Home > Boneheaded stupidity, Oz Politics > Putting their worst foot forward

Putting their worst foot forward

January 22nd, 2014

I don’t usually watch much TV, which doubtless hampers me in keeping in touch with the mood of the Australian electorate, most of whom still get much of their political news from this source. But, over the summer break, I tend to take things easier which means watching more TV, and taking less interest in politics. So, I don’t think the following observations are way out of line with general public reactions

* When it limped into the end of its first session, the talk coming out of the Abbott government’s media cheer squad was that they would let us watch the cricket in the hope that we’d forget the fiascos of their first few months. Instead, they’ve generated more and worse political coverage than I can ever remember for this time of year, floating trial balloons, rerunning culture wars and so on

* As I remember them from Opposition a fair few of our new rulers are reasonably personable types. But the government’s media strategy has been to keep them all in the background, and to push the most appalling thugs and fools (Pyne, Morrison, Bernardi, Newman (Campbell and Maurice), Andrews) to the forefront. Or maybe there is no strategy, and they are just letting everyone do what comes naturally

But perhaps there is a brilliant plan here, and I’m missing it. Any thoughts?

Categories: Boneheaded stupidity, Oz Politics Tags:
  1. djm
    January 22nd, 2014 at 20:26 | #1

    Maybe they are hoping their appalling performance will hasten the development of Stockholm Syndrome in the electorate?

  2. Hal9000
    January 22nd, 2014 at 20:48 | #2

    There is no strategy, other than to try to be invisible. They were not ready for government, and seem to have learned nothing in the months since the election. Their only plan has been to undo everything Labor did. Now they face the reality of their own rhetoric, and the electorate will not like it. As the polls worsen, there will be leadership ructions. It’s not often I would agree with Shorten, but this lot are oncers.

  3. Megan
    January 22nd, 2014 at 21:28 | #3

    I wouldn’t call it “a brilliant plan”, but it doesn’t need to be.

    As long as the ALP keeps trying to outflank Abbott on the extreme ‘right’ and hoping Rupert might swing behind him, we won’t be getting an ALP government for quite some time.

    As I’ve pointed out before, at the “LNP Landslide” election 2013, the Senate seats for BOTH ALP/LNP fell while Greens/Other rose.

    The two party duopoly serve one purpose and one ideology. They are functionally indistinguishable, and they know it. That’s why they (and the establishment media) put so much time/money/effort into pretending it isn’t so.

    We might get a change of party at the next election, but we won’t get a change of government.

  4. January 22nd, 2014 at 22:26 | #4

    Maybe they’re trying to get all the silly ideological / political favours crap out of the way now, so that by the time they get to the next election the ‘normal’ LNP approach will seem ‘reasonable’.

  5. Fran Barlow
    January 22nd, 2014 at 23:08 | #5

    It’s clear that what most of us supposed in September is true. They had no material when they came to office, not merely because they were indolent and clueless, but because it would have subverted their chances of winning.

    Paradoxically, that makes governing harder and so all they really have as a management strategy is compelling everything to get ticked off by Credlin before release, and since she can only authorise so much in a single day they are very slow moving. Bernardi, who isn’t in cabinet can freelance, and so can the Newmans.

    Abbott gets licence but as he is clueless that’s an accident waiting to happen. Today at Davos he explained SBYs duty to understand Australia’s need to have its way with Indonesia’s borders and boat people. Hmmm

  6. Darryl Rosin
    January 22nd, 2014 at 23:16 | #6

    There’s nobody driving this bus.

  7. Robert
    January 22nd, 2014 at 23:31 | #7

    I think the brilliant plan is to run in 2016 on Labor’s supposed economic incompetence. Given that the view that Labor were incompetent is widely held, it’s going to be tough for Shorten to win. In government Labor did very little to defuse the debt and deficit scaremongering; there’s little hope they can do it from opposition.

  8. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 00:24 | #8

    Let’s say I’m a “Brain-Alive” voter (as opposed to a brain-dead ALP voter), why would I vote for the ALP at the next federal election?

