Home > Oz Politics > What should Rudd do now?

What should Rudd do now?

June 27th, 2013

Regardless of attitudes to the leadership dispute, politics is no longer a question of waiting for Abbott’s inevitable victory. So, for those of us who don’t desire an Abbott government, it’s now worthwhile to consider how Labor, and Kevin Rudd, should use the limited time available before the next election. Here are some suggestions, obviously preliminary

* A root-and-branch review of the Labor Party. The relationship with the union movement, the continued existence of the factional system, the relationship between the PM and Caucus and the need for MPs with real life experience, rather than party/union careerists – everything should be on the table. I’d suggest John Faulkner as the person to lead such a review. Other names that come to mind are Ged Kearney and Peter Beatty

* Take the economic policy debate to Abbott, as he did last night. Instead of Swan’s deficit fetishism we need a full-throated defence of the 2009 stimulus package, and Keynesian fiscal policy in general, and a correspondingly sharp attack on austerity

* The return to CPRS has already been announced. Since I’m part of the Authority responsible for advising the government, I’m not going to comment on the details. But Rudd should return to the attack on Abbott’s scientific and economic delusionism on this issue.

* Fix some of the worst Swan-Gillard decisions, like the refusal to increase Job Search allowance

* Scrap Gillard’s deal on the mining tax

* Mend fences with the Greens – this was one of Rudd’s biggest failings during his period as PM, and one of the things he needs to change

* Get Combet back – of all the ministers who’ve quit, he’s the only one who’s a real loss. The departure of people like Conroy and Ludwig is one of the unqualified benefits of this change, and that of Swan and Emerson a net plus for the government

Feel free to offer your own thoughts. Rehashes of the leadership debate will be deleted with prejudice.

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  1. Troy Prideaux
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:56 | #1

    “* A root-and-branch review of the Labor Party. The relationship with the union movement, the continued existence of the factional system, the relationship between the PM and Caucus and the need for MPs with real life experience, rather than party/union careerists – everything should be on the table. I’d suggest John Faulkner as the person to lead such a review. Other names that come to mind are Ged Kearney and Peter Beatty”

    In general agreement with all points, but particularly these points.

  2. iain
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:14 | #2

    -Push the election back to November, why have it earlier? Electorate is sick of labor changing leaders and having a snap election, based on style rather than substance. Put runs on board..
    -2020 summit review, with update + lessons learned, and involving real people rather than elite lefty know nothings. Having an internet poll for ideas, and internet vote would be ideal.
    -Public purging of Shorten, plus put Howes in his box, and lock the lid. Public would respond well to a bit of revenge lynching, I feel.

  3. David Allen
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:15 | #3

    NBN should be pushed harder. Coalition NBN policy indicates significant out-of-pocket expenses for fibre-to-the-node customers while delivering a doubtful product.

    It would be nice to get some policy discussion from the media, particularly the ABC, who will spend every day up the election on meta issues. I’d actually like to know ALP and coalition policy details served up in English with some expert analysis. Won’t happen though.

  4. iain
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:20 | #4

    Chinese state media is questioning the switch this morning. The main point being that the CCP feel it is al a bit of a joke, and, for 2 months only, not worth engaging with. Labor has lots of work to do.

    -A review and update of the Asian century white paper, with better concrete actions, is necessary for Australia. Carr and Rudd should lead this publicly.

  5. Tyler
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:25 | #5

    i think conroy is a loss personally, he knew the nbn issue back to front at this stage. His replacement is crucial and needs to be very effective in public appearances to counter turnbull’s ‘copper-magic’ nonsense.

    combet is definitely a loss, though he’d have needed to shift if they tinker with the carbon tax in some way. Wong should probably return to that portfolio if they do decide to make changes.

    He has to challenge the entire dishonest narrative about his stimulus programs, a full-throated defence of programs like the BER is essential imo, couple it with the future direction and reform promised by the gonski changes.

  6. June 27th, 2013 at 11:33 | #6

    I see Prof Q’s list excludes mention of the assylum seeker issue. I don’t quite know what he can or should do about it, but I think he has to be seen to be doing something meaningful for the sake of quite a few seats.

  7. Hermit
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:37 | #7

    Alternatively get used to the idea that Rudd is probably history. Combet could keep himself pure for a Gillard comeback in 2016 or earlier. If that happens Shorten, Carr and others may have played up excessively on bucks night and the wedding may be off. Better still reform the voting system so an independent or minor party candidate has a real chance of becoming PM. The coming turmoil and bloodletting is largely an artefact of the system that crowns winners rather than shares the glory.

  8. stephen
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:39 | #8

    open up government, reinforce transparency along the lines offered by former Ministers Tanner (Operation Sunlight) and Faulkner (his reforms when responsible for the public service before being put in the unlovely Defence portfolio). Can be done easily and quickly, the material is all there, just has to be implemented fully rather than only partially as it has been to date.

  9. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:44 | #9

    How can a root and branch review of the ALP happen before the election? Surely he has to focus on things that are doable between now and the election. The review can come after. Similarly, the Greens are an electoral enemy at the moment, he would be wasting his time courting them. What for, the Parliament won’t be sitting after today?

    Rudd’s populism will ensure he will pull back on carbon, and on several other minor mistakes by Gillard like the NewStart one.

    What would he replace the mining deal with? This is not something that will have any effect on the budget before the election. Why would he pick a fight with the miners, they would join the onslaught of attack ads. You might as well recommend exhumation of Finkelstein’s monster.

    Given the word is that the election will be in August, the focus has to be on things that will make a difference quickly.

  10. mrbythismuch
    June 27th, 2013 at 11:47 | #10

    The first thing that Rudd should do is call Abbott out and challenge him to a series of debates on real policy. This will leave Abbott caught between a negative a policy free zone. Time to take the focus off the internal bickering that had infected the Gillard era

  11. June 27th, 2013 at 11:49 | #11

    He should not only defend the stimulus but emphasise the danger of recession and the need to delay getting the budget back in balance. This would give him room to fund new initiatives e.g. sensible public transport projects (but not the usual boondoggles promoted by the states and advocates).

    Definitely no root-and-branch review of the ALP at this stage. He’s got five months max to win an election!

  12. June 27th, 2013 at 11:59 | #12

    @m0nty
    I particularly agree with you m0nty regarding the Greens. I think Milne’s dour appearing personality is probably behind the 2 to 3 % loss in Green vote in the polls, and let’s face it, it’s not as if Greens preferences are going to flow to Abbott anyway. (They are also Western Sydney poison on the asylum seeker issue.) I think it can only help Rudd to be seen to be putting some distance between him and them.

