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Death wish

February 29th, 2012

A couple of days after Labor united behind Julia Gillard, allowing her to implement her commitments, we get
this (somewhat belatedly denied) and
this.

Meanwhile, in Queensland, Labor is marching towards a defeat that has been inevitable ever since Bligh’s post-election announcement, in 2009, of a massive, and economically unjustified program, of asset sales. Despite the fact that most of them are going to lose their seats, and that the policies violates both election commitments and Labor policy, hardly a single member of the Labor Caucus has opposed this, or even dissented from the retribution dealt out to the ETU and others who did stand up.

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  1. Alan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 09:53 | #1

    It is up to the media to investigate and report. Gillard was asked a question and gave an answer that is true only if you really, really like parsing. The crazy thing is she could legitimately have refused to answer.

    I agree Carr will make a good foreign minster, even with his record as premier, I am uncertain that it is necessarily after the election that he find himself leader.

  2. March 3rd, 2012 at 14:17 | #2

    Appointing Bob Carr to be a senator and be the FM, shows that the will of the members of the ALP and the Caucus have become seemingly irrelevant. This may be a Constitutional process, but it is not a democratic one. Still, I suppose if I had to chose between Bob Carr and Mark Arbib, I would probably go for Bob Carr. It was very noble of Bob Carr to give up his sojourn in private finance to return to the travails of public service. He seems to have won the approval of the media, and I suppose that is all that matters.

  3. rog
    March 3rd, 2012 at 16:21 | #3

    Arthur Sinodinos was also shoehorned into the Senate – no doubt waiting for a moment of weakness to present an opportunity.

  4. Alan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 17:01 | #4

    @wmmb

    There are no proportional representation chambers except the Irish Dail that have direct by-elections. This is because you are giving some of the electorate, those whose senators remain in place, an extra vote electing the new senator. To say that is an undemocratic process is to argue against proportional representation itself. The way the ALP picks senate candidates is a different story like most of the ALP’s deeply undemocratic structure.

  5. sjk
    March 3rd, 2012 at 19:23 | #5

    Headline from the original report: “Mutiny kills PM’s Bob Carr plan”. This is 100% false, no wriggle room allowed. The Australian, in an attempt to make news – not report it – lied to us. Hence the folly in ever believing what that rag writes, especially when it so neatly lines up with existing predudices.

    Gillard’s denial: what is more likely, that in the middle of delicate negotiations that would have included at least 4 possible FM candidates Gillard sounds out the candidates but makes no offers until friday or, Gillard offers the role to Carr, takes it back after a hiding from Smith, then decides to offer it Carr again?

    The latter seems unlikely, given Gillard’s obvious negotiation skills. The former is basically what she said happened. In the absence of counter evidence, I believe her. YMMV.

    McClelland: no bearing on my original point, but I am inclined to agree with you: unnecessary.

  6. March 3rd, 2012 at 19:59 | #6

    Alan,

    Bob Carr’s appointment to the States House, as an ex-premier, is an obvious improvement on his elected predecessor and some other colleagues. One notices that the ALP members play little role in either proposing or deposing their party representatives. These matters are driven by political pragmatism, the same principle that led to adoption of PR for Senate elections.

  7. Alan
    March 3rd, 2012 at 20:10 | #7

    wmmbb

    Pr was indeed adopted for pragmatic reasons but it transformed the senate, which had been a joke where one party sometimes held every seat under the block preferential system, into an actual legislative body.

  8. Freelander
    March 3rd, 2012 at 21:21 | #8

    With Bob Carr as foreign minister Julian Assange doesn’t stand a chance of fair treatment from the Australian government. Not that he ever has, anyway.

  9. Freelander
    March 4th, 2012 at 12:02 | #9

    @sjk

    Since when have ‘facts’ been necessary for an investigative ‘report’ in the Murdoch stable. Truth bolted a long time ago.

  10. March 5th, 2012 at 20:52 | #10

    Pr Q @ #43 said:

    I continue to await evidence that Gillard has produced any policy initiative that has not subsequently been scrapped.

    Reluctantly I have to concede that Pr Q was right about Gillard’s policy-free zone. But thats beceuse Rudd was a ministerial-free zone.

