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Fiasco

November 13th, 2013

If you want a single episode to summarize the fiasco that is the Abbott government, the first working hour of the 44th Parliament would be hard to beat.

First, the government had to gag the Opposition seeking to get any kind of information about the government’s signature issue, Stopping the Boats. If anyone had said, 20 years ago, that it would be necessary to read the Jakarta Post to find out what our own government was doing, they would have been greeted with incredulity.

Then, having specifically nominated juvenile insults like “Electricity Bill” as the kind of thing his new Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop would rule out of order, he had to watch as his attack poodle, Christopher Pyne used that very insult and was supported by Bishop. Then, of course, Abbott voted to uphold Bishop’s ruling.

Then, having wasted the first hour of the Parliament, Abbott announced his discredited bill to repeal the carbon tax. Meanwhile, the vice-president of our most important neighbour, representing a government Abbott has already insulted half a dozen times in as many weeks, was left to wait in an anteroom.

The Labour government of the last six years had its low points, to be sure. But it’s hard to imagine that those who voted for this crew (or for their former ally, Clive Palmer) aren’t experiencing a fair bit of buyer remorse.

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  1. Crocodile
    November 13th, 2013 at 18:47 | #1

    Don’t forget raising the debt ceiling to 500b while you’re at it.

  2. November 13th, 2013 at 19:19 | #2

    How things change. Twenty years ago, Indonesia was a honest-to-god dictatorship. Much of the “news” coming from there would be treated with suspicion, especially when East Timor was concerned.

  3. Doug
    November 13th, 2013 at 19:33 | #3

    Scott Morrison is expressing incomprehension saying he doesn’t understand what Indonesia is doing about asylum seekers.

    Colonialism is well and truly alive and colonising the mindset of the Immigration Minister if that is what he really thinks.

  4. Pete Moran
    November 13th, 2013 at 19:52 | #4

    Does anyone understand the options for the Senate to block supply and force a full election?

  5. November 13th, 2013 at 19:53 | #5

    When you say “Clive Palmer” is that in the singular, as opposed to the Party?

    In any case, I’m not sure what either the individual or the party’s senators-elect has to do with the fiasco – and it certainly is a fiasco.

    The voters of Fairfax actually rejected Abbott’s LNP (and, of course, the ALP too). The same applies to those who put Palmer candidates in the Senate. They voted against the ALP/LNP duopoly.

    Watch the Palmer address to the “Press” club yesterday – it’s online. If all you know about it is that Clive Palmer plagiarised JFK then that makes his point (he gave news ltd as good as they’ve been giving him and generally dumped on the circus that passes as political journalism and commentary).

    He may be fruity but in my opinion he is much better for democracy than some bland nobody from the duopoly.

  6. Fran Barlow
    November 13th, 2013 at 20:05 | #6

    The Labour {Labor} government of the last six years had its low points, to be sure. But it’s hard to imagine that those who voted for this crew (or for their former ally, Clive Palmer) aren’t experiencing a fair bit of buyer remorse. (my suggestion}

    I can easily imagine it. Most of those who voted for them would have done so out of tribal loyalty. Those who voted their primaries to Palmer would certainly not be the kind of people you’d seek advice on complex matters such as foreign policy, standing orders or even tying one’s shoelaces, unless one wanted a laugh.

    I suspect most of this will slide right past them and continue to tell themselves that the adults are in charge or mouth some other equivalent inanity.

    Stuff like this doesn’t bring down regimes when the MBCM is riding shotgun.

    If Abbott is seen to fail on boat people and the surplus, then a few of them will be non-plussed enough to look for some other place to park their protest and that may help the ALP to go back to doing its own version of stupid from the government benches.

    On a more positive note, Rudd has resigned. Better late than never.

  7. November 13th, 2013 at 20:12 | #7

    @Fran Barlow

    I just saw that (about Rudd).

    That’s great isn’t it? He couldn’t just sit around in Canberra for the dozen or so weeks of the year doing nothing except voting along party lines. The people of Griffith are going to be very pleased to have a by-election. Unfortunately it is now almost certain to go to Labor because the LNP will have scared off the swinging crowd by now.

