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Queensland election

January 6th, 2015

Watching TV last night, I was struck by the deluge of publicly funded government propaganda ads. Today, the reason was revealed as LNP Premier Campbell Newman called an election for 31 January, running several months short of a full term. Most insider comment seems to view this is a clever move, catching the Opposition off-guard and so on. My view would be that they are more likely to lose votes from people who expect a holiday from politics at this time of year.

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  1. John Chapman
    January 6th, 2015 at 17:21 | #1

    Yes John.

    I have almost been struck dumb by the barrage of taxpayer funded propaganda churning its way out of Treasury, then through the many streets of Brisbane.

    But, should I vote for Campbell in the light of these media revelations ? ( 🙂 )


  2. January 6th, 2015 at 17:28 | #2

    Thanks John. The age of entitlement is not over when it comes to politicians helping themselves to our money to fund their own self-promotion. I would like to see all opposition parties pledge to undertake an Auditor-General’s inquiry. I wish such an inquiry would have powers to go after personal assets, homes etc to retrieve proceeds of crime.

    Campbell Newman could not wait till the real Governor arrived back from holiday. He got his own appointee to sign the document to call the election. This is an ambush election and unregistered voters have a mere four days to get on the roll or be disenfranchised. Those won’t be LNP voters you can bet. So, our Premier doesn’t think he can win without adopting some slippery moves to gain advantage. We should show him how unimpressed we are.

  3. Megan
    January 6th, 2015 at 17:34 | #3

    I’ve noticed buckets of Qld government propaganda in the online ads I get. The main one was the one about hospital surgery waiting lists (“You’re not just a number anymore”, or something like that) with people standing around covered in numbers.

    An interesting strategy has been adopted by the unions. It was promoted under the guise of journalism a few days ago.

    They are urging voters to “Number every box and put the LNP last”. Which is an abstract way of saying “Vote ALP” without actually saying so.

    I like optional preference voting in Queensland because I get to vote without being forced to vote for ALP & LNP. Neither of them get my vote.

    Newman today in his press conference was warning against “wasting” our votes on non-duopoly parties. Hopefully they’re both terrified.

  4. Darryl Rosin
    January 6th, 2015 at 20:31 | #4

    Beattie did much the same in 2004 – Feb 7 polling day with writs issued Jan 13.


  5. January 6th, 2015 at 21:20 | #5

    Newman warned us not to waste our votes on non-duopoly parties? I don’t really think a state premier should be saying things like that. Rather he should be educating people rather than misleading them. Politics is confusing enough as it is without people holding office using their bully pulpit to say confusing things. If someone puts a vote for a minor party first then their vote will count as much as anyone’s as long as they put one of the duopoly parties as their second choice.

    If think there are a fair number of people who don’t understand that if one’s goal is to vote the current government out, then they are quite free to vote for a minor party as their first preference, but then, whatever one happens to think of them, the ALP has to be the second preference if one’s vote is to have the best chance of being the one that kicks out the incumbents.

  6. Megan
    January 6th, 2015 at 21:37 | #6

    @Ronald Brak

    If someone puts a vote for a minor party first then their vote will count as much as anyone’s as long as they put one of the duopoly parties as their second choice

    I disagree. My vote will not go to either of the ALP/LNP duopoly. But it will still count.

    If the recent trend continues then less seats will be held by the duopoly parties.

    In a uni-cameral parliament like ours, all we need is a few seats held by the non-duopoly to potentially hold the balance of power.

    Sadly, as is always the case, when it comes to truly bad legislation the duopoly will vote together to circumvent the non-duopoly parties.

  7. Megan
    January 6th, 2015 at 21:45 | #7

    To avoid eternal moderation, Antony Green’s Qld election site link (you’ll have to insert the prefix):


    The ALP, apparently determined to lose the election, are serving up a large bunch of stalwart has-been hacks (many of whom were part of the record-breaking losing team in 2012) in some key seats.

    Grace Grace in Brisbane? Cynical, but typical. No clue.

  8. Megan
    January 6th, 2015 at 22:01 | #8

    Out of 89 seats, the LNP currently hold 73.