    If the best you can offer is “Abbott would be worse” – forget it, you tried that with both Abbott and C. Newman and it failed miserably.

    Face it ALP fans, the LNP have your policies but they manage to make them sound reasonable.

    I’ll vote Katter, Palmer, Pirate & Greens before I’ll go anywhere near ALP.

  9. Kel
    January 23rd, 2014 at 00:49 | #9

    @Megan
    No you’re brain dead, don’t sell yourself short. You have the one enduring quality of the LNP voter, nothing for modernity please, just leave plenty for the rich and Rupert.

  10. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 01:12 | #10

    @Kel

    Kel, it’s a shame you are a brain dead ALP troll, if you were not you would have noticed that I didn’t put LNP anywhere in that list of parties I would vote for ahead of the ALP.

    Therefore I am not an “LNP voter”.

    Have a good long walk in the hall of mirrors and think long and hard about what you see there.

  11. graham
    January 23rd, 2014 at 02:05 | #11

    well aggression is what got them elected. Perhaps they are banking on aggression winning the next election on the theory it is better to be elected than popular. Policy consequences aside it’ll be an interesting natural experiment to see if it works

  12. Ikonoclast
    January 23rd, 2014 at 05:10 | #12

    The strategy of the Tories is implementing policies for the rich. They are an “honest” party in the sense that they are honest about themselves to themselves. They know they are the party for rich privilige and exploitation combined with contempt for everyone else. They know all this internally and are proud of it. Of course, they lie and obfuscate when talking to the public but this too is something to be proud of in their world. Part of being cleverer and richer is duping other people. The Tories still stand for something. They stand for rich privilege.

    Labor, on the other hand, now stands for nothing. They do not stand for the working class or even the middle class any more. All they stand for is existing as a professional political class that seeks government as an end in itelf. Labor’s problem is that many of them cannot even be honest with themselves. They still believe they beleive in something. However, I am sure a sub-group in Labor are perfectly self-aware of having no scruples and no guiding principles related to the common good.

    Having said all the above, I would agree that the current Liberals are not clever and not subtle. Howard was far more effectively Machiavellian than Tony Abbott. Abbott is too obviously aggressive, clumsy and lacking in intellectual finesse.

    I endorse Megan’s statement:

    “The two party duopoly serve one purpose and one ideology. They are functionally indistinguishable, and they know it. That’s why they (and the establishment media) put so much time/money/effort into pretending it isn’t so.

    We might get a change of party at the next election, but we won’t get a change of government.”

    We have reached a point where representative (party) democracy has been subverted by oligarchic and corporate intervention. Our major party representatives are effectively “bought and suborned” as I term it. At this stage of political economic history, corporate capitalism is seeking to render democracy ineffective so that rule of our society is fully delivered into the hands of corporate capital. This project is now very advanced. It would take revolutionary changes in the Anglophone world to reverse this process.

    Given the effectiveness with which corporate power is now operating, there appears little or no chance of the needed kind of revolution occurring “endogenously” ie. from within our own society. Left wing, environmental, humane and intellectual values have all been steam-rolled by corporate capital which is in almost complete ascendancy. Only an external challenge will change parameters enough to induce revolution (or a collapse into barbarism) in the Anglophone West.

    The external challenge will come as Asia out-competes the West in an environment of resource, ecological and biospheric collapse. I would not mourn the passing of the West as such but I would and do mourn the passing of democracy. I think we are well past the zenith of democracy now and it will not survive. Symptomatic of this is the condition of the three great powers. Russia is a Chekist state with oligarchic capitalism as junior partner. China is a one party state again with oligarchic capitalism as junior partner. The USA is a corporate oligarchic state. None of these places are remotely democratic in any genuine sense of the term. To fail to see all of this is to miss the fundamental trends of our time.