  13. James
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:01 | #13

    Gay marriage. Abbott’s glass jaw is social issues. I know a number of younger (usually female) Liberal voters who will not vote for Abbott. Get Abbott and the usual Liberal and Independent suspects saying impolitic things in the media in the build up to an election.

  14. John Quiggin
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:14 | #14

    @Steve On asylum seekers, I agree. I don’t have any great ideas right now, but I need to spend time thinking about it

    @Monty and Alan It’s not necessary to have the review finished before the election. What is necessary is that, win or lose, Labor is radically reformed

    On gay marriage, the best line would, I think, be to demand Abbott commit to a free vote. Otherwise say it will be on party lines, with Labor voting pro. As with party reform, this is for after the next election, unless its possible to have an additional sitting with a late date.

  15. crocodile
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:17 | #15

    Invite Tanner to contest Lalor.

  16. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:17 | #16

    Gay marriage is indeed an obvious change. Given the time frame, economic issues aren’t going to matter much. Social issues are where it’s at.

    I just hope he doesn’t descend into 2020 Summit style faffing about. Keep it simple. It’s the Mad Monk, stupid.

  17. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:21 | #17

    Prof Q: what would be the point of a half-finished review that would give the opposition a raft of talking points about division within the government? That is exactly the wrong thing to do before the election. Unity is essential prior to the election, to the extent it is possible. The more the carpet gets lifted up, the more creepy-crawlies slither out.

    I’d much rather concentrate on divisions within the Libs. They have escaped scrutiny to a criminal extent in this electoral cycle, an ALP review would give the media an excuse to further ignore the extremism in the Coalition.

  18. crocodile
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:28 | #18

    * A root-and-branch review of the Labor Party. The relationship with the union movement

    Crean tried that a few years back with only a small token decrease. Unfortunately, much of the party’s funding comes this way so might be a bit hard. Mind you, the coalition have their factions too but are a little more discreet.

  19. Steve
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:35 | #19

    @Tyler

    Plenty in the tech industry would agree with what you say about Conroy, and disagree with JQ calling his loss an “unqualified benefit”.

    He might be arrogant, and there is the whole internet filter debacle, but he has some wins too.
    Some tech industry comment:
    http://www.buddeblog.com.au/frompaulsdesk/thank-you-stephen-conroy-2/
    http://delimiter.com.au/2013/06/26/end-of-an-era-stephen-conroy-quits-as-comms-minister/

  20. June 27th, 2013 at 12:36 | #20

    Broad agreement, Prof.

  21. kevin1
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:42 | #21

    Something Rudd should not do is be distracted from these difficult domestic issues ie. don’t try and cram in flying visits overseas. In Bob Carr’s Lateline interview last night, he said “he’s got enormous standing overseas; who do you want representing Australia at the G20 – Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd?” OK, maybe G20 gets a leave pass, but gladhanding his mates around the world will not increase the Labor vote at home.

  22. Sam
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:44 | #22

    My idea; Rudd should Challenge Abbott to a televised debate on the policy merits of (some form of) carbon pricing versus direct action. Insist that the focus be on the policy, not the politics of how it was introduced. Nail him down on exactly what Abbott would do to achieve the specified cuts, and who would pay.

  23. June 27th, 2013 at 12:49 | #23

    Rudd should offer ‘Education’ to Julia

  24. Tired
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:53 | #24

    Please tell me how increasing the job search allowance is good for the economy and in line with the ALP objective of achieving full employment?

  25. crocodile
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:03 | #25

    Get rid of Howes

  26. kevin1
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:09 | #26

    Surprised to see Gary Gray still the rampant bull this morning towards Rudd yet not resigning as Resources Minister. How should Rudd handle such an angry subordinate? Is Gray angling for a confrontation?

  27. Mozzie
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:10 | #27

    Per Macchiavelli, have Shorten (metaphorically) killed and the bloody corpse displayed in the square. Howe, too, if it serves.

  28. June 27th, 2013 at 13:15 | #28

    @kevin1
    I dunno: a visit to Indonesia re the asylum seeker problem (as Julia intended) might be of value. He would really have to try to sell better co-operation as a humanitarian issue (stop drownings) rather than a “we really can’t take this many people” approach.”

  29. Paul Norton
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:39 | #29

    On the asylum seeker question, I too don’t have any brilliant ideas about how Labor can manage this issue politically between now and the election. There is a pressing need to raise the level of debate on this issue after the election, amongst other things by pointing out that the situations in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (to name a few distressful countries that people are fleeing from) are not something that any Australian government can fix unilaterally. The wider problem this raises is whether the Labor Party is any longer the kind of organisation that could wage an effective educative campaign on such an issue, even if it had a mind to.

  30. rog
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:40 | #30

    Rudd has indicated that he has changed and now needs to demonstrate that he has changed. Otherwise the exercise might not be sufficient to win the next election.

  31. Paul Norton
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:45 | #31

    Tired @24:

    Please tell me how increasing the job search allowance is good for the economy and in line with the ALP objective of achieving full employment?

    The Jobsearch Allowance ceased to exist in the 1990s. There is now simply the Newstart Allowance. Raising it would be good for the economy because it would stimulate aggregate demand. It would also improve the employability of the unemployed and underemployed by improving their physical and mental health and freeing them from the many stresses associated with being destitute. The wider goal of full employment, of course, is a matter of macroeconomic policy and of achieving desirable structural changes in the economy to enable the achievement of full employment on a sustainable basis.

  32. Paul Norton
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:46 | #32

    Sam @22, I like that idea. The problem is finding an MSM broadcaster that’s prepared to run with it.

  33. ElPoppin
    June 27th, 2013 at 13:55 | #33

    A root and branch review has been done both nationally and statewide a few times with little to show for it. First and foremost the ALP was founded to be the political arm of the trade union movement – it has never ever been a party for progressives. Where progressives and unionists interest coincides then they can work together but if progressives want a party of their own they can go ahead and join the Greens or form their own.
    Secondly be careful of what you wish for as one American commentator (whose name escapes me right now) the open primaries has been captured by the most rabid of activists pushing out the ‘general’ membership leading to increased radicalism. The ‘faceless’ men acted as a filter to keep the nutters out.
    Conroy as a minister began the NBN after failing to get the cheaper options off the ground. This piece of infrastructure will be remembered favourably with the achievements of Alston and I have already forgotten his successor. The fact that he is a factional leader makes people resent him but people often forget that the ALP has always had a left and right wing.
    Furthermore the reason why Rudd was toppled and he had so little support within caucus (and I suspect that the only reason they turned to him was to try to avoid the big loss) was because he does not know how to delegate. He does not know how to manage. Has he learnt only time will tell but I doubt it. Too old and not the kind of person to reflect.
    As far as taking the economic debate to Abbot. Well will Bowen be a better communicator than Swan? For everyone’s sake he better be. But far more importantly will the media allow this to happen?