  8. Fran Barlow
    November 13th, 2013 at 20:20 | #8

    @Megan

    I suspect the LNP won’t contest it. What’s in it for them?

  9. TerjeP
    November 13th, 2013 at 20:24 | #9

    Speaking of juvenile insults apparently it’s now okay to refer to female politicians as witches. So long as it is an ALP MP referring to an LNP MP.

  10. Ikonoclast
    November 13th, 2013 at 20:39 | #10

    Under Abbott we can confidently say, “Things will get worse before they get worser.”

    BTW, “worser” is a perrfectly good although archaic word.

    “I cannot hate thee worser than I do.” — Shakespeare.

    “For this we see, Right worshipfull, that envie never followeth the worser sorte.” – source unknown (to me).

  11. kevin1
    November 13th, 2013 at 20:54 | #11

    @Fran Barlow
    Huh? most people say Bill Glasson is a shoe-in!

  12. November 13th, 2013 at 20:54 | #12

    Palmer. Naked self interest. Not a nice image.

  13. kevin1
    November 13th, 2013 at 20:55 | #13

    @TerjeP

    what are you referring to?

  14. Fran Barlow
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:05 | #14

    @TerjeP

    Speaking of juvenile insults apparently it’s now okay to refer to female politicians as witches. So long as it is an ALP MP referring to an LNP MP.

    and after the MBCM used this very reference to laud the said Liberal MP …

  15. TerjeP
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:10 | #15

    @kevin1

    Tony Burke on Twitter implying Bronwyn Bishop is like Dolores Umbridge.

  16. TerjeP
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:11 | #16

    MBCM?

  17. Fran Barlow
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:15 | #17

    @TerjeP
    Mass Broadcast Commercial Media

  18. Fran Barlow
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:15 | #18

    @kevin1

    You’ve taken a poll?

  19. Fran Barlow
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:22 | #19

    In any event Terje, the point about the Umbridge reference is not that she was a witch but that she was egregious. Nobody would have understood if he’s called her Professor McGonagall or Parvati Patel or Hermione Granger or even Bellatrix L’Estrange …

  20. NathanA
    November 13th, 2013 at 21:47 | #20

    No, no Professor Quiggin, that’s not right at all.

    They’ve been much worse than that….

  21. November 13th, 2013 at 22:12 | #21

    At the 2013 election:

    Rudd got 40.36% (-3.72) of the vote and
    Glasson got 42.22% (+6.42) on first preferences.

    The next two serious amounts of votes were:
    Greens: 10.18% (-5.21) although it must be remembered that the Qld Greens are generally viewed – correctly in my opinion – as simply a sub-branch of the ALP rather than a real party.
    Palmer: 3.36%

  22. kevin1
    November 13th, 2013 at 22:56 | #22

    K Rudd is gone from the local stage, but he will still influence those outside Australia, who recognise talent and will listen to him. He was self-consciously a child of the Whitlam age and its personal influence on his own career potential. Is he unlike all previous Labor Leaders, being not a slave to Left or Right, in fact a proclaimed opponent of factionalism, and open to modern political and economic ideas?

    Outside Labor circles this is called “modern knowledge” and is subversive of traditional Left and Right positions. Rudd quoted MLK in his resignation speech: since PJK was interviewed by Kerry O’Brien on TV last night, can those nostalgic for the “operator” Paul Keating still see him and his violent rhetoric in the same light? On the ABC website, he recounted a conversation with Jim Cairns about why he didn’t wear a Vietnam Moratorium badge in 1970: “”Look Jim, that’s the difference between you and me,” responded Keating, then in his 20s. “I’m not here to protest; I’m here to be in charge. I want to run the place.”

    What a grub; he was a self-conscious and militant rightwinger, yet Labor so easily romanticises these ruthless warriors afterwards. Hawke said he was leaving parliament to “make real money” in Burma. And Gerry Hand, Arbib and Bita, Richo. Yuk.

    So far, Abbot’s parliamentary speech has been received positively, but what did he say?