    The ALP hold 9.

    Independents and KAP hold the remaining 7.

    To get below the dictatorial level the LNP must lose at least 29 seats (quite possible).

    Also, the ALP must win a total of no more than 44 seats (highly probable that they won’t).

  9. Ikonoclast
    January 6th, 2015 at 23:03 | #9

    OMG, JQ you watch TV? I am aghast. You watch channels that have ads on? I am doubleplus aghast. I can see a new TV show in the making: “When Intellectuals watch TV.” Intellectuals are sent to Bogans’ houses to explain how to them how the shows and ads they watch generate false consciousness. You know I am joking of course because I definitely do hold to the false cosnciousness theory.

    Hard to see the ALP winning. But what’s-his-name might get tipped out in Ashgrove. The real problem is capitalism. The near problem is the neoliberal duopoly. Vote against the duopoly but don’t vote for right-wingers or religious fundamentalists.

  10. Megan
    January 7th, 2015 at 00:11 | #10


    Here is a serious hypothetical question:

    Which do you think would be the worse of these two options:

    1. LNP loses, ALP wins and forms majority government (i.e. holds more than 45 seats and governs in its own right); or

    2. Neither of ALP nor LNP holds enough seats to govern in their own right and the balance of power seats are held by, for example, KAP or PUP and independents (i.e. one of the duopoly forms minority government relying on some or all of those seats)?

    At this stage I am of the view that the worst thing that can happen in this election is for one of the duopoly parties to win outright.

    Interested in your choice between 1 and 2, and others thoughts too.

  11. J-D
    January 7th, 2015 at 03:40 | #11


    Obviously if you only number one square and not for the ALP or LNP candidate then your vote can never count for either the ALP or the LNP, whereas if you number every square the probability is that your vote will end up counting for either the ALP or the LNP; however, it is technically possible to number every square and still not have your vote count for either. For example, Gladstone voters who have voted ‘1’ for Liz Cunningham and ‘2’ for the ALP have never had their votes count for the ALP, and voters who have voted ‘1’ for her and ‘2’ for the LNP have never had their vote count for the LNP.

    Therefore the union advice to number every square and put the LNP last is not strictly identical with advising a vote for the ALP — although undoubtedly that’s the probable effect in most cases, and almost certainly intentionally so.

    Even optional preferential voting is confusing enough for some people that they don’t grasp that choosing to indicate a second preference can never hurt the chances of the candidate the first preference is given to. (Yes, I realise that this is not an affirmative argument in favour of giving a second preference; it’s not intended to be. People should vote however they want to; but this is precisely what they are hindered from doing if they don’t understand how the voting system works.)

  12. ZM
    January 7th, 2015 at 07:50 | #12

    I think Queenslanders should work to get their Upper House restored – it is quite obviously a key part of the constitutional structure of Westminster parliaments, and from the example of Queensland it leaves the power of the Lower House far too unchecked.

    It is quite disorderly and ridiculous that the QLD Upper House has been abolished for this lengthy period – although not as ridiculous as Tony Abbott was at the G20 going into the old QLD Upper House and saying to world leaders “This room symbolizes the limitations on our power” – when the room no longer was in use :/

  13. John Quiggin
    January 7th, 2015 at 08:34 | #13

    Newman is stretching the Beattie precedent in a couple of ways. First, he has gone a week earlier, which matters at this time of year. Second, Beattie ran pretty much the full three year term (2001 election was Feb 17, 2004 was Feb 7) whereas Newman is going well ahead of time.

  14. John Quiggin
    January 7th, 2015 at 08:37 | #14


    My view is that a minority government is more likely than either of an LNP or ALP outright win (odds maybe 40-30-30), and also more desirable. My ideal would be an ALP government depending on either Wellington or Greens for its majority.

  15. BilB
    January 7th, 2015 at 08:45 | #15

    Paul Burns over at ClimatePlus reports that a comment at the Conversation claims that Newman was about to be trounced by Springboard, and this was the reason for the haste.