  13. Donald Oats
    January 23rd, 2014 at 08:07 | #13

    The Nauru situation with its lack of rule of law is another issue which Australia’s government should be publicly commenting on, and working hard on resolving. Instead? Worst foot forward.

    Julian Burnside gives a good examination of the underlying issues at play in the Nauru case; well worth a read.

  14. Mel
    January 23rd, 2014 at 08:34 | #14

    It has been a depressing government as well as a useless government. A war on the welfare state is going to be part of this years melancholy agenda.

  15. David Allen
    January 23rd, 2014 at 09:04 | #15

    I just love waking every morning and hearing lib gov comments that don’t represent me. Julie Bishop this morn lashes Edward Snowden for treachery. lol. Ms Bishop speaks with authority about treachery but me thinks she’s just projecting her behavior onto others here.

  16. iain
    January 23rd, 2014 at 10:16 | #16

    I’d add Cormann and Bishop to that list.

    Right wing aggression, coupled with a false promise of progress, appeals to a bogan electorate.

  17. patrickb
    January 23rd, 2014 at 10:32 | #17

    @Megan
    Megan delights in insults but then shoots herself in the foot by stating that she’ll vote for just about anybody so long as they’re not the ALP or the LNP. Why she thinks this makes her superior to someone who votes ALP because they aren’t the LNP is a riddle that only she, in her wisdom, has the answer to.
    The fact is that voting for the minor parties in the Senate is a hedge but a waste of time in the reps unless we get a hung parliament. Bearing that in mind and reflecting with somewhat rose tinted glasses on the previous government, it appears to me that a 2PP vote for the ALP is far preferable than one for the LNP. Those who say don’t vote for the ALP under any circumstances need to understand that they are effectively advocating for an LNP government. I understand the need for principles but there is also pragmatism. Insults about being brain dead are pathetically naive.

  18. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:23 | #18

    @patrickb

    It’s not correct to say that anyone who declines to preference the ALP ahead of the LNP is effectively voting for LNP rule. I vote by Langer method which is now effectively informal. This helps neither major party grouping.

    I don’t agree with characterisations of others as ‘brain dead’ based purely on their voting inclination. Putting the hyperbole to one side, there are any number of reasons why someone might preference one of the governing conservative parties over the other. These include disengagement from the political process, perceptions of personal advantage (sound or fanciful), ignorance, delusion, malice toward others, tribal attachment … or any of these in combination.

  19. Vegetarian
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:25 | #19

    But Prof Q, who are the “reasonably personable types”? Malcolm Turnbull perhaps, and…..

  20. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:26 | #20

    @patrickb
    It’s not correct to say that anyone who declines to preference the ALP ahead of the LNP is effectively voting for LNP rule. I vote by Langer method which is now effectively informal. This helps neither major party grouping.

    I don’t agree with characterisations of others as ‘brain dead’ based purely on their voting inclination. Putting the hyperbole to one side, there are any number of reasons why someone might preference one of the governing conservative parties over the other. These include disengagement from the political process, perceptions of personal advantage (sound or fanciful), ignorance, delusion, m@lice toward others, tribal attachment … or any of these in combination.

    Hmm … a new automod term …

  21. January 23rd, 2014 at 11:28 | #21

    I’m slightly confused by these people who seem to believe that it’s possible to vote for neither the ALP or the LNP in an Australian federal election.

    In the vast majority of House electorates (and in the Senate) you must preference one above the other, that preference directly feeds into determining who wins the seat, and the aggregate of those preferences will directly determine who forms the next government.

    As PatrickB notes, this means that everyone must choose between the ALP and the LNP, and a decision not to vote for one is a decision to vote for the other – even if you preference them last and second-last.

  22. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:31 | #22

    @patrickb

    Obviously we disagree.

    But:

    don’t vote for the ALP under any circumstances need to understand that they are effectively advocating for an LNP government

    Conversely, voting ALP in all circumstances is effectively guaranteeing the two party neo-con duopoly I criticised above.

    As for the Senate, in the last parliament most legislation that passed the senate was voted for by both ALP and LNP voting together (often defeating cross-bench votes).