    • Rudd was a “very significant” and “big figure”; “to lead an extraordinary country requires an extraordinary person”
    • “sooner or later, everyone outlives his or her usefulness…the essence of wisdom is to know when to leave”
    • “the extraordinary apology, a healing moment…the credit belongs to him.”

    His only approved “content” is Rudd’s welcome to indigenous people; Abbot is miserable in this speech.

    Yes, I have a bias, I see Rudd, despite all his personal flaws and faults of implementation (which Qld people had predicted and his second spell confirmed) as a rare bird in our political life: an intellectual with naivete and bad judgement, but noble ideals and open mind (climate change, aboriginal acknowledgement, homelessness, generosity to developing countries) which others with base instincts lacked.

    He was quiet about his support of homeless people, but don’t forget that soon after his election he moderated a Brotherhood of St Laurence conference (on poverty? Homelessness?): a sign of his engagement, and getting ‘down and dirty’ at operational level.

    Labor struggles with its moribund and declining status, and lack of purpose. Until it finds itself, we will not see real change. Of course, in a two party system it may gain govt. without self-improvement, but to adapt to a changed world and more importantly adapt that world, it needs another Rudd-like leader. Until it finds itself, we will not see real change.

  23. November 13th, 2013 at 23:06 | #23

    @Fran Barlow

    As I’ve said before, I voted Green in the Senate (I’m in Qld) first and then other parties, including Palmer, before deliberately making 3 “mistakes” so that my Senate vote did not go to either ALP or LNP.

    I remember an image (from ‘Occupy’ if I’m correct) of a destitute guy sitting on the ground with a sign which reads: “Keep Your Coins, I Want Change.”

  24. kevin1
    November 13th, 2013 at 23:11 | #24

    @TerjeP

    Context matters. Virulent hatred inciting violence (standing on a platform under “Ditch the Witch”, “Bob Brown’s Bitch”, and Alan Jones’ “put her in a chaff bag and dump her in the sea”) is different to a mild literary allusion from anodyne Tony Burke in the regulated debating society of parliament.

    But you know that already. So is hatred and violent rhetoric endorsed by your “Liberal Democratic” values? Your “moral equivalence” spread broader will corrupt our society. Lucky we have greater gun control than the “liberal democratic” US.

  25. Patrickb
    November 14th, 2013 at 00:07 | #25

    The ALP will need a quality candidate, Glasson sounds like an LNP moderate. A good win for Labor should strengthen their resolve to oppose the repeal legislation. An LNP win would be a PR disaster.

  26. kevin1
    November 14th, 2013 at 00:17 | #26

    Abbott and Hockey are now employing rhetoric about low-life tenants who “trash the joint on the way out” as a metaphor for Labor’s fiscal irresponsibility, echoing John Hewson’s derogatory view about tenants leading up to the 1993 election.

    Hewson said you can always tell the rented house in the street, as it has an unpainted and run-down fence (not the white picket variety we all aspire to, of course.) It was pointed out that the owner not the lessee is responsible for replacement and repairs to capital items.

    Bit snobbish for someone of fairly humble beginnings (didn’t he live in a council house as a child?) As a renter (like about 1/3 of the population) I don’t like this insulting and condescending attitude. Will the MSM who accused Labor of “class war” rhetoric raise the issue?

    Perhaps it could expected in Australia with its bias towards real estate ownership that rentiers are seen as so morally virtuous that those who rent from them are inferior beings and exploiters of the rentiers’ hospitality. I have problems with my landlord about safety issues which I know if she was living here she would definitely fix, but doesn’t mind if the risk is transferred.)

  27. Ikonoclast
    November 14th, 2013 at 05:10 | #27

    @John Brookes

    Yes, not a nice image when you think about it. But there is only one reason billionaires go into politics and it’s not to fight for the interests of the downtrodden.

  28. Fran Barlow
    November 14th, 2013 at 05:39 | #28

    @Megan

    although it must be remembered that the Qld Greens are generally viewed – correctly in my opinion – as simply a sub-branch of the ALP rather than a real party.

    Until now, I’ve only ever heard that claim from hardcore tribal Liberals, but they don’t limit it to QLD. It’s not based on anything at all except rightwing posturing.