  34. Ken_L
    June 27th, 2013 at 14:08 | #34

    On asylum seekers, Labor should place more faith in the innate decency of the majority of Australians. Admit they got it wrong in 2001 over Tampa, and they’ve been getting it wrong ever since. Give a bit of perspective to the discussion – if the USA can cope with 10 million illegal immigrants and poor countries like Jordan can care for 2 million refugees, can’t we manage a few thousand boat people?

    In other words Labor is never going to win a ‘who’s tougher on boat people’ argument with the Libs so they might as well try to take the initiative and reframe the discussion. They will get support from not only the Greens, but also from lots of business leaders.

  35. Sam
    June 27th, 2013 at 14:31 | #35

    @Paul Norton
    You don’t think Tony Jones would be interested in a QANDA special like that? I reckon it would rate through the roof.

  36. m0nty
    June 27th, 2013 at 14:33 | #36

    @rog

    Good point. Rudd needs to show his management style is different.

  37. Paul Norton
    June 27th, 2013 at 14:42 | #37

    Sam @35, I doubt whether QANDA would be quite the right format. There was a quite good debate-format show that the ABC had in the mid-1980s, and something like that could be a more appropriate format.

  38. Sam
    June 27th, 2013 at 14:47 | #38

    @Paul Norton
    Yeah, that could be right. Still, I could see an ABC special like this happening.

  39. June 27th, 2013 at 15:36 | #39

    I know one thing Rudd should hit hard: the never ending rumblings from many in the Coalition and their IPA pals that “something has to be done” about ABC bias, and whether this will involve not only that issue, but changing substantially the ABC by privatising parts of it, or forcing it into advertising. (Under a pretence of a “budget emergency”.)

    Nutty right wing Tea Party (Australian sub branch) types (who are into climate change denial and other ideologically driven belief systems) seem to be unable to get it through their heads that the ABC is popular as it is. Their dreams of demolishing it need to be exposed more.

  40. michaelfstanley
    June 27th, 2013 at 15:50 | #40

    Do we really need another review of the ALP? I think the problems have been obvious for a while, it’s more just the will to fix it.

    Agree with everything else – especially on two.

  41. Fran Barlow
    June 27th, 2013 at 15:56 | #41

    @Ken_L

    I very much agree. They should also repudiate surplus fetishism, withdraw the troops from Afghanistan and declare themselves in favour of same sex marriage. Really, there is plenty to gain here and very little to lose.

  42. Fran Barlow
    June 27th, 2013 at 15:58 | #42

    Caveat on my last post … I’m not a fan of the concept of ‘innate decency’ nor do I think Australians are by and large more compassionate than the citizens of any other country with comparable per capita GDP.

  43. Ken_L
    June 27th, 2013 at 16:36 | #43

    Well Fran no need to quibble about semantics, the point is to reframe the discussion in terms of generosity of spirit and good international citizenship, leaving the shock jocks and the Libs to look like heartless selfish extremists who have abandoned the traditional Aussie values of a fair go for all. Parallels could be drawn to the largely bipartisan refugee programs that followed the Second World War and Vietnam and the benefits that they ultimately brought to the country. Try to force Abbott to defend deeply mean-spirited, unChristian, short-sighted behaviour in other words instead of giving him free rein to do his absurd turn back the boats BS.

  44. June 27th, 2013 at 16:36 | #44

    Oh look. Rupert has taken time out from meetings with his divorce lawyers to give guidance to The Australian via twitter as to what line should be run:

    Australian public now totally disgusted with Labor Party wrecking country with it’s sordid intrigues. Now for a quick election.

    Sorry, a bit off topic, but just thought you’d be interested.

  45. John D
    June 27th, 2013 at 16:37 | #45

    @Troy Prideaux Not another review of the Labor party. Rudd is not the person to drive this. He is too divisive a figure to lead this – it has to come from elsewhere.

  46. Paul Norton
    June 27th, 2013 at 16:39 | #46

    There are plenty of proposals from the previous ALP reviews still waiting to be implemented, and I don’t think another review would fundamentally improve on the basically sound analyses of Labor’s malaise that those earlier reviews produced.

  47. John D
    June 27th, 2013 at 16:44 | #47

    Lets not go back to the CPRS. It may appeal to market tragics but it is so complicated that it is hard to sell politically, requires higher price increases than offset credit trading schemes such as the RET and involves unproductive price increases in cases where the price is not high enough to drive action.
    My advice would be to leave the carbon tax as is, raise the targets for the RET to levels that give us some chance of meeting the 2020 overall emission reduction targets and use other, more direct approaches.
    Reading of the Obama policy shows numerous ways of driving down emissions without resorting to CPRS style schemes.

  48. Ken_L
    June 27th, 2013 at 16:59 | #48

    @John D

    John in other circumstances I might agree with you but the ALP has demonstrated convincingly that it is never going to reform itself in an orderly process. People whose only interest in the Party is the power they obtain from office are never going to volunteer to give some of it up. The recent ICAC inquiry in NSW should surely have put the final nails in the coffin of any hopes otherwise.

    Rudd is probably the only figure who might conceivably be able to force through the kind of reform that is necessary by use of power and politics, most of which will inevitably have to come from external sources. Almost inevitably, significant chunks of the traditional ALP will have to be pruned unless they leave of their own accord. It will be very messy and I would think impossible to pull off, but trying to do it without being divisive is a pipe dream.

  49. Rob
    June 27th, 2013 at 17:09 | #49

    Abolish (or at least phase-out) fossil fuel subsidies and direct the revenue to useful/popular (e.g. education (including tertiary), public transport, healthcare, etc).

  50. Hermit
    June 27th, 2013 at 17:22 | #50

    @John D
    Obama hasn’t actually implemented the big carbon penalty of a per unit CO2 limit on power stations. It’s not yet clear if he can do it without approval by Congress. US emissions are expected to rise in 2013 with greater coal use as natural gas reverts to historic prices.