    I’ve been trying for ages to get the exact stats, but that is the case.

  23. January 23rd, 2014 at 11:32 | #23

    Fran: yes, Langer has now been declared informal. So it’s true you’re not voting for the ALP or the LNP, *because you aren’t voting at all*.

  24. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:35 | #24

    Of course John B you can vote informal. Another option, (which on principle I’d never do) is to vote against the party likely to win in a safe seat. That way you never help the winning party beyond your $2.14 or whatever it is these days.

    You’re stuck in the Senate however so informal is the only way to go.

  25. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:36 | #25

    Well technically, I am voting. It’s just that it’s counted as an informal vote. It still counts in the overall tally and I’m still counted as having voted.

  26. January 23rd, 2014 at 11:38 | #26

    Howard effectively ran out of ideas somewhere back in the late 1990s. The whole terrorism/attack of the boat people was the main thing that kept him going, helped by the fact that Labor didn’t have many coherent ideas either. Howard’s mob got into the habit of adopting American conservative talking points as their own, and the likes of Bernardi are still doing it. But it’s no substitute for a properly-thought-out policy platform.

    However this is only of interest to the tiny group of political junkies. I suspect most Australians are pretty comfortable with their lot at the moment and don’t want the federal government to do anything in particular. They kicked out Gillard/Rudd because they were so obviously incapable of governing. They will probably tolerate the Libs as unavoidable background noise until either they also self-destruct or something new causes them to feel threatened, in which case politics will become more important again.

  27. January 23rd, 2014 at 11:45 | #27

    I should qualify the first sentence of my previous comment by acknowledging Howard & Co’s eventual destroy-the-unions campaign, which counts as a reformist idea. But it is one widely credited with having caused their defeat in 2007, supporting my main argument that really the Australian electorate just wants the government to leave it alone when economic conditions are benign.

  28. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 11:47 | #28

    Ken

    They kicked out Gillard/Rudd because they were so obviously incapable of governing.

    Doubtful, IMO … My guess would be that a tranche just got sick of all the noise and wanted it to stop, much like those parents at the checkout who will relent and buy confectionery for the kiddies if they throw a large enough wobbly.

    That, and the general disengagement of the populace, widespread ignorance and the other things I listed above predisposed regime change. The existing regime clearly was capable of governing to the typical post-1970s standard.

  29. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 12:22 | #29

    @john b

    everyone must choose between the ALP and the LNP, and a decision not to vote for one is a decision to vote for the other

    The citizens of Fairfax, Kennedy, Denison, Melbourne and Indi recently proved again that this is not so.

  30. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 12:37 | #30

    @Megan

    The problem with this claim Megan is that all those wanting to elect the non-major candidates had to preference one of the majors ahead of the alternative and hope enough people voted the
    same way as them to render their major party preference moot.

  31. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 13:05 | #31

    @Fran Barlow

    I don’t think I follow. For example, in Melbourne Bandt got 42.6% of first preferences – so the voters didn’t have to preference either of the duopoly??

    Or do you mean that somewhere on the ballot the voter must put one of ALP/LNP above the other, even if they are last and second last?

    Surely in any compulsory preference system you must list all candidates – I don’t see how that changes what I said about voting non-duopoly??

  32. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 13:20 | #32

    @Megan

    In order to help elect Bandt you had to cast a formal vote. That means placing the ALP ahead of the LNP or vice versa somewhere on the ballot. You take the chance that if one of them — probably the ALP in Melbourne gets ahead of Bandt on primaries then your vote will help elect the ALP candidate. You can’t withdraw your preference during the count if it goes the wrong way.

    If I had lived in Melbourne in 2013 I’d have taken this chance, but the fact remains that I’d have risked helping to elect a party committed to the abuse of asylum seekers, and thus have given in to a form of political blackmail.