  29. TerjeP
    November 14th, 2013 at 05:40 | #29

    @kevin1

    You’re full of it. The bottom line is you don’t mind person insults so long as they are being hurled in the right direction.

  30. ZM
    November 14th, 2013 at 06:02 | #30

    I think Laurrie Oaks raised some of these issues with the parliament in an article on the weekend.

    “With Tony Abbott’s Opposition knowing an election could be just a heart attack away, there was a permanent campaign outside parliament and a no-holds-barred cage fight inside. The strategy was to create an impression of disorder and instability that would damage the Labor government.

    The tone of Parliamentary discussion became toxic. After one particularly unpleasant Question Time at the end of 2012, Speaker Anna Burke, addressing government and Opposition MPs, said despairingly: “It is absolutely disgraceful that you treat your parliament with such contempt.”

    Now that he is PM, Abbott says he wants to set an example that will improve the tone in the parliament.He could have done that as Opposition leader, but it did not suit his political purposes then.

    But Abbott knows that, if parliament is a shambles that disgusts voters, it matters little who is responsible. The incumbent Government gets the blame.”

    “”Bronny will be firm with both sides,” a colleague said yesterday. “She knows all the tricks.”

    That is certainly true. The Speaker-designate was expert in Opposition at raising points of order to discombobulate ministers and disrupt proceedings.”

    “Education minister Christopher Pyne, who is also Leader of the House, gave an assurance in a speech well before the election that a Coalition Government would restore faith in the parliament. One of his ideas to improve the mood in Question Time is to get rid of old-style Dorothy Dixers – questions that invite Ministers to expound on their own brilliance and detail the hopelessness of the Opposition.

    He wrote: “The (Government’s) Question Time committee will select the best questions submitted each day; those that fit the Government’s agenda and include a constituency angle.” So much for any pretence that Questions Without Notice are without notice.”

  31. Julie Thomas
    November 14th, 2013 at 06:11 | #31

    oops swore at Terje and am in moderation – I think for swearing anyway

  32. NathanA
    November 14th, 2013 at 07:40 | #32

    kevin1

    I noticed that too. My first thought was that if Labor are the tenants, does that mean you think that you own democracy, or the country for that matter? Unfortunately, they certainly seem to believe they own parts of our democracy, specifically information, and this arrogance will serve us very poorly for a very long time.

  33. Geoff
    November 14th, 2013 at 07:50 | #33

    @Peter Murphy

    Yes, Australia is now the one with the general up the front while the Indonesians contain the generals to the background.

  34. TerjeP
    November 14th, 2013 at 07:59 | #34

    Julie Thomas :
    oops swore at Terje and am in moderation – I think for swearing anyway

    LOL

  35. November 14th, 2013 at 08:16 | #35

    @Terje depends what type of witch, it’s not all bad, (e.g. Hermione really is the brightest witch of her age.) (it will be tit-for-tat from now on)(What ye sow ye shall reap)

  36. ZM
    November 14th, 2013 at 08:29 | #36

    Re:the idea of the impious witch and how its been used to attack women’s involvement in politics and try to exclude them (or some of them) – I was speaking with an older woman and suggested it was a shame that marches aren’t like carnivals or masques – then women could dress specifically as their own chosen archetypical figure. Queen Mab, or Ceres, or psyche etc. the “impious witch” is rather dull in comparison I think…

  37. rdb
    November 14th, 2013 at 09:00 | #37

    Terje is failing to explain the full impact of the insult – not only is Dolores Umbridge a witch. She’s also a public servant.

  38. sunshine
    November 14th, 2013 at 09:31 | #38

    I dont know what to think of Rudd. His Monthly article attacking free market extremists was great but his family are multi millionaires from the job-network system .I didnt like his poll driven presidential style ,flip flop on climate (debatable), or his years of white-anting .

    It is truly pathetic to see Abbott calling for civility ,if Labor gives it will the Coalition next time it is in opposition ? Its a big ask -the only way is down. Amazing to see the Libs calling Labor the Tea Party now -real Alice in Wonderland stuff. On a previous thread people were saying uncaring Liberals dont deserve the label ‘conservative’, and asking what to call them instead. At the time I wondered why Labor had not seemed keen to associate them with the Tea Party as it is one association they seem scarred of -the IPA is afraid of that connection too ,even A Bolt is. Conservatives seem to be able to use the word ‘socialist’ as an expletive.