  16. Doug
    January 7th, 2015 at 10:03 | #16

    The search for a rationale for the sudden rush to the polls is well and truly on. Hence the speculation that a leadership coup was in the offing. Sounds a trifle implausible to me but something certainly happened virtually overnight to shift the planned date from late Feb. people will undoubtedly speculate and that won’t help the LNP.

  17. Ikonoclast
    January 7th, 2015 at 10:52 | #17


    I agree pretty much with JQ that the best of the realistic scenarios is a minority ALP government depending on Greens support. I would like to say depending on Greens and S*o*c*i*a*l-ist Alliance support but a few things stop me. I don’t know if there will be S*o*c*i*a*l-ist Alliance candidates and so far I can’t find that part of their manifesto which states how they intend to gain power, how they view bourgeois democracy and what they might replace it with. I know these questions are academic (as in hypothetical) right now and probably for a long time to come. But what people intend to do with and to power itself is the key litmus test for who they really are and what they stand for. Once people get their hands on power they seem to universally disappoint one’s hopes no matter what part of the political spectrum they come from.

    One could reasonably view western democracy, historically and contemporarily regarded, as not so much putting power in the hands of the people but putting it in the hands of proxies (representatives) for the people. In practice, especially under capitalism, this has removed power from hereditary monarchs and aristocrats (though far from entirely in the UK) and just bumped it down a bit to capitalists and oligarchs. The US constitution can be seen (unless you are blind and daft) to have been explicitly written to consolidate and protect power at the oligarchic level and prevent genuine democracy which US republicans (in the broad little “r” sense) see as and consistently call “mob rule”. We can see from this the contempt and fear they have for real democracy.

    It seems to me (though I have never studied this in detail), that Australia’s constitutional democracy is a bit better than the US model and did to some extent move some real power a bit further down towards the people. However, it has always remained essentially bourgeois democracy. The proof in the pudding is what is happening to our democracy under late stage capitalism. It has become “bought and suborned” as I term it. The oligarchs (mostly mining and finance oligarchs in Australia’s case) buy each of the duopoly parties via donations to both parties. The message is clear: “Play the “two parties – one ideology” game or “get your water cut off” i.e. funds cut off. This is why we get privatisation, lack of proper mineral taxes, lack of wealth taxes, lack of equity, lack of humane refugee policy etc. from both major parties. They simply do what the oligarchs tell them to do.

    All policy is initiated by the oligarachs with the exception of some cynical populist sops from the politicians to buy votes. The people can initiate no policy. They can sometimes slow or prevent policy for a time but the best they can ever do is play a holding game for while. Then late stage capitalism advances again and overcomes another bulwark of the people’s defences and rights. We can see this process and program virtually completed in the USA which sees the oligarchic elite in alliance with the secret state and in complete charge.

    I am not a Marxist-Leninist, however Lenin made an insightful analysis of the Australian Labor Party in 1913.

    “Labour Government in Australia – 1913

    The parliamentary elections took place in Australia recently. The Labour Party, which had the majority in the Lower House, having forty-four seats out of seventy-five, suffered defeat. Now it only has thirty-six seats out of seventy-five. The majority has passed to the Liberals, but this majority is very unstable, because in the Upper House, thirty out of the thirty-six seats are occupied by Labour.

    What a peculiar capitalist country is this in which Labour predominates in the Upper House and recently predominated in the Lower House and yet the capitalist system does not suffer any danger! An English correspondent of a German Labour newspaper recently explained this circumstance, which is very often misrepresented by bourgeois writers.

    The Australian Labour Party does not even claim to be a S*o*c*i*a*l-ist Party. As a matter of fact it is a liberal-bourgeois party, and the so-called Liberals in Australia are really Conservatives.

    This strange and incorrect use of terms in naming parties is not unique. In America, for example, the slave-owners of yesterday are called Democrats, and in France, the petty bourgeois anti-s*o*c*i*a*l-ists are called “Radical S*o*c*i*a*l-ists.” In order to understand the real significance of parties one must examine, not their labels, but their class character and the historical conditions of each separate country.

