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Weekend reflections

August 22nd, 2014

After a long break, it’s time for another weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. Side discussions to sandpits, please.

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  1. kevin1
    August 22nd, 2014 at 12:29 | #1

    This week I went to a talk by Ross Garnaut about Piketty. Garnaut said he is optimistic about redressing the inequity trend here if the political system can be “rescued” by structural reform, and nominated NSW premier Baird’s call to end interest group (business and union) funding of political parties. Others like John Hewson I note seem to agree.

    Garnaut said he had no interest in Baird’s motivation, just the effect of his proposals. But the wider effect would likely be to irreversibly cut the vestigial links of the main parties to capital and labour and accelerate the process of them becoming purely “management teams” rather than some attenuated expression of class interests. This of course is consistent with the economic “structural reform” of the 80s which he was so influential in bringing about.

    By expunging from the political system the avenue for people to declare their identity through a “class prism”, it says that class analysis is not a legitimate way to see the world. Is it a good thing to eliminate Labor reformism, or does it reduce the prospect of a workingclass-biased Left ever occupying centre stage?

  2. August 22nd, 2014 at 15:46 | #2

    Just a quicky. The Murdoch empire is suppressing an internal report that shows that their Australian newspapers are in a death spiral.

    Surely under the ASIC continuous disclosure rules they should have to make this report public? After all, it is information that would affect the share price…

  3. Dave Lisle
    August 22nd, 2014 at 16:08 | #3

    John. the report is described by News as commercial in confidence – they do not have to disclose all known information.
    Much is made about the revelation in the ‘blue book’ that the Oz lost $27 million in 2013. But this was probably money well spent. Influence is not cheap. What did the MCA spend to defeat Rudd’s MSRT? The loss making newspapers are investments.

  4. Ivor
    August 22nd, 2014 at 17:17 | #4

    So who or what is a Keynesian capitalist today?

    Obviously Australia has produced or imported socialist economists – ted Wheelwright, Frank Stillwell, Bruce MacFarlane. Could you label any of these as any type of Keynesian – I doubt it.

    The economists – trying to prettify capitalism, are the ones who seem to still stick by keynesianism, without really specifying what they mean. It is a set of words that can be dragged out when needed. even as the world heads towards economic catastrophe. These are the ones who seem to hover around rightwing dirty cartoons literature such as “Red Plenty” by F Spufford.

    Economics is now split between the mathematical economists and political economists.

    Mathematical economists (Quiggin, Keen, etc) support capitalism with or without Keynes, the good guys have gone one step deeper in analysis – political economy.

    This issue has been building ever since the turn of the 20th century but probably came into greater focus in the late 60’s leading to Nixon jettisoning the gold standard.

    However the basic framework for what needs to be done was obvious even in 1973. See:

    http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/study-guides/marx-versus-keynes

    It may be useful, in the light of earlier stagflation, various regional financial crisises, and now a semmingly permanent GFC, to reflect on the meaning of Marx compared to whatever theory Quiggin, Steve Keen, Treasury and Productivity Commission advisors and etc throw up.

    As economics was once split between

  5. Ivor
    August 22nd, 2014 at 17:41 | #5

    I should have mentioned Mike Beggs – editor of Jacobin magazine. I have only recently become aware of this source.

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2012/10/eric-hobsbawm-and-the-next-left/

    I am a member of the Cloudland Collective so I recommend their seminar on Thursday, 11 September, 7pm, 41 Peel St, brisbane, on Political economy of inequality.

    Are there any similar community based fightback in other centres?

  6. Patrickb
  7. Sancho
    August 23rd, 2014 at 12:21 | #7
  8. Ikonoclast
    August 23rd, 2014 at 12:35 | #8

    @Sancho

    Yes, and right-wing people try to tell us capitalism does not naturally tend to monopoly or duopolies which are just as bad. The vertical domination of the food chain by Colesworths is anti-competitive and highly inefficient at many levels. Witness the farmers forced to destroy what they do not sell to Colesworths under contract. This country needs some anti-monopoly / anti-trust laws with some real teeth. WTH (What The Heck), is the ACCC doing??? Deliberately underfunded and asleep at the wheel I would say.

  9. Ikonoclast
    August 23rd, 2014 at 12:52 | #9

    I might add, I once bought fruit (for making fruit salad) from one the major supermarkets. I examined each piece of fruit well. It all looked perfect on the outside. I took it with other groceries (overpriced of course) to my elderly parents’ house. They were frail, one had dementia and I knew they were not cooking or eating properly. I made lunch and went to top it off with a healthy fruit salad. EVERY piece of fruit was rotten inside except for a few of the grapes. I had to toss virtually the whole lot out. I was so angry I did not trust myself to go back to the supermarket and make a considered and effective complaint. I simply never shopped there (that chain) again. In fact, I rarely buy fresh fruit except apples.