    I’m really looking forward to Clive Palmers contribution ,I’m just desperate for some diversity of opinion there -I’m at the point where I dont care where it comes from .It will be good to see the big man take on the little man with big words (C Newman).

    Isnt the cause of the collapse in relations with Indo our Colonial atttitude to them? Now the average Indo in the street knows we spy on them for Uncle Sam.

    Finally – On the previous war thread -I’m really pissed that we are so encouraged to look there for our identity .Its so (Conservatively) safe -its a big (white)man version of history. Just imagine the goodwill available if armies were really used fully to combat natural disasters like the Philippines typhoon .We spent 10 Billion$ on the mid-east wars and only offer an insulting 10 Million$ for them.

  39. John Quiggin
    November 14th, 2013 at 09:36 | #39

    The fact that this lame piece of false equivalence is the best point that can be made in response to the post is a pretty clear indication of the mess the new government has made of things.

  40. November 14th, 2013 at 10:09 | #40

    @Fran Barlow

    In my case it’s from observation, not posturing. I find it disappointing and believe that clearly making themselves distinct would work to teir advantage. I vote for them, just saying the way I see it up here – and from what little I know it certainly doesn’t apply in the other states.

  41. m0nty
    November 14th, 2013 at 10:59 | #41

    Will there be a separate Rudd retirement post, Prof Q?

  42. Matt Hardin
    November 14th, 2013 at 11:22 | #42

    Actual Tony Burke quote: “Today is a bit like the Harry Potter novel when they return to Hogwarts and Dolores Umbridge is running the school.” NOT about the witchiness but about an autocratoic, pettifogging, narrow minded, martinet replacing more flexible and acceptable leaders. A different literary allusion might be Commander Queeg taking over the USS Caine.

  43. TerjeP
    November 14th, 2013 at 13:57 | #43

    John Quiggin :
    The fact that this lame piece of false equivalence is the best point that can be made in response to the post is a pretty clear indication of the mess the new government has made of things.

    The enduring upset over the “ditch the witch” sign was stupid. The “Doloros Umbridge” reference was actually funny (it made me chuckle) but shows up the total hypocrisy and double standard. And whilst I agree with you that the “Electric Bill” joke shouldn’t be tolerated in the chamber, presenting it as evidence of the government being a “fiasco” is what is lame. It’s hardly material to whether this government shapes up to be a success or a failure.

    This government will no doubt provide plenty of opportunities for us to condemn it. Try not to get too excited over some petty name calling.

  44. Fran Barlow
    November 14th, 2013 at 14:13 | #44

    The “Doloros Umbridge” reference was actually funny (it made me chuckle) but shows up the total hypocrisy and double standard .{..} presenting it as evidence of the government being a “fiasco” is what is lame.

    They breached their own standard on the day they announced it. I’d call that a fiasco. So too is gagging debate on whether the changes in the standing orders are an attempt to gag debate.

    Sidebar: It’s also amusing that you use the “funny but shows up the hypocrisy of …” while wanting to give a pass to the evident hypcrisy of the LNP here.

  45. I used to be not trampis
    November 14th, 2013 at 14:17 | #45

    Terje, that wasn’t the only thing. I wrote about this as well.

    As well as getting the Nick Rowe disease!

  46. I used to be not trampis
    November 14th, 2013 at 14:19 | #46

    wow I cannot link at all !! why?

  47. November 14th, 2013 at 15:22 | #47

    Kevin Rudd’s resignation overshadowed Nova Peris’ first speech in the Senate. Interesting that both speeches referenced MLK. The Apology is one of the defining moments in Australian Parliamentary democracy. I wonder what happens now to the NT Intervention. There are aspects of Senator Peris’s speech that may give pause. Still her accounts of what her mother endured and other members of her family are important stories. At such times, there is a sense of the weight of history.