    Capitalism in Australia is still quite young. The country is only just beginning to take shape as an independent state. The workers, for the most part, are emigrants from England. They left England at the time when Liberal-Labour politics held almost unchallenged sway there and when the masses of the English workers were Liberals. Even up till now the majority of the skilled factory workers in England are Liberals and semi-Liberals. This is the result of the exceptionally favourable, monopolist position England occupied in the second half of the last century. Only now are the masses of the workers in England beginning (slowly) to turn toward s*o*c*i*a*l-ism.

    And while in England the so-called “Labour Party” represents an alliance between the s*o*c*i*a*l-ist trade unions and the extreme opportunist Independent Labour Party, in Australia, the Labour Party represents purely the non-socialist trade unionist workers.

    The leaders of the Australian Labour Party are trade union officials, an element which everywhere represents a most moderate and “capital serving” element, and in Australia it is altogether peaceful, and purely liberal.

    The ties between the separate states of Australia in united Australia, are still very weak. The Labour Party has to concern itself with developing and strengthening the country and with creating a central government.

    In Australia the Labour Party has done what in other countries was done by the Liberals, namely, introduced a uniform customs tariff for the whole country, a uniform Education Act, a uniform Land Tax and uniform Factory Acts.

    Naturally, when Australia is finally developed and consolidated as an independent capitalist state the conditions of the workers will change, as also will the liberal Labour Party which will make way for a S*o*c*i*a*l-ist Labour Party. Australia serves to illustrate the conditions under which exceptions to the rule are possible. The rule is: a s*o*c*i*a*l-ist Labour Party in a capitalist country. The exception is: a liberal Labour Party which arises only for a short time as a result of conditions that are abnormal for capitalism.

    Those liberals in Europe and in Russia who try to “preach” to the people that class war is unnecessary by pointing to the example of Australia, only deceive themselves and others. It is ridiculous to think of applying Australian conditions (an undeveloped, young country, populated by Liberal English workers) to countries in which a state and developed capitalism have long been established. – Lenin – June 1913.

    There is much food for thought there. There are some anachronistic ideas but there is an important core of truth. “… the liberal Labour Party which will make way for a s*o*c*i*a*l-ist Labour Party.” Of course, one must cavil with the certainty of prediction (it hasn’t happened yet) and with any possible initimation that reform will come from within the Labor Party. The Labor party is unreformable just as capitalism is unreformable. Democratic S*o*c*i*a*l-ism must come from the people or not at all. It won’t come from a bourgeois party and it won’t come from a bourgeois system. We can say “bourgeois” equals “capitalism-supporting”.

    More broadly now, the US will never allow “democracy in one country” let alone “s*o*c*i*a*l-ism in one country”, as least so far as its hegomony extends. To the extent that the US allows us to govern ourselves here in Australia that is the extent to which they see us as compliant and no danger to oligarchic capitalism.

    I could talk about how real democracy will never exist until worker cooperative democracy exists in all enterprises in the nation. The workers need to own and manage all enterprises. The specialist and managerialist boss class and the capitalist owner class need to be abolished (but the individuals treated well and absorbed into the worker democracy). But this will never happen under current conditions and it can’t be made to happen before its time. And its time might never come. Capitalism is undefeatable now. It is like a virus which has spread too far. It is killing the host and it is completely unstoppable and untreatable. The only thing that can happen is that capitalism will kill or radically alter its host. The host of course is the biosphere. Capitalism is in fundamental contradiction with the requirements for a livable biosphere.

    Capitalism will destroy itself when the final threshold carrying capacity for capitalism is exceeded. On the other hand, the carrying capacity required for life (any life) and even for some human life is much less than the carrying capacity required for capitalism. Thus human life could survive the collapse of capitalism. What is required is a manfiesto, a program, to be developed to illucidate how we must survive and organise after the self-induced collapse of capitalism. This program must include invioable precepts to prevent the recurrence of capitalism or anything like it. Detailing this program is not a task for a blog.

  18. January 7th, 2015 at 11:22 | #18

    Megan, if one’s goal is to vote out the incumbents then one needs to put the ALP as the first or second preference to have the highest odds of doing that.