    Most fresh fruit in Brisbane is garbage. Much of the veg is dubious too. My fresh fruit and veg purchases I now limit to a relatively few varieties of each where I know the quality is passable. I mean does anyone know a good fruit and veg on the Northside? Can’t say I have ever found one myself. Much of Brisbane’s meat leaves a lot to be desired too except for the odd butcher shop that is good. I have travelled and lived in NZ, Canada, UK and much of Europe. Nowhere was the food as bad in Brisbane’s except in Russia. Yes folks, you have to go as far as Russia to find food as bad as Brisbane’s. It’s a disgrace.

  10. Sancho
    August 23rd, 2014 at 17:35 | #10
  11. August 23rd, 2014 at 22:18 | #11

    @Ikonoclast

    I believe that Coles fruit buyers deliberately get a good price by buying fruit that looks good and is bad.

  12. August 23rd, 2014 at 22:24 | #12

    @Patrickb

    The really important thing is for everyone to stand with moderate muslims. They will be bullied by extremists. They will need the full protection of the police and the law.

  13. Megan
    August 24th, 2014 at 16:31 | #13

    The Qld ALP conference has finished.

    After getting wiped-out in 2012 they haven’t learned a thing, apparently. They seem to have no idea of the basic reasons they were thrown out in 2012 and no idea of the basic reasons the electorate currently hates the LNP.

    Here, from the reporting, are their grand plans to right the wrongs once they get back into power:

    – Slightly change the rules around WHS access to worksites!

    – Give employers a payroll tax rebate of 25% for hiring apprentices!

    – Scrap asset sales (of course since the ALP & LNP have already sold everything, that shouldn’t be too hard)!

    – Not put school principals on short term contracts!

    – Ensure funding to learn English in schools is “fair”!

    – Re-open a closed mental health centre!

    They have no idea.

  14. Debbieanne
    August 24th, 2014 at 16:50 | #14

    @kevin1
    That sounds rather frightening. the fact that the pollies are all for business, appearances be damned, is part of the problem not the solution. not matter what lse ‘money talks’.

  15. Hermit
    August 25th, 2014 at 09:48 | #15

    I’m disappointed Senator X thinks we should buy international permits to mop up the remainder should Direct Action not achieve the magnificent 5% emissions reduction 2000-2020.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/25/direct-action-could-meet-emissions-target-if-coalition-allows-changes
    The trouble with international permits is they seem to be based on Magic Pudding economics. A perennially ‘developing’ country like China chooses Plan B over more emissions intensive Plan A. The resulting imaginary savings can then be sold as a credit under the Clean Development Mechanism. The European scheme then certifies the credits and was selling them recently for 50c per tCO2. At the time our official carbon price was $25.40.

    In short
    1) the 5% target is pissweak
    2) cheating to achieve it doesn’t help.

  16. August 25th, 2014 at 11:05 | #16

    Agree entirely Hermit. We have to reduce our emissions by 5%. The idea of buying permits off some other country to “achieve” our target is laughable.

  17. Phil
    August 26th, 2014 at 21:07 | #17

    @Megan
    What should they do/propose, Megan?

  18. Phil
    August 26th, 2014 at 21:11 | #18

    @Dave Lisle

    Hi Dave

    Would s 1041E of the Corporations Act be violated if The Australian was telling porkies about its finances?

    CORPORATIONS ACT 2001 – SECT 1041E
    False or misleading statements

    (1) A person must not (whether in this jurisdiction or elsewhere) make a statement, or disseminate information, if:

    (a) the statement or information is false in a material particular or is materially misleading; and

    (b) the statement or information is likely:

    … (iii) to have the effect of increasing, reducing, maintaining or stabilising the price for trading in financial products on a financial market operated in this jurisdiction…”

  19. Fran Barlow
    August 26th, 2014 at 21:25 | #19

    The planet’s two largest ice sheets – in Greenland and Antarctica – are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year. That is the discovery made by scientists using data from CryoSat-2, the European probe that has been measuring the thickness of Earth’s ice sheets and glaciers since it was launched by the European Space Agency in 2010.

    Even more alarming, the rate of loss of ice from the two regions has more than doubled since 2009, revealing the dramatic impact that climate change is beginning to have on our world.