  48. November 14th, 2013 at 15:32 | #48

    squib would be more insulting than witch in a HP context

  49. David
    November 14th, 2013 at 15:32 | #49

    It is quite amusing to see the back and forth arguing the moral high ground of either side of politics, quite as if there is a moral high ground left to stand on! Arguments written with such feeling and gusto of “true believers”! It is a shame that the level of politics in this country has been so poor for so long. I for one am glad for the change in government, not that the LNP have had a great start, but it is very early days to judge. It is fun to comment though. Pretty outrageuos to call this a “fiasco” of a government at this stage without wearing your political bias on your sleeve. I enjoy reading the critiques on this blog even the “outrageous” ones. Personally I think it is very early days, I hope the government grow into the role unlike the previous 2 editions. I hope that, not for my biased political beliefs but in the best interests of the country (and entertaining blog like this!)

  50. John Quiggin
    November 14th, 2013 at 15:57 | #50

    m0nty :
    Will there be a separate Rudd retirement post, Prof Q?

    Yes, when I get a moment

  51. ZM
    November 14th, 2013 at 16:20 | #51

    Calling someone a squib derisively probably would cross the line.

  52. TerjeP
    November 14th, 2013 at 17:37 | #52

    Sidebar: It’s also amusing that you use the “funny but shows up the hypocrisy of …” while wanting to give a pass to the evident hypcrisy of the LNP here.

    I’m not giving them a pass. As I said “Electric Bill” should have been disallowed in the chamber. It’s hypocrisy on the part of the LNP to demand better and then allow this insult. But with the ALP now calling people witches after endlessly demanding better it’s more a case of me wishing a pox on both their houses. They should all get a thicker skin, they should all have better manners, and after we finish tut tutting we should all focus on something more substantial.

    The real LNP fiascos in my book are what is happening in QLD where the LNP seems intent on abolishing the justice system. And federally Joe Hockey arguing that a $400 billion credit limit is too harsh. These are issues of material concern. Calling people silly names really shouldn’t rate in comparison.

    JQ did raise the more substantive point about real time reporting of naval manoeuvres to our north. I don’t agree that policing activities should involve a blow by blow update to the media. In practical policy terms I really think Australia should be providing legitimate migration paths for people with sufficient means to pay smugglers. So I don’t agree with the LNP policy position but given what it is the execution of that policy seems fair enough. I’m open to persuasion on this because I have not followed it closely but on the face of it the LNP position seems okay for the moment.

  53. Fran Barlow
    November 14th, 2013 at 17:38 | #53

    @Megan

    At the risk of being pedantic, you said:

    it must be remembered that the Qld Greens are generally viewed – correctly in my opinion – as simply a sub-branch of the ALP rather than a real party.

    The “it must be remembered” implies this is general knowledge and widely said and is reinforced by your “generally viewed” and “correctly in my opinion”

    then on challenge you offered:

    In my case it’s from observation, not posturing. I find it disappointing and believe that clearly making themselves distinct would work to their advantage. I vote for them, just saying the way I see it up here – and from what little I know it certainly doesn’t apply in the other states. (emphasis added)

    These aren’t at all the same claim. At least one of them is wrong.

  54. November 14th, 2013 at 18:37 | #54

    @Fran Barlow

    I can’t think of a way to “prove” it empirically – other perhaps than commissioning an opinion poll (?). My view comes from ‘straw-polling’ and some personal experience. I’ll grant you that the turn of phrase in exhibit 1 above was rhetorical rather than intended to convey being backed by irrefutable evidence.

    I hear much more from/about Scott Ludlam and the other Greens Senators than I do Larissa Waters (who has sadly been virtually silent & invisible here in Qld).

  55. kevin1
  56. kevin1
  57. TerjeP
    November 14th, 2013 at 20:06 | #57

    Where did I raise the issue of your personal sensitivities? I just said you were partisan and full of it. You don’t mind if the ALP calls people witches but somehow imagine it is violent thuggery if somebody calls Julia Gillard a witch.

    I agree with the LDP policy on firearms. I doubt JQ wants us to debate it here. How is it even relevant? If it’s not relevant why do you raise it?