  33. January 23rd, 2014 at 13:29 | #33

    Fran #28 “sick of all the noise and wanted it to stop” is what I mean by deciding they were incapable of governing. I don’t subscribe to the simplistic “disunity is death” axiom but when a government’s main concern for several years seems to be internal fighting to see who gets to be leader, it’s no wonder lots of voters conclude it has no business being in power.

  34. January 23rd, 2014 at 13:59 | #34

    @Megan

    I can’t help thinking that the ALP is better than Palmer (“Palmer, resurrecting Joh”). Actually, even the LNP is better than Palmer.

  35. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 14:03 | #35

    @John Brookes

    In which areas (of policy) would ALP/LNP be better?

  36. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 14:29 | #36

    @John Brookes

    I wouldn’t agree that the LNP is better than PUP. For the most part they are equally repulsive, but PUP was considerably less hostile to asylum seekers than the LNP. Also, PUP was far more likely to be corrosive of LNP rule than another LNP member.

    That said, for obvious reasons, I’d never preference PUP. I was rather disappointed that the QLD Greens did, but again, political blackmail applies.

  37. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 15:06 | #37

    @Megan
    Global warming policy.

  38. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 15:16 | #38

    @Ken_L

    Yes, but noise from the Murdoch press that many of us dubbed simply “leadersh|t” along with baseless bullying over “dysfunctional government” and “juliar” is not the same as being unable to govern. The fact of the matter was that the Gillard regime, though craven and odious in many respects to those of humanistic and egalitarian predisposition, was no worse or more dysfunctional a regime than any of its predecessors and probably better than most of them by conservative standards.

    It had successfully passed more laws than had Howard in any given year and met criteria that conservatives normally avow in matters of economic management. It had reduced taxes, prevented recession, avoided inflation, kept industrial stoppages to a minimum, avoided a collapse in asset prices, kept interest rates low, got rid of trailing commissions in super, increased pensions, brought in a modest parental leave scheme, started building a contemporary broadband network, secured increases in real funding for schools, proposed a disability support scheme that even the LNP backed, brought in plain packaging for cigarettes, eventually withdrew the troops from Afghanistan so stemming the losses there and made a modest start on pricing carbon.

    Anyone who says they weren’t able to govern is having a laugh, surely. There was plenty they did with which I disagreed bitterly but I’m clearly on the left and it wasn’t lefties that voted in the LNP.

  39. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 15:17 | #39

    @Tim Macknay

    Really? How so?

  40. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 15:27 | #40

    This is from a Palmer press release last September:

    “Australia lags behind other countries when it comes to addressing climate change, and this policy will help us meet our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.”

    Mr Palmer said regional areas which relied on the sugar industry such as Mackay had been neglected by the major parties.

    “Australian sugar prices are not as competitive as they used to be,” he said.

    “By boosting our use of sugar cane ethanol the Palmer United Party will help secure the future of these communities which have long been ignored by the major parties.”

    I’m more of a ‘free public transport’ mind when it comes to cutting FF out of personal transport, and I’m not a fan of burning food to run cars either, but it is a policy at least.

  41. Fran Barlow
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:05 | #41

    @Megan
    Hmmm

    Sugar is not food, but that said the EROEI on sugar to fuel is pretty poor. Some estimates in Brazil go to 8:1 but that’s still a lot of FHC input. It would be far better environmentally to return the land to something like the forest that existed there prior to the plantations.

    And Palmer is nothing if not keen on coal exports. He once suggested that Greens (or perhaps Greenpeace as it wasn’t clear) were part of some CIA scheme to privilege US coal or something.

    You’re right that the LNP doesn’t have any more than a thought bubble in their “direct action” scheme but neither does PUP here.

  42. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:19 | #42

    @Tim Macknay
    I’ll qualify my comment by saying that only the ALP is genuinely better than Palmer on global warming policy.