    {…}

    http://bit.ly/1nwXxqa

  20. Megan
    August 26th, 2014 at 21:55 | #20

    @Phil

    Don’t get me wrong, those things seem to be basically good ideas.

    This shouldn’t be taken as an exhaustive list, but “What should they do/propose?”:

    1. Admit they ran rough-shod over the electorate, e.g. with asset sales, Traveston dam, fracking, privatization of water retailing, council amalgamations and many other things;

    2. Apologise and promise to genuinely consult on any big issues they haven’t taken to an election as clear policy – and “consultation” will be real, not expensive glossy PR exercises in BS;

    3. Fully repeal the anti-rights laws and let the criminal law, the police and the courts do their job when it comes to crime;

    4. Abandon PPPs & neo-liberal economic policies;

    5. Transparency and accountability in government contracting (e.g. IBM health department payroll, Cubix public transport ticketing etc..);

    6. Allow farmers etc.. some reasonable say in fracking on their property and take proper steps to ensure protection of aquifers – and put the onus of proof on the proposer rather than the objecter;

    7. Respect the separation of powers especially re: the judiciary (e.g. mandatory sentencing, judicial appointments);

    That would be a start. Personally, I’d like to see a policy of free public transport, a plebiscite on re-introducing an upper house, decriminalizing abortion and some very strong stuff on environmental protection and GHG reduction – but the basics I listed would be a start and something that would present genuine alternatives to the ALP and LNP “choice” we have now.

    I don’t believe “small target” is any way to run a democracy.

  21. realist
    August 27th, 2014 at 00:02 | #21

    Fran Barlow :

    The planet’s two largest ice sheets – in Greenland and Antarctica – are now being depleted at an astonishing rate of 120 cubic miles each year. That is the

    Even this is weird because the latent heat necessary (ie absorbed) to melt 500 cubic kilometers (500 x 10^14 KG) is comparable to the solar radiation entering on the eARTHS SYSTEM (1.36 kwh/m3 or 1kwhr/m3 to surface per hr).

    So when the available ice melt is zero, where does the energy go next?

  22. J-D
    August 27th, 2014 at 07:23 | #22

    @Megan

    Personally I would give a very low rating to the electoral chances of any party which ran an election campaign saying ‘Last time we were in government we did dreadful, terrible, awful things; we were a disastrous government and totally stuffed things up; but vote for us this time and our next government will be much better, honestly, we promise, we’ve really learned our lesson.’ I just can’t credit that a message anything like that would sell to many voters. A few, maybe.

  23. Ikonoclast
    August 27th, 2014 at 08:19 | #23

    The difference between LNP and Labor is that the LNP actually believe in the conservative-neocon program right to the marrow of their bones. They believe in rich privilege, greater inequailty, sectional interest, despising the poor, exploiting the poor and pillaging the environment. They don’t believe in ecological or climate science. The LNP majority is quite genuine in its beliefs.

    Labor on the other hand, espouse conservative-neocon policies too because they no longer believe they can win an election without such policies. However, their problem is that there are enough of them who know deep down that these policies are scientifically, economically, socially and morally wrong. Thus they lack conviction and belief in their program and it shows. I have given up hope that the ALP will re-develop a conscience and a backbone so I will offer no advice. I hope they wither and die thus making room for genuine parties of the left.

  24. Megan
    August 27th, 2014 at 08:51 | #24

    @J-D

    I’m guessing you don’t live in Qld.

    Apologising for doing dreadful, awful, terrible things and promising to de better worked electorally for Beattie for quite a few years. Even Newman has started to do it (just a little bit – i.e. VLAD might expire, hints at laying off the judiciary a bit, return to bi-partisan appointments to CMC, further asset sales to go to an election).

    In the end the ALP stopped either apologizing or promising to improve. Of course, it only works electorally if it has some convincing ring to it and gets carried out in some concrete way.

  25. Fran Barlow
    August 27th, 2014 at 15:44 | #25

    @J-D

    Personally I would give a very low rating to the electoral chances of any party which ran an election campaign saying ‘Last time we were in government we did dreadful, terrible, awful things; we were a disastrous government and totally stuffed things up; but vote for us this time and our next government will be much better, honestly, we promise, we’ve really learned our lesson.’ I just can’t credit that a message anything like that would sell to many voters. A few, maybe.

    Doubtless that’s so. That probably isn’t what Megan recommends. Perhaps she’s merely recommending they draw a line through the scoresheet, accept that the policies they had in the past are a poor fit for any party focused on equity and declare what they would now do differently and better. In Queensland, after all, most of the offenders are no longer in parliament, so the argument that they are starting afresh would be easier to put.