    As to the RET a report (both client and consultant have changed names) said it would cost energy users $25 bn in extra bills to 2030. There is no mood for higher power bills. My understanding is that the RET is overseen by the Climate Change Authority that includes Pr Q. However the CCA apparently faces the chop under Abbott and Rudd evidently doesn’t understand that emissions restraint cannot be painless.

  51. Tim Macknay
    June 27th, 2013 at 17:30 | #51

    @John D
    I tend to agree that it would be better to leave the “carbon tax” alone, bearing in mind, of course, that it automatically becomes an ETS in 2015 anyway. Going straight to an ETS now would reduce, rather than increase, the cost, but would also reduce the effectiveness of the scheme as a behaviour changer.

  52. Jim Rose
    June 27th, 2013 at 17:32 | #52

    if Rudd had an agenda, he would have said what it was last night.

    Ignore the greens because they have no where else to go, and their preferences will not help elected any labor senators.

    go left, go left plays into abbott’s hands. It refights the battles that caused rudd to suffer a 28% drop in voter approval in 2 months, which was why he was dumped in 2010

  53. Ron E Joggles
    June 27th, 2013 at 18:10 | #53

    KR needs to reconnect effectively with the many low-income voters we’ve lost in recent years – and they are universally unaware of how much Abbott’s policies will cost them: Lowering the tax-free threshold, taking away the low-income super topup, and parental leave that pays rich Mums more.

    This demographic is also intractable on asylum seekers, and I don’t have a solution other than to make a start on developing a regional agreement with Indonesia etc – if KR can win on this issue he’s a miracle worker, and Labor’s in with a chance.

  54. Ron E Joggles
    June 27th, 2013 at 18:30 | #54

    Tim Macknay :
    @John D
    it would be better to leave the “carbon tax” alone, bearing in mind, of course, that it automatically becomes an ETS in 2015 anyway.

    This is the one issue on which KR should take the strongest stand, and argue that the science is settled, and that we have to act now – once people accept this they will see that Abbott’s policy is nonsensical and disingenuous.

  55. Mel
    June 27th, 2013 at 20:20 | #55

    Ken_L:

    On asylum seekers, Labor should place more faith in the innate decency of the majority of Australians.

    The decent thing to do, contra the opinion of the conspicuously compassionate, is to maintain a harsh system of deterrent that stops people getting on boats and attempting to make it to Oz either directly or by country hopping.

    As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, 100,000 to 200,000 Vietnamese drowned or were killed by pirates when they fled Vietnam. The exodus caused a huge pirate industry to develop with resultant rape, murder, theft, boat burning and drownings on a grand scale.

    A silly policy of opening the door to illegal arrivals at the very same time as the rest of the world is putting up the barricades could potentially result in a boat exodus from the Greater M-E, Sri Lanka etc with accompanying piracy and death on a hitherto unimaginable scale.

    I’m really sick and tired of hearing immature voices on the left talk about relaxing border control and treating illegal arrivals humanely without feeling any need to think thru the inevitable consequences of their proposals.

    As I see it, there is no outside solution to the intractable conflicts that exist in many parts of the world. In Europe Protestants and Catholics spent a few centuries slaughtering each other before they learned to get along. Other constantly feuding parties, like Sunni and Shia, will need to sort themselves out in their own way.

  56. Ikonoclast
    June 27th, 2013 at 21:05 | #56

    I am quite sure that bourgeois politics has nothing new to offer us now. I intend both common meanings of “bourgeois politics”. That is;

    A. Politics dominated by the commercial, financial and industrial interests of capitalism; and

    B. Politics characteristic of the middle class and marked by concerns of self-interest, material interest, social respectability and general parochial mediocrity.

    Without defeating the source of our civilizational malaise, capitalism itself, there is no chance of correcting any of its consequent problems.

    When the catastrophic mess capitalism is creating becomes fully manifest, people will not only demand change, change will be mandatory for survival.

  57. Nathan
    June 27th, 2013 at 21:58 | #57

    He should make a priority of targetting who the ALP chooses to run in seats, especially “safe seats” such as those being vacated by various members of the cabinet.

    * In particular, he should actively aim to bring in a large number of women candidates in seats where they have a (very) good chance of winning. Putting women candidates in safe seats would show that gender equality is really a top ALP priority. This would feed into and boost so many other issues too.

    * He should also actively try to recruit talented candidates who are not currently politicians or political aides, people who come from other jobs who have valuable new skills and perspectives to bring into politics.

  58. Fran Barlow
    June 27th, 2013 at 21:59 | #58

    @Mel

    As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, 100,000 to 200,000 Vietnamese drowned or were killed by pirates when they fled Vietnam.

    Not sure on those numbers but even if they are much smaller, it’s a horrible toll. You seem not to be asserting that the outflows were of people who would not have qualified for protection yet you also seem to be advocating “a harsh system of deterrent that stops people getting on boats and attempting to make it to Oz either directly or by country hopping.

    Assuming your policy had been successful everyone, including those who failed to drown or experience the brutality of pirates would have endured what they were, quite legitimately, seeking protection from. I’m wondering how that can be rational. People make judgement calls all the time about where their best interests lie. Sometimes they are mistaken but in the end, it is their call. We have to assume that they know their interests better than we do — particularly in cases where the putative harm is beyond our shores and our ability to change facts on the ground.

    I don’t accept for a second that the oft-repeated concern over loss of life at sea from the mouths of those driving this policy has a shred of integrity. It’s mere eyewash designed to ease the sensibilities of those who in their heart of hearts know that Australian policy is being driven by putatively murderous xenophobia and cultural angst. That’s why the policy is called “border security” and not “refugee protection”. If one wanted to reduce drowning

  59. Fran Barlow
    June 27th, 2013 at 22:03 | #59

    OOPS … posted too early ..

    If one wanted to reduce drowning, one would devise equitable arrangements for burden sharing, fly or convey successful applicants here from major aggregation points, process speedily and allow people awaiting a ruling to work and live here until a determination was made. That this is not done gives the lie to the policy, which, as Gillard acknowledged in mid-2010 — was designed to assuage fears about queue-jumping, especially in realtion to welfare benefits.

  60. Fran Barlow
    June 27th, 2013 at 22:04 | #60

    @Nathan

    He should also actively try to recruit talented candidates who are not currently politicians or political aides, people who come from other jobs who have valuable new skills and perspectives to bring into politics.

    So people unlike him then?