    But I would have thought it was obvious – the ALP put in place a carbon pricing scheme and renewable energy funding scheme, supported by the Greens, which appears to be working. Sure, one can argue about whether it is enough (clearly it isn’t), but it is a significant step in the right direction. In contrast, Clive Palmer believes that global warming is a hoax (and/or is perfectly natural and/or is a good thing, depending on who he’s talking to) and wants to abolish all policies to reduce emissions. The LNP, of course, want to abolish the ALP/Greens carbon price and introduce a token emissions reduction policy, which the experts all agree will not work, while quietly dismantling most of the country’s environmental policy arrangements.

    This is from a Palmer press release last September

    If you’re claiming that Palmer’s policy on subsidising sugar farmers has something to do with global warming, you’re either being naive or disingenuous. Palmer has never hidden his contempt for environmentalists or his disbelief in global warming, The fact that he uses it as a talking point in one of his press releases is a reflection of his audacity and of the low opinion he has of his constituents.

  43. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:20 | #43

    I just addressed that comment to myself instead of Megan. Aargh!

  44. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:25 | #44

    @Tim Macknay

    Funny, I would say that the ALP/LNP

    …has never hidden [their] contempt for environmentalists or [their] disbelief in global warming, The fact that [either] uses it as a talking point in one of [their] press releases is a reflection of [their] audacity and of the low opinion [they have] of [their] constituents.

    OK, perhaps they sometimes say they ‘believe’ in it – but they don’t really act that way.

  45. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:28 | #45

    @Megan
    From what you’re saying, it sounds like you believe that the carbon pricing and renewable energy funding policy put in place by the previous government is no better than the LNP or Palmer policies. Is that correct?

  46. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:31 | #46

    Sorry Tim, I cut that press release down for brevity.

    He wasn’t advocating subsidies for sugar farmers, the stated policy was to have 10% of cars running on ethanol by the end of 2016 and 25% by 2020.

    As to whether he is telling the truth or not…who knows, but I don’t trust him any less than I do anything coming from the duopoly.

  47. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:35 | #47

    @Tim Macknay

    I think the ALP’s policies were too tortured because they were trying to fit them into a neo-liberal ‘market’ package. Remember, the ALP supports “axing the tax” nowadays and remember too that it was Marn who had ASIO treating climate activists as terrrrsts.

  48. Sancho
    January 23rd, 2014 at 16:47 | #48

    At least partially, the government is a victim of the expectations it created while in opposition.

    Australians have been hammered for years with the notion that the ALP was leading the worst of all possible governments, and that the Coalition would put a chicken in every pot, a plasma screen in every room, and heal the symptoms of the paranoid style that it was creating in the first place.

    Now that all we’re getting is a banal Tory agenda, people feel a bit ripped off.

  49. John Quiggin
    January 23rd, 2014 at 17:02 | #49

    “Remember, the ALP supports “axing the tax” nowadays”

    Umm, only true in the misleading sense that they support a transition to a tradeable permits scheme, as they have done continuously under Rudd, Gillard, Rudd and Shorten (with the arguable exception of a few months in 2010 when they had no plan at all). If they really supported “axing the tax”, Abbott’s legislation to that effect would have passed.

  50. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 17:07 | #50

    @Megan
    @Megan
    Megan, it’s hardly a secret that policies to subsidise ethanol production in Queensland are a vote-buying exercise, which is whay they are perennially popular with climate change-denying rural conservatives.

    I read the press release. Like all PUP policies, it is no more than a thought bubble.
    It’s not at all clear what the policy means (other than that it will subsidise sugar production), but if taken at fact value, it looks unworkable.

    Even under the most optimistic assumptions regarding emissions (i.e. no actual increase in transport emissions by increased number of vehicles or miles driven, and a full 25% of the fuel going into motor cars in 2025 is ethanol), the policy would reduce emissions by less than 2% 9\(compared with the status quo), all other things being equal. However, that scenario would require either 10% of cars in Australia modified so as to run on pure ethanol, or all petrol sold in Australia to contain 10% ethanol within the next 2 years. That would require all Australia’s sugar cane crop to be converted to ethanol, and/or a massive increase in sugar importation, or a huge and unprecedented turnover of Australia’s vehicle stock (at vast expense).