    For example if Flo Blow votes 1. Super Cool Party 2. ALP 3. Moderately Cool Party, then if neither of the duopoly get a majority of votes it will go to second preferences and Flo’s second preference will then be counted for the ALP. It is possible for third and lower preferences to be counted, but that doesn’t happen very often.

    Note, as I made clear, this is if one’s goal is to vote out the incumbents. If one’s goal is different from that then this might not be the best strategy to take. And it’s also possible that what I think you mean by the term duopoly does not exist in your seat.

    I could be wrong about all this, as this stuff is confusing.

  19. John Quiggin
    January 7th, 2015 at 13:17 | #19

    @Ronald Brak

    You are wrong in the case of full preferential voting. In most cases, the LNP is more likely to be defeated if the ALP candidate is eliminated before a centrist candidate. The centrist gets all the ALP preferences, but many of their preferences would flow to the LNP.

    With optional preferential voting, the crucial question is whose preferences are likely to exhaust. If Labor goes for “Just vote 1”, as in some past elections, then eliminating the Labor candidate will help the LNP

  20. Ikonoclast
    January 7th, 2015 at 13:34 | #20

    This from the Electoral Commision Qld site. I am presuming this is a real not a bogus site.


    Optional Preferential Voting

    Optional Preferential Voting (OPV) has been used in Queensland State elections since 1992. OPV is a unique voting system giving voters a choice to vote for one candidate, more than one or, all candidates on the ballot paper. Voters can cast a valid vote by either:

    • expressing a single primary preference for one candidate only (marking only one square, leaving all the others blank)
    • expressing a partial distribution of preferences by voting for some, but not all candidates on the ballot paper (marking some but not all squares)
    • expressing a full distribution of preferences (marking each and every square in order of preference).

    back to top

    Counting the Votes

    Ballot papers are counted in each polling booth after the close of polling at 6.00pm on polling day and included in the election night count.

    After polling day the Returning Officer for each electoral district counts all types of votes including absent, postal and pre-poll votes. These are all added to the official count by the Returning Officer.

    The counting of the votes is done in stages;

    • Firstly ballot papers are sorted into formal and informal votes. Ballot papers without a clear first preference are set aside as informal votes and are not admitted to the count.
    • The first preferences for each candidate are then counted. A candidate is declared “elected” if they have an absolute majority of the formal first preference votes (an absolute majority is more than 50 per cent of the formal votes).

    If no candidate has an absolute majority the transfer of preferences is done by:

    • Eliminating the candidate with the least amount of first preference votes. That candidate’s second preference votes are then distributed amongst the remaining candidates. Ballot papers with no second preference are set aside as “exhausted”.

    This process is continued until a candidate has an absolute majority of the votes and that candidate is then declared “elected”.


  21. January 7th, 2015 at 14:00 | #21

    @John Quiggin
    Thanks for that. I made an effort to understand how voting works last time I had to vote, but clearly I botched it up. Obviously I need to make another effort.

  22. Ikonoclast
    January 7th, 2015 at 14:01 | #22

    Based on the above quote from the Electoral Commision Qld site let me run a hypothetical.

    My position;

    1. LNP is total anethema to me but then some others are too.
    2. ALP is little better to me.
    3. I might get some other candidates I “like” in my electorate.
    4. My bottom line, based on 1 above, is that my preferenced vote must NEVER get to the LNP.

    Let us assume I get these candidates placed on my card in the order that would allow me to donkey vote to a chosen stopping point to get the voting result I wanted for my vote;

    1. Democratic Worker Co-op S*o*c*i*a*l-ists
    2. Australian Greens
    3. ALP
    4. Libertarians
    5. God’s Awful Fundamentalists
    6. LNP

    I presume I could simply vote as follows and leave the rest of the card empty.

    1. Democratic Worker Co-op S*o*c*i*a*l-ists
    2. Australian Greens
    3. ALP

    But to vote simply as below would be dangerous as the LNP could well slip ahead of the one realistic option that would a little LESS worse.

    1. Democratic Worker Co-op S*o*c*i*a*l-ists
    2. Australian Greens

    I could also vote the following to make a (futile) point a priori assuming that no-one but LNP and ALP, in that order, have a chance in my electorate which is a very good assumption.