  61. June 28th, 2013 at 06:21 | #61

    Pr Q said:

    * A root-and-branch review of the Labor Party. The relationship with the union movement, the continued existence of the factional system, the relationship between the PM and Caucus and the need for MPs with real life experience, rather than party/union careerists – everything should be on the table. I’d suggest John Faulkner as the person to lead such a review.

    What Rudd should do is run against the ALP machine.

    The 800lb gorilla in the living room of psephology is why Gillard was so unpopular. And why
    Rudd is so popular by comparison. The answer is Rudd is anti-machine, whilst Gillard was pro-machine.

    At the heart of the ALP’s demoralisatoin is the corruption of political process by machine apparatchiks, such as Richo. Gillard’s behaviour in back-stabbing her colleague and back-sliding on a core election promise was classic ALP machine politics. The ALPs division and ministerial merry go round contrasted vividly with the stability of the Howard era.

    Intuitively, if Rudd has one thing going for him, its his hatred of, and alienation from, the ALP factional heavyweight machine operators. This is the secret of his popularity in the general public, especially amongst L/NP voters. (Likewise Turnbull is not loved by the L/NP machine, which helps his chances in the general public, especially amongst ALP voters.)

    Inductively, there is evidence that the federal ALP’s precipitous decline under Gillard was strongly correlated to its massive electoral wipe-outs in NSW & QLD.these were states in which the ALP machine had become a juggernaut devouring the state’s resources and credibility.

    I have to concur with

    Possums’s

    2010 data crunching of NSW & QLD state voting trends, which show factors that ALP political disgrace has driven the federal ALP’s voting decline:

    The poorer the State ALP has been performing of late, the larger was the swing against the Federal ALP in that state.

    Corrupt & devious Machine politics put the ALP on the nose in long standing state government (WA, NSW, QLD). Those three former ALP states were the places where Gillard vote plunged lowest, relative to Rudd.

    With Rudd back at the helm he has a chance to plunge a dagger into the heart of the machine. But he is proclaiming the new Rudd, kinder & gentler. Not the kind of guy who will lead a root-and-branch reform of his colleagues party base.

    So I predict that the Rudd-ALP will lose the election, but perhaps only just.

    The greatest pro-Rudd bounce will be in NSW, QLD & WA, the three states where the ALP machine did the most damage eg Obeid, Bligh, Burke.

  62. Paul Norton
    June 28th, 2013 at 07:26 | #62

    Jack Strocchi @61, I largely agree with that analysis. Where I would suggest that some nuance is required is in relation to WA. Under the leadership of the decent Geoff Gallop WA Labor recovered strongly during the Noughties, and even in 2008 WA Labor only narrowly lost the State election. The more recent precipitate decline in WA Labor support may need to be explained in terms of other factors.

  63. Paul Norton
    June 28th, 2013 at 07:28 | #63

    Mel @55:

    A silly policy of opening the door to illegal arrivals at the very same time as the rest of the world is putting up the barricades could potentially result in a boat exodus from the Greater M-E, Sri Lanka etc with accompanying piracy and death on a hitherto unimaginable scale.

    Could I respectfully suggest that there are factors currently at work in “the Greater M-E, Sri Lanka etc” that are more powerful drivers than any “silly policy” that any Australian government might pursue?

  64. Jim Rose
    June 28th, 2013 at 08:59 | #64

    It is the beginning of end with the return of kevin747.

    Rudd said in the house that one factor influencing the election date is the G20 summit.

    Giving the choice of strutting the world stage as a bit player and staying home to make the case for re-election, Rudd747 knew what was more important.

    The issue was labor was seen as shallow.

    Remember the real Julia episode? Did anyone doubt who the real bob, real Paul, or real John Howard were. Would anyone have any doubt that Kevin747 is the real Rudd?

  65. Hermit
    June 28th, 2013 at 09:04 | #65

    An article in Business Spectator opines that a hastily convened ETS will see the carbon price drop to $6 leaving the household sector overcompensated. This sounds like a free-for-all for emissions but a month or two back Climate Spectator opined that the effective carbon tax incidence was 10% or in effect $2.30. Note there are huge exemptions such as 94.5% for smelters.

    What would be worse is linking to the abysmal EU trading scheme with its free permits and generous use of dodgy if not fraudulent offsets. Actually our emissions have barely moved for the last 30 years, perhaps not so bad in light of high immigration. However the DCEE factbox says the aim is 80% absolute cuts by 2050 so we are way off track. Then again DCEE may go under the Abbott government so the point is moot.

  66. Ken Fabian
    June 28th, 2013 at 12:50 | #66

    If Kevin Rudd makes getting more serious about climate an election issue I’d be very pleased. And very surprised because the perception is that Labor has sufferred for pushing ahead with carbon pricing; for the sake of popularity I expect Rudd will draw back rather than push forward on the issue. As Gillard probably would have done had she won without need for Greens support. I would like to be wrong but doing the least that can be gotten away with looks like it will remain the priority for mainstream politics of both persuasions and it will only be the rhetoric that differentiates them.

  67. Tim Macknay
    June 28th, 2013 at 13:02 | #67

    @Hermit
    Several government frontbenchers have made it pretty clear they are planning to bring forward the ETS phase of the carbon price. I agree that it would be a retrograde step, particularly since the existing price is not an unreasonable impost on the economy and does appear to be having some influence on emissions.

    On my reading of the legislation, it looks like it could be done without requiring an Act of Parliament, so I expect it’s what we’ll be getting.

  68. Hermit
    June 28th, 2013 at 13:26 | #68

    With carbon tax you are supposed to know your revenue in advance and with ETS you know your emissions in advance for the included sectors. However the numerous get-out-jail cards make a mockery of those objectives. If we get a quickie ETS and it allows the use of certified EU carbon credits some big emitters will no doubt
    a) firstly plead for free permits on the grandfathering principle
    b) secondly buy $3-$5 credits rather than pay the current debit price.
    The theory behind offsets is that the CO2 has been sucked up by sustainable basket weaving in remote mountain villagers somewhere. A bureaucrat felt they practised restraint therefore they should sell their unused emissions entitlement. Needless to say global CO2 keeps rising in absolute terms.

    Fortunately the greenhouse gas inventory people take no notice of this sham so we could have a decade of busy looking ETS dealings with no discernible dip in emissions. Weirdly from past comments Abbott seems to understand this better than (what’s left of) the ALP.

  69. June 28th, 2013 at 13:34 | #69

    One little think Labor can do is to get all its remaining high profile people to get their faces on TV during the campaign. For this to happen, Rudd may have to take days off 🙂

    Maybe if asked questions on particular portfolios, Rudd can refer the press to the appropriate minister. It would go a long way to re-assuring people like me that Rudd has changed his style.