    If however, all the policy means is that 10% of Australian vehicles will be running on fuel that contains some ethanol within 2 years, then the policy is essentially the status quo.

    I’m reasonably sure that Palmer didn’t bother to do those numbers though, since it’s perfectly obvious that the press release was designed to attract votes from rural conservatives who had previously voted for the Nationals or Bob Katter.

    It’s clear that in that respect it achieved its goal, and equally clear that, if one assumes it is actually a climate change policy (which it barely pretends to be), it is vastly inferior to the climate change policy apparatus put in place by the previous ALP government and the Greens.

    I’m inclined to think that you’re basing your views on vague general impressions, rather than any real analysis of the policies. That’s your prerogative, of course.

  51. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 17:08 | #51

    Sorry about the double moniker. These typo’s are getting a bit too frequent…

  52. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 17:29 | #52

    And by “fact value”, I meant “face value”. Arrgh.

  53. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 19:24 | #53

    @Tim Macknay

    Obviously I don’t accept this:

    I’m inclined to think that you’re basing your views on vague general impressions, rather than any real analysis of the policies.

    But I think we may be missing the point. I’m not a PUP cheerleader/booster/rusted-on-die-hard who thinks they can do no wrong and that we must all always vote for them for the good of the country. My point is that an awful lot of ALP supporters hold that view of the ALP (applies to LNP too). And, that such blind loyalty actually deprives this country of the best features of a functioning democracy.

    Two things about the ALP climate change policy: It would have seen emissions continue to rise for the near future rather than stabilise or fall, and, it looks like they will be completely undone by about mid-year anyway.

    A big change (such as the GST) might be heavily opposed and cause much noise but (like the GST) once in place it seems very hard to remove and becomes accepted. I remember well the “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” meme doing the rounds when we were all supposed to be waving pom-poms for the ALP on climate change. In my view that didn’t really work out.

  54. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 20:02 | #54

    @Megan

    My point is that an awful lot of ALP supporters hold that view of the ALP (applies to LNP too). And, that such blind loyalty actually deprives this country of the best features of a functioning democracy.

    Obviously that is true of some supporters of every political party. However there are also many people who hold the view that, while none of the options on offer are satisfactory, there is enough of a difference to make one option less worse than the other. I think there are plenty of commenters on this blog who would take that view with respect to the ALP and the LNP, and to conflate that view with “blind loyalty” (which is what you appear to be doing) is mistaken.

    If you’re saying that conditions would improve if the ALP/LNP political duopoly were broken, then in general I’m in agreement with you. However, I’m rather dubious that protesting against the policies of the main parties by voting for demagogues on the make brings out the best in democracy, either.

    Two things about the ALP climate change policy: It would have seen emissions continue to rise for the near future rather than stabilise or fall, and, it looks like they will be completely undone by about mid-year anyway.

    Presumably the first point makes the policy unacceptable to you. However, it seems pretty clear to me from the political carnage wrought by the attempt to put a very modest carbon pricing policy in place (it is implicated in the demise of two prime ministers, or three if you include Howard, plus one leader of the opposition) that a more ambitious policy could not have been implemented in the political climate prevailing over the last few years. The denialists have been very effective in their campaign, particularly in converting the conservative side of politics. That probably reflects poorly on the nation, but there it is.

    On the second point, yes it’s true that, unless derailed by the probable Senate re-election in WA, the Abbott government will repeal the policy. But that is no reflection at all on the merits of the policy – it merely reflects the reactionary stance of the government on the issue.

    A big change (such as the GST) might be heavily opposed and cause much noise but (like the GST) once in place it seems very hard to remove and becomes accepted.

    I’m not sure what your reference to the GST signifies. In one sense it is similar to the carbon price policy in that it is a good idea that is easy to attack with scare campaigns. In another sense it is completely different, in that instead of bipartisan acceptance following implementation we have a reactionary approach being taken. What of it?

