thread into a circus.

    Says you who uncritically swallows partisan hack apologetics for common or garden political lies, first on carbon tax and now pokie reforms. Fool you once, shame on politicians. Fool you twice, shame on you.


    Whether Gillard lied, depends entirely on the final position of Oakeshott, Crook and Windsor. If they clearly line-up against pre-committment, then Gillard cannot be excoriated for supposedly lying.

    First, you need to relearn basic political arithmetic. The ALP needs only 75 votes to get the bill through HoR, given the ratting of Slipper. It has (72 + Wilkie & Bandt =) 74 in the bag. All she needed to get the policy passed into law was one (not all three) rural independent to “clearly line-up [for] pre-committment”. A piece of cake for a politician of her undoubted negotiating skills.

    Even on your own terms this apologetics fail to pass the laugh test. The fact that she is not wiling to even try to twist an independents arm means she was always looking for a way out. She was never sincere about pokie reform, since it is a second-order policy issue with exorbitant political costs.

    The real reason why the pokie policy “lacked the numbers” has nothing to do with the numbers of rural independents willing to come on board and everything to do with the numbers of ALP back-benchers sitting in marginal outer-metro Sydney seats who are incredibly vulnerable to a clubs-based campaign. It is passingly strange how naive commenters are about this self-evident fact.

    More generally, understanding the PM’s political MO means predicting her moves or at least tactical disposition. Back in MAY 2012 I predicted Gillard would “pull more Machiavellian rabbits out of her hat”. The Slipper switch exceeded my wildest expectations. I suppose there are people on Earth who believe that breath-taking piece of political skull duggery had nothing, nothing at all to do with tossing Wilkies poker reform over the side. When you put the glass to your blind eye it’s amazing how difficult it is to connect even the closest dots.

    Of course when we look to Gillard’s apologists on the lying question we see no confirmed predictions at all, only an endless series of episodes of Lucy swiping the football from a clueless Charlie Brown.

  51. January 23rd, 2012 at 21:30 | #51

    Chris Warren @ #42 said:


    You did not answer the question, and you have not understood the previous posts in this thread…You are turning this thread into a circus.

    Says you who uncritically swallows partisan hack apologetics for common or garden political lies, first on carbon tax and now pokie reforms. Fool you once, shame on politicians. Fool you twice, shame on you.


    Whether Gillard lied, depends entirely on the final position of Oakeshott, Crook and Windsor. If they clearly line-up against pre-committment, then Gillard cannot be excoriated for supposedly lying.

    First, you need to relearn basic political arithmetic. The ALP needs only 75 votes to get the bill through HoR, given the ratting of Slipper. It has (72 + Wilkie & Bandt =) 74 in the bag. All she needed to get the policy passed into law was one (not all three) rural independent to “clearly line-up [for] pre-committment”. A piece of cake for a politician of her undoubted negotiating skills.

    Even on your own terms this apologetics fail to pass the laugh test. The fact that she is not wiling to even try to twist an independents arm means she was always looking for a way out. She was never sincere about pokie reform, since it is a second-order policy issue with exorbitant political costs.

    The real reason why the pokie policy “lacked the numbers” has nothing to do with the numbers of rural independents willing to come on board and everything to do with the numbers of ALP back-benchers sitting in marginal outer-metro Sydney seats who are incredibly vulnerable to a clubs-based campaign. It is passingly strange how naive commenters are about this self-evident fact.

    More generally, understanding the PM’s political MO means predicting her moves or at least tactical disposition. Back in MAY 2012 I predicted Gillard would “pull more Machiavellian rabbits out of her hat”. The Slipper switch exceeded my wildest expectations. I suppose there are people on Earth who believe that breath-taking piece of political skull duggery had nothing, nothing at all to do with tossing Wilkies poker reform over the side. When you put the glass to your blind eye it’s amazing how difficult it is to connect even the closest dots.

    Of course when we look to Gillard’s apologists on the lying question we see no confirmed predictions at all, only an endless series of episodes of Lucy swiping the football from a clueless Charlie Brown.

  52. January 24th, 2012 at 01:32 | #52

    Jack, I think you’ve probably got it mostly right but you mistakenly inserted ‘voters’ between the powerful lobbies (pokies/clubs in this case) and the pollies.

    It’s a direct line, no ‘voters’ are even considered in the games Gillard/Arbib/Shorten/Abbott are playing here. The ‘voters’ are simply a formality to be dealt with after the substantive deal is done.

    “Occupy” seeks to change all that.

Comments are closed.