    1. Democratic Worker Co-op S*o*c*i*a*l-ists
    2. Australian Greens
    3. ALP
    4. Libertarians
    5. God’s Awful Fundamentalists

    But, since that is pointless on two counts (nobody but LNP and ALP stand a chance most likely anyway and Libertarians, God’s Awful Fundamentalists and LNP are all really anathema to me, then I should stick with;

    1. Democratic Worker Co-op S*o*c*i*a*l-ists
    2. Australian Greens
    3. ALP

    Any comments?

  23. Paul Norton
    January 7th, 2015 at 14:34 | #23

    Ikonoclast, in the light of David Leyonhjelm’s voting record and stated positions thus far, I think there are good grounds, on balance, for preferring the LDP libertarians to the LNP.

  24. Megan
    January 7th, 2015 at 14:37 | #24


    If I understand the process correctly, then your third preference (ALP) might not “kick in” at all because the LNP might get to the required >50% earlier.

    Therefore, you should vote 1 ALP (if, when push comes to shove that’s where you want vote going at any cost if it is to be most likely to count toward the defeat of the LNP in your electorate).

    In my electorate (most likely to be “safe” LNP) neither of the duopoly will get my vote.

  25. Megan
    January 7th, 2015 at 14:59 | #25

    The possibility of a hung parliament seems to have the duopoly terrified, good.

    Quote from Newman in BrisbaneTimes:

    “On a more serious note, I have to make the point that votes that go to minor parties and independents in this campaign are wasted votes and could lead to Labor getting across the line, and that is not a laughing matter,” Mr Newman said.

    “That is a serious matter. People shouldn’t be misled by this line by the Opposition about sending people a message and things like that.

    “It is very important that people go to the polling booth and think about the choice and vote for strength in this time of uncertainty.

    “That is what we are asking people to do and the minor parties, people like Mr Palmer, offer nothing except chaos. “We have seen the chaos in Canberra, we don’t want that in Queensland.”

    It will be an interesting unpopularity contest.

  26. Paul Norton
    January 7th, 2015 at 15:14 | #26

    Megan @24:

    If I understand the process correctly, then your third preference (ALP) might not “kick in” at all because the LNP might get to the required >50% earlier.

    Therefore, you should vote 1 ALP (if, when push comes to shove that’s where you want vote going at any cost if it is to be most likely to count toward the defeat of the LNP in your electorate).

    This isn’t quite right. If the LNP gets to the required >50% earlier, it is immaterial whether the other <50% of votes are for Labor or the Greens.

    If the LNP vote remains below 50%, and the Greens candidate is eliminated before the Labor candidate, a vote that goes 1 Green 2 Labor will be just as much a vote for Labor as one that goes 1 Labor.

    What is really important is that voters who vote 1 Green make sure they preference Labor ahead of the Coalition and other right-wing parties and candidates.

  27. Megan
    January 7th, 2015 at 15:28 | #27

    @Paul Norton

    My point was that, using Ikon’s voting card, if the neither LNP nor ALP get >50% on first preferences then second preferences kick in.

    Let’s say his DWCS party gets knocked out at that point. Ikon’s ballot then goes to the Greens. But some DWCS voters will number the boxes differently and it is possible that their votes nudge LNP over the line.

    LNP wins.

    If he is willing to vote ALP and wants the best chance of defeating LNP he should vote 1 ALP.

  28. Tony Lynch
    January 7th, 2015 at 16:13 | #28

    Perhaps what we really need is enough people to do as did 83% of the voters in Jose Saramgo’s novel, “Seeing”.

  29. Tony Lynch
    January 7th, 2015 at 16:14 | #29


  30. J-D
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:43 | #30


    New Zealand has a unicameral parliament. The legislative bodies of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of the Canadian provinces, are all unicameral. How do they function worse than they would if they were bicameral? Perhaps not qualifying as ‘Westminster system’ (depending on how you define that), Denmark, Finland, Greece, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden have all adopted unicameralism. How do they function worse for it?

  31. J-D
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:51 | #31

    If your highest priority is to stop candidate X from getting elected, then you should number (sequentially) all other candidates.