  70. Hermit
    June 28th, 2013 at 16:02 | #70

    Risking moderation I’ll give links to a couple of bizarre sources of offsets used by emitters in the EU ETS and possibly a future Aussie ETS

    Slightly less dirty coal
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/09/19/865471/in-the-crazy-world-of-carbon-finance-coal-now-qualifies-for-emission-reduction-credits/

    CFC extortion that should simply be banned
    http://www.eia-international.org/china-threat-to-vent-super-greenhouse-gases-in-bid-to-extort-billions

  71. Mel
    June 28th, 2013 at 18:43 | #71

    Paul Norton:

    Could I respectfully suggest that there are factors currently at work in “the Greater M-E, Sri Lanka etc” that are more powerful drivers than any “silly policy” that any Australian government might pursue?

    May I suggest that you don’t really know what you are talking about. Things are not as simple as the populist Left claim. Unlike most folk who comment here, I have family connections with asylum seekers. I have an intimate knowledge of how the system works and how it is easily gamed.

    Watch this Dateline program about Sri Lankan asylum seekers. The interviewed prospective (and failed) asylum seekers state very clearly that they are economic refugees. Some of them think that on arrival in Australia they will be given jobs and accommodation and cash payments ranging up 100,000 rupees!

    Also note how the film crew was free to film at its leisure and how Tamils speak openly to them. This would be impossible if the Sinhalese were engaging in some type of campaign of mass extermination.

    Sri Lanka now is much the same as Vietnam post the Fall of Saigon. In fact it is arguably much better as nothing like 1-2.5 million people are being placed in re-education camps. Obviously some Tamils have been interned, killed, tortured post the war but only on a comparatively boutique scale.

    The Hazara in Afghanistan are a different matter as there Pashtun cousins seem to be intent on liquidating them. This is an intra-Musl1m conflict and Australia shouldn’t be part of it other than perhaps to plead with the OIC to get off its ass and fix it.

    I have absolutely no interest in Australia heading down the British route, which now involves 1,500 forced marriage investigations each year, several hundred Musl1ms being investigated or already convicted of terror offences and the establishment of informal no-go zones for gays, loosely clad women etc…

    I have never voted conservative in my life but if Labor changes tack and decides to bring Londonistan to Oz, I will vote for Abbott.

  72. June 28th, 2013 at 19:09 | #72

    Paul Norton @ #12 said:

    Jack Strocchi @61, I largely agree with that analysis. Where I would suggest that some nuance is required is in relation to WA. Under the leadership of the decent Geoff Gallop WA Labor recovered strongly during the Noughties, and even in 2008 WA Labor only narrowly lost the State election. The more recent precipitate decline in WA Labor support may need to be explained in terms of other factors.

    The fact that WA ALP had to resort to selecting a mildly depressive Green as an antidote to Brian Burkes WA Inc shows that Gallop was the exception that proved the rule: voters sympathise with social democratic policies but are antagonistic to ALP machine politics.

    Voters loathe the ALP machine, and appreciate ALP leaders who share their antipathy. Unfortunately ALP leaders who loathe the ALP don’t tend to last long. Gallop quit & Rudd is Lazarus with a double bypass.

    Its possible that WA may have passed some sort of Right-wing politico-economic threshold given the power of oligarchs combined with the large number of blue collar mining workers on $100k +. Maybe Sydney to, given the number of $1,000,000 + property holders.

    OTOH, the continued polarisation of resource distribution works against a stable L/NP voting coalition. The Right-wing parties needs the odd ethnic crime wave, illegal immigration surge or fundamentalist terrorist attack to keep the their voter turnstiles clicking over. It’s depressing how liberals are so obliging as to provide for their needs in this respect.

  73. Mel
    June 28th, 2013 at 20:56 | #73

    Bob Carr speaks truth to flower (people).

    My enthusiasm for Rudd has just doubled.

  74. Jim Rose
    June 29th, 2013 at 09:04 | #74

    Keven 24/7 was back on the business news, calling on china to speed up FTA talks. Lecturing other countries is not a policy announcement or a fresh start.

  75. Paul Norton
    June 29th, 2013 at 15:20 | #75

    Mel @71:

    I have never voted conservative in my life but if Labor changes tack and decides to bring Londonistan to Oz, I will vote for Abbott.

    As the numbers of asylum seekers (by whatever mode of travel) are much smaller than the numbers that come to Australia through the immigration program, Australia is at little risk of being turned into Londonistan by people in leaky boats, whatever the asylum seeker policy settings.

  76. paul walter
    June 29th, 2013 at 15:57 | #76

    Gee, that’s an excellent list Prof. Quiggin.
    They are on their last chance.
    The business with refugees is an issue that is long over due for raising with an ill-informed and psychically- massaged public.
    Rudd would be just the man to explain the underlying circumstances of refugees and appeal/evoke the forgotten notion of fair go.
    Four years in a centre, then hidings because of reaction to the stress induced through it, then another fourteen months in can for eventually protesting it, is the pits for a society that once considered itself civilised.
    Ignoring the Carr-wreck of an interview yesterday, people can understand the problems that also will come as TNC interests with a vested interest in the detention system there may be, but a simple change in the balance of visas could be an unprovocative start, to end exponentially over extended detention and its effects as to a special category.
    Unlikely though it may be, the current foreign minister could try to persuade his buddies in Washington that international “policies” that increase refugee flows by the million for the basest of motives might also be finally subject to humanitarian-oriented review.

  77. kevin1
    June 29th, 2013 at 16:33 | #77

    @Jim Rose
    You’re sounding very shrill in recent days Jim just like Tony A, who’s also sounding nervous and a bit flat. Feeling a change of the wind?

  78. Mel
    June 29th, 2013 at 16:34 | #78

    Paul Norton @25:

    “Australia is at little risk of being turned into Londonistan by people in leaky boats, whatever the asylum seeker policy settings.”

    Wrong. The pool of potential boatpersons is almost unlimited. You can’t simply ignore the historical evidence and make claims like that. Or at least you shouldn’t.

  79. steve from brisbane
    June 29th, 2013 at 17:34 | #79

    Whoops, Combet’s outta here as well (although for personal reasons, he says.)

    There are an awful lot of Labor people leaving, but with the amount of emphasis on how the leaders run campaigns these days, I find it hard saying how much of an electoral effect it may have. If people other than union and party hacks get some pre selection, it might be seen as a positive. Not everyone from a non political background does particularly well, though, as Peter Garrett illustrates.