  58. John Quiggin
    November 14th, 2013 at 20:24 | #58

    I think the “witches” thing has gone far enough, I don’t want to discuss guns here, and I’d appreciate it if commenters could avoid personal attacks on each other

  59. Ikonoclast
    November 15th, 2013 at 00:17 | #59

    Now, both our neocon parties (Lib and Lab) want to conduct a US-style debt ceiling argument and play government shut-down brinkmanship. Are they really so stupid that they don’t realise the following?

    (A) Our government debt is very low by international standards.
    (B) Governments can fund themselves by taxation and money creation as well as debt.
    (C) An actual government shutdown is highly damaging socially and economically.

    Or, do they know all this and deliberately play a pretend game where they argue about stupid irrelevancies so as to play to the public?

    I want to start a “chuck them all out” movement. Every election it should be our goal to remove EVERY incumbent. Swap the incumbent for an independent or minor party person of your choice. Avoid both major parties. We will do this until politicians gain some sense again.

  60. Fran Barlow
    November 15th, 2013 at 00:28 | #60

    @Ikonoclast

    This is especially silly when the country somehow survived without a debt ceiling until 2008, when Swan apparently decided that having one would impress all manner of folk with our politico-fiscal virility.

  61. rog
    November 15th, 2013 at 04:39 | #61

    The Rudd govt was all about reform, Gillard about consensus and Abbott about destroying the opposition. In their excitement at gaining control the LNP have been wildly shooting at anything that moves, including their own feet. Abbott needs to pull himself and then the party together before serious damage is done.

  62. Fran Barlow
    November 15th, 2013 at 06:18 | #62

    @rog

    As the regime is a coterie of fools, spivs and wasters, I see no reason for them to change what they are doing.

  63. Fran Barlow
    November 15th, 2013 at 06:20 | #63

    Mind you, it’s hard to imagine how they could change what they are doing.

  64. Pete Moran
    November 15th, 2013 at 14:11 | #64

    @Pete Moran

    Bump. How would this play out – I suspect poorly compared to a double dissolution (which could be blamed on the Govt).

  65. Pete Moran
    November 15th, 2013 at 14:12 | #65

    Pete Moran :
    Does anyone understand the options for the Senate to block supply and force a full election?

    Sorry – try again for the bump.

  66. Tim Macknay
    November 15th, 2013 at 15:08 | #66

    politico-fiscal virility

    LOL. Classic.

  67. ZM
    November 15th, 2013 at 15:29 | #67

    Peter Moran, from Wikipedia

    “Blocking supply[edit]

    The constitutional text denies the Senate the power to originate or amend appropriation bills, in deference to the conventions of the classical Westminster system. Under a traditional Westminster system, the executive government is responsible for its use of public funds to the lower house, which has the power to bring down a government by blocking its access to supply – i.e. revenue appropriated through taxation. The arrangement as expressed in the Australian Constitution, however, still leaves the Senate with the power to reject supply bills or defer their passage – undoubtedly one of the Senate’s most contentious and powerful abilities.
    The ability to block supply was the origin of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. The Opposition used its numbers in the Senate to defer supply bills, refusing to deal with them until an election was called for both Houses of Parliament, an election which it hoped to win. The Prime Minister of the day, Gough Whitlam, contested the legitimacy of the blocking and refused to resign. The crisis brought to a head two Westminster conventions that, under the Australian constitutional system, were in conflict – firstly, that a government may continue to govern for as long as it has the support of the lower house, and secondly, that a government that no longer has access to supply must either resign or be dismissed. The crisis was resolved in November 1975 when Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Whitlam’s government and appointed a caretaker government on condition that elections for both houses of parliament be held. This action in itself was a source of controversy and debate continues on the proper usage of the Senate’s ability to block supply and on whether such a power should even exist.”

  68. TerjeP
    November 15th, 2013 at 16:55 | #68

    The senate should have the right to block supply. The government should have the right to carry on without funding. The Governor General should take a walk if this transpires. And then maybe have a cup of tea with the key stakeholders.

  69. ZM
    November 15th, 2013 at 17:04 | #69

    No way Terje, the Governor General is the crown’s representative and therefore has the duty to do what’ best for the future good of the commonwealth.

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