  26. Ivor
    August 27th, 2014 at 18:53 | #26

    @J-D

    Changing someones words – and then provoking them, is a foul trick.

    You should apologise.

  27. J-D
    August 27th, 2014 at 20:32 | #27

    @Megan

    I admit my memory may be deceiving me, but the way I recall it, Beattie apologised for specific government actions or decisions that he considered to have been errors or failings without suggesting that the general direction of the government was mistaken. But perhaps you are not suggesting that the ALP should take the stance that the general direction of the previous ALP government was mistaken?

    There is another difference, however, where there isn’t the same chance of my memory deceiving me in the same way and which I think is of major importance: Beattie apologised for government failings while in government. A party that is already in government can announce that it is going to change its policies or programs and then prove it in action without delay. A party in opposition cannot use this strategy. It can only say that it will be different in government in the future, which can never be as immediately convincing.

  28. J-D
    August 27th, 2014 at 20:40 | #28

    @Fran Barlow

    I think it would be poor strategy for any opposition party to take a description of its actions when previously in government and use that (alone) as a description of its intentions if re-elected to government. I think it’s close to essential for an opposition party to offer something new. If that is all Megan is suggesting — or all you are suggesting — then I agree. I have a strong impression, though, that Megan was suggesting more than that. My impression is that she thinks that the last ALP government was a bad government and that she thinks the ALP should say so. I continue to doubt that strategy would bring the ALP electoral success.

  29. Megan
    August 27th, 2014 at 22:54 | #29

    @J-D

    You say:

    I think it’s close to essential for an opposition party to offer something new.

    The ALP is, in essence, going beyond that and doing the opposite by omission. It is offering nothing new – small target, “we’d be much the same as them”, “in fact we acknowledge nothing wrong with our last term at all and we’re ready to carry on when it’s time for us to have another go”.

    If the ALP stay on that track they will definitely lose the next Qld election and probably the one after that. If, as seems to be the case, they really don’t care and are happy to just wait until it’s “their turn” again then of course one day they will “win” again.

    I am saying that they should acknowledge what they did, where they went, wrong prior to March 2012 – they haven’t even pretended to do that and obviously have no intention of doing so.

    Qld is ripe for something, pretty much anything, to come along as an alternative to the indistinguishable ALP/LNP duopoly. Sadly, because the ALP has a hold on a chunk of the electorate that is willing to put up with absolutely anything as long as it has “ALP” written on it and they can pretend that’s the ‘left’, that force is likely to be of an ugly right-wing type.

  30. J-D
    August 28th, 2014 at 08:09 | #30

    @Megan

    I was not arguing about whether the strategy currently being pursued by the ALP is a good one. However, to argue that the strategy you recommend must be a good one because the one it is currently pursuing is a bad one is the fallacy of false dichotomy. If you are recommending the ALP denounce the performance of the previous ALP government, I continue to doubt that strategy would bring the ALP electoral success.

    We have discussed previously a prediction of yours about decline in the duopoly of the ALP and the Coalition parties, and agreed to compare notes again when there are some election results to provide some empirical test.

  31. J-D
    August 28th, 2014 at 08:20 | #31

    @J-D

    Oh, and speaking of empirical tests:

    Was an evaluation of the shortcomings of the previous Labor government an important feature of Labor’s Federal election campaign in 2007, 1983, or 1972; or in New South Wales in 1999 or 1976; or in Victoria in 1999 or 1982; or in Queensland in 1998 or 1989; or in Western Australia in 2001 or 1983; or in South Australia in 2002 or 1982; or in Tasmania in 1998 or 1989?

    Conversely, was an evaluation of the shortcomings of the previous Coalition government an important feature of the Coalition parties’ Federal election campaign in 2013, 1996, or 1975; or in New South Wales in 2011 or 1988; or in Victoria in 2010 or 1992; or in Queensland in 2012 or 1995; or in Western Australia in 2008 or 1993; or in South Australia in 1993 or 1979; or in Tasmania in 2014 or 1992?

    I don’t have clear memories of all of those, but I have a feeling the general answer is No.

  32. kevin1
    August 28th, 2014 at 09:26 | #32

    I was surprised that Abbott yesterday gave operational details on a border protection matter viz. that 80 officers will be stationed at Australia’s international airports, to intercept persons on the national security watchlist (presumably Australian residents/citizens joining the ME wars.) It was also announced that Melbourne and Sydney have staff already. Bit strange that these people are stationed at airports when their job is not physical security but data-matching.