  80. kevin1
    June 29th, 2013 at 18:09 | #80

    @steve from brisbane
    Well he had some medical issues last month, and seems to be pretty straight. Losing your political colleagues might have tipped him over the edge, rather than “leadership” per se. Peter Garrett was not non-political: as well as his music, leadership in the NDP and ACF is committed activism.

    BTW, I agree with your previous comment that Rudd going to Indonesia is a good move, because it is directly linked to a big domestic issue.

  81. Jim Rose
    June 29th, 2013 at 19:45 | #81

    @kevin1 rudd is already following the script that turned voters of gillard and rudd 1.0

    Hartcher’s column today on rudd and his need to stop talking about abbott and make the case for labor

  82. kevin1
    June 29th, 2013 at 20:44 | #82

    @Jim Rose
    Got any quotes from your “famous” wise old owls to back up your impressions? Not very persuasive when you have to do the thinking by yourself.

  83. Paul Norton
    June 30th, 2013 at 10:16 | #83

    Mel @78:

    Wrong. The pool of potential boatpersons is almost unlimited. You can’t simply ignore the historical evidence and make claims like that. Or at least you shouldn’t.

    Here is the historical evidence of total migration to Australia since 1945, and numbers of boat arrivals to Australia since 1976. The former has always dwarfed the latter, and has always had a much greater influence on Australia’s demography.

    Whilst the pool of potential boatpeople may be almost limitless, actual boatpeople only represent a trickle from the pool. Of course it is possible that events might turn the trickle into a flood, but the sort of circumstances that could cause that take us back to my comment @63.

  84. paul walter
    June 30th, 2013 at 14:41 | #84

    Jim Rose, pointing out Abbott alone is 90% of the- substantial- ALP case.

  85. Jim Rose
    June 30th, 2013 at 16:30 | #85

    paul walter :
    Jim Rose, pointing out Abbott alone is 90% of the- substantial- ALP case.

    Most governments ignore the opposition leader because that lifts his profile. Some never even mention the opposition leader for several years in a row.

    Whitlam ,fraser, hawke, keating and howard made positive cases

  86. Mel
    June 30th, 2013 at 19:13 | #86

    Paul Norton @ 33:

    “Whilst the pool of potential boatpeople may be almost limitless, actual boatpeople only represent a trickle from the pool.”

    Sheesh. Very few VN boatpeople made it to Oz by boat. Most made it to Malaysia, Indonesia etc. These folk had some expectation that they would be resettled in first world countries and indeed over one million were settled- indeed the first wave of arrivals was prima facie acepted as genuine refugees by the resettling first world countries.

    Estimates vary for the the number of VN boatpeople but 1.5 million is a common estimate with 200,000 to as many as 400,000 deaths at sea from drowning, thirst, pirate activities etc…

    Now look at what your fellow Green Fran Barlow is proposing:

    If one wanted to reduce drowning, one would devise equitable arrangements for burden sharing, fly or convey successful applicants here from major aggregation points, process speedily and allow people awaiting a ruling to work and live here until a determination was made.

    I note that on the very few occasions that “progressive left” commenters actually propose anything at all they end up proposing something like Fran’s idea.

    Now what do you think might happen under such a radically revised incentive structure? Do I really need to spell it out?

    QED.

  87. Paul Norton
    July 1st, 2013 at 06:51 | #87

    Mel @86, it seems that we agree that very few VN boatpeople made it to Australia by boat. As the link I provided shows, very few asylum seekers from all sources have been making it to Australia by boat in recent years – certainly relative to the overall immigration stream. Since you have chosen to focus on the historical case of Vietnamese refugees, I think we would also agree that there were events occurring in and around Vietnam during and immediately prior to 1975-78 (the peak period for Vietnamese boat departures) that were bigger factors in their decision to depart than Australia’s immigration and refugee policies at the time.

  88. Mel
    July 1st, 2013 at 13:18 | #88

    Paul,

    In the 25 years I’ve associated with the VN community I have *never* met a single person who escaped from VN in fear for their life. I’ve met ex-SVN who were horribly maltreated or tortured in the re-education camps and others who’d had most of their wealth stolen etc.. but that is as bad as it gets.

    The exodus from SVN was mostly about escaping the crushing and unremitting poverty the North brought to the South when it tried to introduce soc1alism and the associated rules and corruption that made it impossible for people to earn a decent living. You need to remember that even during the war, many folk in the South had a very decent standard of living and there was a wealthy middle class. The middle class collapsed into poverty only *after* the war.

    The mass exodus from the South would *not* have occurred if the SVN people felt they had no prospect of making it to the West. The impoverishment of the South set the conditions that made people think about fleeing; the likelihood of making it to the West from a refugee camp in Indonesia etc made folk act on what would otherwise have remained a dream.

    I’m just amazed by the naivety on display here.

  89. Fran Barlow
    July 1st, 2013 at 14:31 | #89

    Many of us keen on carbon pricing will be disappointed with the talk of accelerating the transition to a floating price from the current fixed price phase of the ETS. In addition, there is concern on the right especially that accelerated introduction of a floating price will see the price fall to under $16 and perhaps under $10 per tonne CO2e — with a consequent hit on revenue since returning to the old tax structure would be politcally disastrous. (This is a point that the ALP should stress, given Abbott’s ‘blood oath’ on the abolition of the “carbon tax”(sic)).

    One attractive option for resolving these difficulties is as follows.

    1. PMR**d announces accelerated transition to an ETS on July 1 2014 — undercutting Abbott’s campaign.
    2. From this date, all fuel subsidies on fossil oil based products are abolished.
    3. From this date, the tax deductibility for business purposes of all fossil carbon fuel inputs (excluding fuel used directly as part of a manufacturing process such as steel, etc) will begin to be phased out at 15% per annum and be abolished entirely on July 1 2020. At that time businesses will need to meet these costs themselves.
    5. Free carbon permits in EITEs will be abolished. Henceforth, all permits will need to be purchased.
    4. The government will monitor the costs of this transition and where this can be shown to have prejudiced the real incomes of people beyond the existing compensation given in relation to the fixed price period, the government will adjust transfer payments to ensure that the poorest 60% of the population is not worse off.

    The package could be sold as a move to a more transparent and loophole free system of carbon pricing without subsidies.

    The regulatory measures on tax treatment of fossil energy inputs would not require Senate approval and the increase in taxable income amongst businesses should fill the hole without requiring a change in tax scales.