    I remember well the “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” meme doing the rounds when we were all supposed to be waving pom-poms for the ALP on climate change. In my view that didn’t really work out.

    Again, I’m not really clear on your point. We currently have a reasonably good climate change policy framework in place, which has the potential to being driving down emissions (and on the evidence, is already doing so to some degree)and can be ramped up as circumstances permit/require. If Abbott obtains the numbers in the Senate come July, the most probable outcome is that we will have no policy at all, as well as a progressive dismantling of many other environmental protection policies.

    So in one sense it certainly “didn’t work out” in the sense that most of our national environmental policies will be worse than they were before. But what that has to do with “not making the perfect the enemy of the good”, I don’t know. “Perfect” is nowhere to be seen.

    You’re entitled to your view that the current ALP/Greens originated policy is not worth preserving, of course, however I think it’s worth pointing out that virtually no-one who works in climate change policy would agree with you.

  55. Tim Macknay
    January 23rd, 2014 at 20:03 | #55

    Stuffed up the blockquotes. Blurgh. It’s really not my day for formatting…

  56. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 20:40 | #56

    @Tim Macknay

    You are being slippery in attributing to me the “view that the current ALP/Greens originated policy is not worth preserving”.

    You describe it as: “…a reasonably good climate change policy framework in place, which has the potential to being driving down emissions (and on the evidence, is already doing so to some degree)and can be ramped up as circumstances permit/require.”

    My view is that the policy is a bit like deciding to drive a motorbike into a wall at 95kph when the other mob want to keep doing 100kph. “Reasonably good” isn’t anywhere near good enough, is the point.

    My analogy to GST was simply to make the point that some BIG changes have been implemented over the years and despite all the howls they proved relatively difficult to undo rapidly later (other examples might include metric system, medicare, suffrage, dropping the draft).

  57. January 23rd, 2014 at 22:41 | #57

    Basically, when looking at PUP policy, just look at how it would benefit Clive. More refugees = cheap labour. Sugar to ethanol = pork barrelling my mates.

    To me the ALP might sometimes be wrong or ineffective, but they aren’t a party with a leader who looks at the world and thinks how he can change things to enrich himself more.

  58. Megan
    January 23rd, 2014 at 23:41 | #58

    @John Brookes

    We’re in agreement on this:

    the ALP might sometimes be wrong or ineffective, but they aren’t a party with a leader who looks at the world and thinks how he can change things to enrich himself more.

    Exactly! “Change” is the farthest thing from his mind (and all ALP leaders for that matter).

    BAU is their mantra.

  59. J-D
    January 24th, 2014 at 10:25 | #59

    @Vegetarian
    I too am curious to know which are the ones (on the Coalition frontbench) that Professor Quiggin perceives (or perceived) as ‘reasonably personable types’. I have never paid enough attention to them to form individual views about them (well, maybe two or three).

  60. Tim Macknay
    January 24th, 2014 at 19:48 | #60

    @Megan

    You’re being slippery

    No, I don’t accept that. I stated what appears to me to be the straightforward implication of your comments. You haven’t been particularly clear as to precisely what you do think would be an adequate global warming policy, so if I got it wrong, it’s not altogether surprising.

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  63. Collin Street
    January 24th, 2014 at 23:37 | #63

    Basically, when looking at PUP policy, just look at how it would benefit Clive.

    See, PUP policy is guaranteed to make at least one person better off, whereas the coalition can’t even manage that. Clive’s the clear winner in strict utility terms.

  64. Megan
    January 25th, 2014 at 00:30 | #64

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    We are Helping All Australians, with a all out Assistance in helping them in there Home Loans Canberra, Car loans, or even Wealth creation

    not only slides through the eternal moderation the years long regulars are subjected to, but manages not to be banned.

    Pays someone’s wages, I suppose – but if anyone thinks they’re going to get a single cent from a reader of this site I’ve obviously overestimated the intellectual quotient around here.

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