    Was release of this information endorsed by the relevant security agency? Why would the government (including Morrison on air this morning) telegraph their punches, enouraging an avoidance strategy eg. an exit via NZ? Or is the terror card being played for domestic political advantage, with the result that Abbott and Morrison are a liability to security objectives?

    To provide some national comparisons of attitudes toward suicide bombings directed at civilian targets, Andrew Leigh’s new book (p. 141) reports 2013 poll results from the respected PEW organisation: the “justified response” figure was 62% of Palestinians, 27% Malaysians, 6% of Indonesians, 3% of Pakistanis. What is notable, and would be surprising to many, is the huge attitude difference between those from the theocratic Islamic monarchy of Malaysia, a member of the British Commonwealth, and the secular, yet Islamic majority, republic of Indonesia.

    It may be in coming years that Australia’s view of Indonesia becomes more benign relative to Malaysia, whose repressive political establishment, limited press freedom, economic and budget policies criticised by the World Bank, and racialist institutional bias will limit its economic and social growth.

  33. Tim Macknay
    August 28th, 2014 at 16:59 | #33

    The RET Review has been released, with no surprises. The question is: will the Government go through with it?

  34. Ivor
    August 28th, 2014 at 19:43 | #34

    @J-D

    Unfortunately the feeling cannot in general be ‘no’ – in fact noone knows.

    The Coalition operates as a secret society compared to the ALP.

    There is no source how they really evaluated their performance.

    However key Liberals – Malcolm Fraser expressed his view by walking away in disgust.

  35. J-D
    August 28th, 2014 at 20:24 | #35

    @Ivor

    I’m not talking about what they did, or do, privately — I’m talking about how they campaign publicly. The suggestion I regard as unlikely is that Labor could gain electoral support by public denunciation of past Labor governments — or that the parallel technique would be electorally effective for any political party. As far as I can tell, Megan thinks that Labor’s public presentation is not gaining it electoral support and that a different public presentation would work better. How political parties present themselves publicly is not secret at all.

  36. Megan
    August 28th, 2014 at 21:30 | #36

    @J-D

    In Queensland on 24 March 2012 the ALP suffered, as far as I’m aware, their worst ever defeat at the polls.

    I’ve already said that they will probably get re-elected to government at some point even if they just play “we’re the same as them”.

    Yes, I suppose I do make a distinction between “gaining electoral support” and simply waiting for the other side to lose electoral support. I’m not interested in playing silly games, I want better governance and a better functioning democracy. We can’t have that with the current duopoly – there is no practical difference between them and our elections simply become unpopularity contests with the loser taking office and the runner-up becoming the opposition.

  37. Megan
    August 28th, 2014 at 21:32 | #37

    That should, of course, be:

    …our elections simply become unpopularity contests with the loser taking office and the winner becoming the opposition.

  38. Megan
    August 28th, 2014 at 21:36 | #38

    Which reminds me of a scene from the TV news back in the late 1980s at a point when the remnants of Joh days had “lost” an election and whoever the leader was (perhaps Russell Cooper?) staunchly declared: “Tonight the people of Queensland have elected us to become the Opposition and we will fulfill that role”.

  39. J-D
    August 29th, 2014 at 07:56 | #39

    @Megan

    I perceive a distinction between somebody saying ‘You should do X because you will get results you like better’ and somebody saying ‘You should do X because you will get results I like better’. Obviously it would please me if Labor adopted the policies I would prefer; it would please me if every party adopted the policies I would prefer. I don’t criticise you (or anybody) for feeling the same way. However, I don’t imagine that the policies I prefer are also policies that would help a political party to achieve success from its own point of view. I perceive an important distinction there. I think you may be missing it.

  40. ZM
    August 29th, 2014 at 16:59 | #40

    Tony Abbot’s ‘key moments in Australian history’ includes the founding of The Australian newspaper and the publication of The Lucky Country – has he read the latter ?

    ““Any attempt to nominate defining moments will inevitably be contentious,” Abbott said. “For instance, I hope that the defining moments of World War I might include the capture of Jerusalem and the achievements of General Monash as well as the landing at Gallipoli.

    “I hope that the defining moments of 1964, for instance, might include the launch of the Australian newspaper as well as the publication of The Lucky Country.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/29/tony-abbott-says-first-fleet-arrival-is-the-defining-moment-in-australian-history

  41. Ivor
    August 30th, 2014 at 08:27 | #41

    @J-D

    Why on earth would you expect Liberals to run an “evaluation of the shortcomings” in public?