  90. Ernestine Gross
    July 1st, 2013 at 16:03 | #90

    “Can readers point to policy initiatives from the current Parliament that Rudd (and his radically reshaped ministerial team) should be expanding on (or, alternatively, dumping).”

    I take the reference to ‘Parliament’ to include all members from all parties and independents.

    ‘Productivity’. Prof Q has written on this topic. In addition to the arguments he presented, I believe to have reasons for suggesting that one way to increase ‘labour productivity’ is to not destroy productive work. This idea, I suggest, involves a microeconomic reform from the bottom up, rather than the top-down approach of the neo-liberal (naïve market economic-economic rationalism-corporatism). Specifically, I have in mind:

    1. Workplace bullying. The terms of reference of the parliamentary committee are http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=ee/bullying/tor.htm .
    The recommendations are in http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=ee/bullying/tor.htm

    It seems to me the difficult areas remain unresolved (compensation, penalties, uncoordinated legal system, cost of legal system). A game theoretic approach might provide useful insights in how to minimise prescriptive legislation (eg mediation) while maximising deterrence (I have in mind the ‘boiling in oil result’).

    2. Devolution and KPIs. Devolution is the name given to decentralisation of decision making on the level of an organisation (eg schools, universities, some other public sector institutions, unions). The policy of devolving more authority to school principles, including incentive schemes, is an example. I suggest this policy is to be reviewed. As is evidenced by the Gillard government, setting a KPI (balanced budget within x years), is silly because the government does not have complete control over the outcome. Similarly, setting KPIs for teachers is silly because the teachers do not have complete control over students’ performance. The term ‘indicator’ is wrongly used as ‘measurement’.

    3. Environment. Travelling time to and from work, working and living in an air or noise (or both) polluted environment uses up mental and physical energy that is not available for productive work.

    A specific recommendation is the decision on the location of a second major international airport in Sydney.

    4. Simplifying commercial contracts. Saves time for people and reduces legal costs to business (fewer lawyers).

    5. An examination or an inquiry into the productivity of lawyers and accountants would be interesting.

    6. An examination or an inquiry into the productivity of corporate ‘leaders’.

    Superannuation.

    At present the compulsory superannuation system is prescriptive regarding the contribution and the behaviour of superannuation funds as well as that for self-managed funds.

    I believe this system should be reviewed because the presriptive legilsation is onerous without providing financial benefits to the subjects (people) commensurate to the compulsory nature of the scheme. Moreover, not all people benefit equally.

    Taxation. I understand the ATO is currently following up on the off-shore leaks (tax havens). According to the newpaper reports I’ve come across, the ATO is too gentle.

    ghg emissions (carbon pricing). I am not convinced linking the local carbon price to the EU ETS from 2014-15 onward is a good idea because many countries within the EU have a list of additional quantitative restrictions on pollutions and complex programs to reduce energy consumption. Moreover, their economies as well as natural environmental conditions are very different. A periodically reviewed tax may be better for Australia. Notwithstandin the apparent peak in the mining boom having been reached or passed, the mining industry in Australia remains much more important in aggregate than in the EU for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, some if not most mining projects involve long planning horizons. Relative certainty of carbon pricing seems to be important. Furthermore, the cost of organising a carbon market in Australia is non-trivial (think of pay rates in the finance industry) and it could be avoided.

    ‘Unemployment benefit’ (now ‘new start’). Please start afresh on this one.

  91. John Goss
    July 1st, 2013 at 16:19 | #91

    One new policy I would propose that would contribute to the reform of the media debate would be a ban on Ministers or ALP politicians or their staffers talking off the record to journalists. Much of the bad press Governments get results from off the record briefings. The press of course would go ballistic, so it would probably be safer to only implement this policy if Labor wins at the next election.
    But if it could be implemented it would result in a radical change in what the media reports. Instead of their current focus on reporting the latest gossip they would be forced to discuss policy.

  92. kevin1
    July 1st, 2013 at 17:31 | #92

    @Mel
    Can I ask others more knowledgeable than me to explain why they use “soc1alism” and other permutations of what are trigger words which apparently lead to some negative consequences? I’m genuinely unclear about the process and outcomes of sticking to the original word, which is obviously preferable as an authentic expression of meaning.

  93. kevin1
    July 1st, 2013 at 17:40 | #93

    @Fran Barlow
    And Fran, can I also ask for your guidance on this, eg. “PMR**d” for Prime Minister George Reid PM whose position expired in 1905.

  94. kevin1
    July 1st, 2013 at 17:44 | #94

    @John Goss
    John, have you ever been involved in a political campaign? It is not a debating salon.

  95. Tim Macknay
    July 1st, 2013 at 18:25 | #95

    @kevin1
    Kevin1, the word soc1al1sm contains (by coincidence) the word c1al1s, which is the name of a medication which is often promoted online and consequently which triggers spam filters.

  96. Tim Macknay
    July 1st, 2013 at 18:26 | #96

    Sorry – that should be “which is often promoted online and consequently triggers spam filters”.

  97. kevin1
    July 1st, 2013 at 18:35 | #97

    @Tim Macknay
    thanks Tim, now I understand what was going on when Bali street punks tried to sell me C**lis and V**gra recently.

    Rescued from moderation. Note that the asterisked words, spelt out, will trigger the automoderation filter. The same, amusingly but annoyingly, may happen with soc**lism – JQ

  98. Jim Rose
    July 1st, 2013 at 18:38 | #98

    @Fran Barlow is there any point to a carbon price this low?

  99. Ernestine Gross
    July 1st, 2013 at 22:44 | #99

    My comment, slotted at #40 p2, is still in moderation. Could it be because of two links?

  100. paul walter
    July 2nd, 2013 at 01:04 | #100

    Agree Fran Barlow, there must not be surreptitious retreats from taking on action on real-world issues.
    The science is in. As with refugees, there are quite simple, practical measures that can be done, the symbolism is important and married to practical action should offend no reasonable person.
    Kevin Rudd has broached some of the issues already in public, as with Single Parent Benefit and must now press forward without even a blink of hesitation, the old paradigms are mental straight-jackets killing healthy civil society, although the public CAN see reality when some thing snaps the hold of the dominant line.
    Reminds me, tonight’s 4 Corners.
    What is this barbaric almost poor laws mentality that has crept in this century?
    Why have people finally swallowed the Tony Abbott undeserving welfare line?
    The cases examined showed up with individuals displaying similar symptoms to long term asylum seeker detainees, wtf!!

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