    Gillard has not initiated and then implemented any major policies in her first term. She has made promising noises about:

    federalising hospital service delivery

    means testing state aid to private schools

    introducing a universal dentalcare scheme

    implementing a national disability scheme

    Unfortunately none of these policy ideas have gone through the formality of actually being passed into law, getting funding, still less actually delivering services.

    Rudd and Gillard would together make one good politician: Rudd the policy ideas man and Gillard the ministerial administratrix. Indeed IIRC the original spin on their leadership was to sell them as a two-person ministerial duo. Maybe they should have stuck with that.

    Gillard is essentially Rudd’s competent alter-ego. The problem with Rudd was that he delivered on his bad policies (“Big Australia”, ending the “Pacific Solution”) but squibbed on his good policies (CPRS and MRRT). Gillard’s main policy focus has been shelving Rudd’s bad policies and implementing Rudd’s good policies.

    But all Gillard’s policy work, which is, admittedly concerned with concluding the ALP’s first term agenda, has been operating under two massive constraints:

    fiscal constraint: keep the budget in surplus.

    political constraint: save ALP marginal seats in Sydney

    These two constraints have amplified her policy conservatism. Frankly I am happy that she has not tried to bite off more than the ALP can chew. It is still fighting gamely to get the CPRS and MRRT bedded down, that may all come to naught if Abbott gets in.

    More generally Gillard’s policy conservatism reflects the broad reform fatigue that still ails the AUS populus. Currently they can stomach about one big reform a decade and then coast for the next ten years off the next boom in property, minerals or what have you.

    Its a living.

  11. Alan
    March 6th, 2012 at 01:10 | #11

    It would be unkind to point out that federalising hospital service delivery, introducing a universal dental care scheme, and the NDIS were all Rudd ideas. However Gillard is not entirely a policy free zone. There was, for instance, Medicare Gold.

  12. March 6th, 2012 at 04:06 | #12

    Alan @ #11 said:

    Gillard is not entirely a policy free zone. There was, for instance, Medicare Gold.

    If the GREENs assylum-seeker policy had not been the perfect embodiment Idiot Leftism they would have done the right thing and supported Gillard’s Malaysian Solution, a humane version of the Pacific Solution. But they didn’t.

    So Gillard’s best example of policy initiative has now settled, along with numberless boat people, at the bottom of Davy Jones locker.

  13. Alan
    March 6th, 2012 at 04:34 | #13

    I am not entirely sure that a charge of Idiot Leftism is quite enough to dismiss the human rights issues in Malaysia or the simple fact that the ‘solution’ may work for a couple of months, but when the 800 Malaysia slots are filled the effectiveness of the policy is at an end.

    I am happy enough to called an Idiot Leftist, although I do look forward to actually seeing an argument that goes beyond name-calling. I would hope we are not going to hear an argument that authoritarianism, religious discrimination, locking up opposition leaders, rigging elections, sodomy prosecutions and caning are humane.

  14. Fran Barlow
    March 6th, 2012 at 05:55 | #14

    And again, there would have been zero support in The Greens for trading in in a human cargo of vulnerable people in order to pander to reactionaries here, at the urging of the Sussex St triangulators.

    That would have been wrong all over the place.

  15. Dan
    March 6th, 2012 at 06:20 | #15

    Hey Jack, remember that Crikey article I posted demonstrating the absence of a link between asylum seeker policy and asylum seeker boats?

    You’re just being truthy.

  16. Alan
    March 6th, 2012 at 07:03 | #16

    I had meant to provide a link to the human rights situation in Malaysia.

  17. paul walter
    March 6th, 2012 at 12:01 | #17

    I can’t forgive fascist or rightist ideological nut bags from the Tories or the Labor right on privatisation, but if Anna Bligh, who knew better and understood the outright treachary involved in the breaking of the explicit, core, “no privatisation” promise- further damaging already damaged trust in government, FB – is chucked and even ends up somehow injured, I’ll just yawn, probably in satisfaction.
    I have no time for Judases, particularly when they perpetrate on the scale perpetrated here.

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