    Are you saying you have no memory of Liberal campaigns or of Liberal evaluations?

    So what was the basis for your “general feeling” of no?

    You are not making much sense.

  42. J-D
    August 30th, 2014 at 09:15 | #42

    @Ivor

    I do not expect the Liberals to run an evaluation of their shortcomings in public; on the contrary, what I expect is the exact opposite.

    The question I am choosing to discuss is this (and if you aren’t interested in discussing the same question, of course you’re not obliged to): What strategies are likely to improve parties’ chances of winning elections?

    Megan seemed to me to be suggesting that Labor could improve its chances of winning elections (at least in Queensland) by a strategy of denouncing the performance of the previous Labor government. (If that’s not what Megan meant, I hope she will make an explicit statement to that effect, in which case I will accept the correction.)

    I think that a strategy of denouncing the performance of your own party when previously in government would not increase an opposition party’s chance of winning an election.

    I also think that no opposition party has ever used that strategy successfully. But I don’t remember every past election campaign, so there may be an example of an opposition party using that strategy successfully that has escaped my attention. If you know of an example, I hope you will let me know about it.

  43. Ivor
    August 30th, 2014 at 20:22 | #43

    J-D

    These issues are mainly dealt with in various internal party policy committees, and factional negotiations leading up to State and National conferences.

    The commentariat in the blogosphere is far removed.

    I would expect that the ALP will have a better future if it moved away from Bob Carr, Wayne Goss-Anna Bligh, Keating-Hawkes, “Accord”, free trade and privatisation strategy.

    Whitlam had a massive popular success in effect denouncing traditional Labor. Subsequently Australian labour has been sacrificed by Labor to enhance capitalism in its era of need.

  44. Megan
    August 30th, 2014 at 21:29 | #44

    JD introduced the term “denounce”. Strictly, that could be used to describe the prescription I gave for what the ALP could do – especially in the context of Qld., which is what I was talking about. “Denounce” can be defined:

    to publicly state that someone or something is bad or wrong : to criticize (someone or something) harshly and publicly

    Which seems to suit JD’s argument (i.e. that the ALP should do no such thing, and neither should any other party).

    I didn’t use that word and, for the point I was making, I prefer “acknowledge”:

    to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)

    and “apologise”:

    to express regret for doing or saying something wrong : to give or make an apology

  45. J-D
    August 31st, 2014 at 07:00 | #45

    @Megan

    You seemed to me (and still do seem) to be suggesting that Labor could improve its chances of winning elections (at least in Queensland) by a strategy of saying that the previous Labor government was a bad government. (If that’s not what you meant, I hope you will make an explicit statement to that effect, in which case I will accept the correction.)

    I think that a strategy of saying that your own party performed badly when previously in government not increase an opposition party’s chance of winning an election. I also think that no opposition party has ever used that strategy successfully. But I don’t remember every past election campaign, so there may be an example of an opposition party using that strategy successfully that has escaped my attention. If you know of an example, I hope you will let me know about it.

  46. Ivor
    August 31st, 2014 at 08:12 | #46

    Yes

    “Denounce” is not the appropriate word.

    This just shows how bloggers like J-D conduct themselves.

    I am sorry I associated this with Whitlam.

  47. J-D
    August 31st, 2014 at 10:11 | #47

    @Ivor

    Do you think that the ALP could improve its chances of winning elections in Queensland by a strategy of saying publicly that the previous ALP government was a bad government? I ask because I think not, and I’m curious to know whether you disagree.

    Do you know of any instances where an opposition party made successful use of the strategy of saying publicly that it had performed badly when previously in government? I ask because I can’t think of any, and I’m curious to know whether anybody else can.

  48. Ivor
    August 31st, 2014 at 18:25 | #48

    @J-D

    But no one but you thinks this is a sensible or relevant question?

    All parties change their policies as time moves on and conditions change and the changes are handled professionially.

    Not in a cartoon fashion you have not grown out of.

  49. Megan
    August 31st, 2014 at 19:54 | #49

    @J-D

    What “seems” to you is whatever it is, but you’re trying to attribute to me something I didn’t say (“a strategy of saying publicly that the previous ALP government was a bad government”).

    What I did say is just up there at #20 in black and white (specifically at points 1 & 2).

  50. J-D
    August 31st, 2014 at 19:59 | #50

    @Ivor

    Megan’s exact words (at the beginning of the first of her list of suggestions) were these: ‘Admit they ran rough-shod over the electorate’.

    I do not think any opposition party would improve its chances of winning an election by admitting they ran rough-shod over the electorate. I do not know of any instance in which an opposition party has made successful use of the strategy of admitting they ran rough-shod over the electorate. If you think that admitting to having run rough-shod over the electorate is a ‘cartoon-fashion’ way of changing policies, I repeat that those were Megan’s words, not mine.

  51. J-D
    August 31st, 2014 at 20:01 | #51

    @Megan

    So ‘admitting to having run rough-shod over the electorate’ does not count as saying the government was a bad government? You think it’s possible to say ‘we ran rough-shod over the electorate, but we weren’t a bad government’?

  52. Megan
    August 31st, 2014 at 20:14 | #52

    I think it’s possible to admit to having run rough-shod over the electorate, to apologise for that and promise not to do it again if elected in the future.

    I honestly think it is possible to do that.

    It is also possible to include the additional wording you suggest, if someone wanted to add those words. They’re your words, not mine.

  53. Ivor
    August 31st, 2014 at 22:48 | #53

    J-D

    I see no problem in the ALP admitting it ran rough-shod over its constituency.

    This may be necessary and useful to regain recruitment and to regain focus on the mass of working Australians.

    Your provocations notwithstanding.

  54. Megan
    September 1st, 2014 at 00:10 | #54

    @Ivor

    This brings me back precisely to where I began!

    The ALP in Qld, but also in NSW and to a lesser extent federally in 2013, got wiped out at their last elections. They were the government. They initially won government because the citizens were fed up with the LNP. They betrayed, abandoned, sold-out, ‘ran rough-shod’ over the citizens who had voted for them and the citizens who didn’t as well.

    They got wiped out in Qld in 2012 not because the LNP was a great alternative but because the ALP was so bad (I’ve listed some of the reasons above, eg asset sales/privatization).

    The wipe-out was not just the average ebb and flow of electoral discontent – it was a record-breaker. The ALP didn’t win enough seats to technically qualify as the “Opposition”.

    Now, they (and JD) seem to think that behaving as if none of that ever happened and playing the small target would be a better strategy than acknowledging the failings that got the last result, apologizing for them and promising not to do it again.

    In one sense I can understand that strategy. They do not acknowledge that they did anything wrong at all, they are certainly not remorseful and they have no intention whatsoever of doing anything better next time.

    They couldn’t care less about the mass of working Australians.

  55. Ivor
    September 1st, 2014 at 01:09 | #55

    Yes

    “Small target” electoral/media tactics are a problem.

    “Small target” ALP governments are even worse.

  56. J-D
    September 1st, 2014 at 07:01 | #56

    @Megan

    It is obviously possible to say ‘we ran roughshod over the electorate’. I think for any political party to do so would reduce its chances of winning elections in the future.

  57. J-D
    September 1st, 2014 at 07:03 | #57

    @Ivor

    If you think that saying ‘we ran roughshod over our constituency’ would help the ALP to gain recruitment, I would like to know what makes you think that.

  58. J-D
    September 1st, 2014 at 07:07 | #58

    @Megan

    Now you are attributing to me statements that I did not make. I said nothing about a ‘small target’ strategy.

    However, if you think that ‘acknowledging the failings that got the last result’ (I quote your exact words) would improve the ALP’s chances of winning future Queensland elections, I would like to know what makes you think that.

  59. Ivor
    September 1st, 2014 at 07:58 | #59

    @J-D

    Simple. Just drop the ‘we’ which you fabricated.

  60. J-D
    September 1st, 2014 at 19:18 | #60

    @Ivor

    If you think that the ALP saying that the ALP ran roughshod over its constituency would help the ALP to gain recruitment, I would like to know what makes you think that.

  61. kevin1
    September 1st, 2014 at 19:50 | #61

    So Scott Morrison, Minister for Immigration and Border Control, is briefing the national polity on 7.30 Report about the Iraqi gun-running venture as, Andrew Wilkie described it, to the people who are fighting Pres Assad in Syria.

    He is representing the government, but do we have a border with Iraq? Or is domestic political positioning happening, by those who want to replace the hapless Abbott?

  62. Ivor
    September 2nd, 2014 at 02:06 | #62

    J-D :
    @Ivor
    If you think that the ALP saying that the ALP ran roughshod over its constituency would help the ALP to gain recruitment, I would like to know what makes you think that.

    Keating
    Hawke
    Free trade
    Privatisations
    Building and Construction Commission
    Northern Territory Intervention
    Public service efficiency dividends and bargaining
    etc

  63. Ivor
    September 2nd, 2014 at 02:07 | #63

    J-D :
    @Ivor
    If you think that the ALP saying that the ALP ran roughshod over its constituency would help the ALP to gain recruitment, I would like to know what makes you think that.

    Keating
    Hawke
    Free trade
    Privatisations
    Building and Construction Commission
    Northern Territory Intervention
    Public service efficiency dividends and bargaining
    etc

  64. J-D
    September 2nd, 2014 at 07:16 | #64

    @Ivor

    That is an explanation (or at least a partial one) of what makes you think that the ALP ran roughshod over its constituency, but it does not explain what makes you think that the ALP saying that the ALP ran roughshod over its constituency would help the ALP gain recruitment.

  65. September 2nd, 2014 at 12:43 | #65

    I,am a little surprised that I could not find any comment about the Australian compulsory super, which is just a big fraud set up for the benefit of the 20% of the people as far as income and assets are concerned.

  66. September 2nd, 2014 at 19:48 | #66

    Ikonoclast :I might add, I once bought fruit (for making fruit salad) from one the major supermarkets. I examined each piece of fruit well. It all looked perfect on the outside. I took it with other groceries (overpriced of course) to my elderly parents’ house. They were frail, one had dementia and I knew they were not cooking or eating properly. I made lunch and went to top it off with a healthy fruit salad. EVERY piece of fruit was rotten inside except for a few of the grapes. I had to toss virtually the whole lot out. I was so angry I did not trust myself to go back to the supermarket and make a considered and effective complaint. I simply never shopped there (that chain) again. In fact, I rarely buy fresh fruit except apples.
    Most fresh fruit in Brisbane is garbage. Much of the veg is dubious too. My fresh fruit and veg purchases I now limit to a relatively few varieties of each where I know the quality is passable. I mean does anyone know a good fruit and veg on the Northside? Can’t say I have ever found one myself. Much of Brisbane’s meat leaves a lot to be desired too except for the odd butcher shop that is good. I have travelled and lived in NZ, Canada, UK and much of Europe. Nowhere was the food as bad in Brisbane’s except in Russia. Yes folks, you have to go as far as Russia to find food as bad as Brisbane’s. It’s a disgrace.

    I have worked in the food industry in Europe long ago, what is a problem in Australia that the food inspectors do not do their job.
    I can remember my boss in Europe to offer the food inspector a cup of coffee and some cake; the inspector warned never to make the offer again, otherwise he’ll report him for trying to bribe.
    I’ve lived to long in Australia to know if the Europeans still keep up the standard.
    One problem in Brisbane with fruit is, that anything but tropical fruit has a very short life-span, but that is no excuse for rotten fruit.

  67. Ivor
    September 2nd, 2014 at 20:40 | #67

    @J-D

    Just read earlier comments in good faith for once.

    QED.

  68. J-D
    September 2nd, 2014 at 23:20 | #68

    @Ivor

    I gather you don’t believe that I’m reading your comments in good faith.

    I find it hard to believe that you’re reading my comments in good faith.

    So how do you suggest the two of us can proceed from that point? or is it an impasse?

  69. Union Jack
    September 3rd, 2014 at 00:41 | #69

    Anyone who wants to know why the RDA Act should be set on fire should read about the Rotherham abuse scandal in England.

    It is now absolutely clear that for at least 16 years the left wing media, left wing local council and a compliant police force and welfare agency colluded to allow at least 1,400 mostly white boys and girls to be farmed out for rape and violence by a politically untouchable minority.

    The tiny handful of people who rung the alarm bell early on were invariably accused of racism and undoubtedly an activist Labour appointed judge would have adjudicated likewise.

    The Labour MP for Rotherham explaining in his own words why the children of Rotherham acceptable collateral damage in the Left’s culture of appeasement:

    There was a culture of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat, if I may put it like that. Perhaps, yes, as a true Guardian reader and liberal Leftie, I suppose I didn’t want to raise that too hard.

    Meanwhile, creepy Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson tells us that it is naughty and racist to call the Islamic State organisation terrorists no matter how many Yazidi heads they cut off; communities they massacre; or women they force into slavery.

    I was rusted on Labor for 40 years but I’ll never vote for the left of centre race traitors again. Since I can’t vote for the Libs either, I think I might put a toenail clipping in the ballot box.

  70. alfred venison
    September 3rd, 2014 at 01:12 | #70

    “race traitors”, eh?! christ! ok noted. -a.v.

  71. J-D
    September 3rd, 2014 at 08:42 | #71

    @Union Jack

    I have read about the Rotherham abuse scandal, but the accounts I have read do not tally with yours.

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