    Your vote will be equally effective (or equally ineffective) in stopping candidate X no matter what order you number the other candidates, so long as you number all of them (sequentially).

  32. ZM
    January 7th, 2015 at 18:53 | #32

    Scotland , Wales, and Northern Ireland have Westminster over them with two houses. Possibly they should try to get two houses themselves, I am not sure.

    Likely New Zealand has problems caused by a missing Upper House. The parliaments of non-Anglo cultures might not need the strict oversight of a stern and conscientious Upper House – but I’m not sure because I have never read a study on this matter.

    Queensland gets all sorts of political corruption and strongman political tactics more than Victoria which I blame on the lack of parliamentary discipline caused by this overly lengthy abolishment of the Upper House. You might be statist and blame the people of Queensland themselves – but if they restore the Upper House then we can see if it happens to be the fault of the people or the fault of the missing Upper House that is meant to act to as well symbolize the limitations of parliamentarians’ powers as our Prime Minister has told all of us, should the House be used again.

  33. BilB
    January 7th, 2015 at 19:38 | #33

    I have a newer thought on the urgency for this election. Campbell and Tony appear to support each others positions. I suspect that Abbott is planning an early election this year and has asked Newman to sort out Queensland so that there is a clear run for a Federal election.

  34. ZM
    January 7th, 2015 at 19:42 | #34

    Are you thinking a double dissolution to get the second budget/other through the parliament?

  35. Sylvia
    January 7th, 2015 at 23:03 | #35

    Ye gods, is anyone seriously thinking that a bicameral Northern Ireland legislative assembly is more possible than an united Ireland?

  36. BilB
    January 7th, 2015 at 23:16 | #36

    Yes, ZM. I think Abbott is insane enough to do just that. So Federal election in August or September.

  37. January 8th, 2015 at 02:02 | #37

    Thanks for that, Ikonoclast. I think I see where I went wrong.

    That doesn’t mean I’m not still confused, it just means I can see why I’m confused.

  38. James Wimberley
    January 8th, 2015 at 05:15 | #38

    The OPV explanation includes the option:
    “expressing a partial distribution of preferences by voting for some, but not all candidates on the ballot paper (marking some but not all squares)”
    But later on:
    “Ballot papers without a clear first preference are set aside as informal votes and are not admitted to the count. ”
    So non-ordered votes are the equivalent of “votes blancs”? The commission should be clearer on this.

  39. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 05:59 | #39


    Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have Westminster ‘over’ them, and the Canadian provinces have Ottawa ‘over’ them, but then so does Queensland have Canberra ‘over’ it.

    Otherwise you’re just guessing. You haven’t got the evidence to justify your insistence that unicameralism causes problems; the fact that Queensland has problems is not enough to establish that. There are problems everywhere. Corruption exists in lots of places, and so do strongman political tactics, both in places with unicameral systems and in places with bicameral systems. You can’t even say that Queensland is the only Australian State that has had problems with corruption and strongman political tactics, not if you’ve paid any attention to the history of (bicameral) New South Wales.

  40. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 06:03 | #40

    @James Wimberley

    The explanation seems clear to me. If your vote has a valid first preference (just one), it will be counted in favour of that candidate, regardless of how the other squares have been numbered (or not), but if your vote does not have a (single) valid first preference it won’t be counted in favour of any candidate (after all, how could it be?). What sort of ‘non-ordered’ vote are you asking about?

  41. Ikonoclast
    January 8th, 2015 at 06:51 | #41

    @James Wimberley

    I agree they should be clearer. I read it as;
    Your ballot paper should have at least a clear “1” in a box to be prima facie valid.

    I wonder if that means one tick in a box would accepted as if it were a “1” in a box. I doubt they would accept that.

    I wonder how they would treat a ballot with a clear “1” no “2” and then “3”,”4″,”5″. Would they secondarily declare it invalid? Would they assign a first preference but distribute no preferences thereafter? Would they accept the “3” as a “2” and so on? I doubt the last.

  42. ZM
    January 8th, 2015 at 07:26 | #42


    “You can’t even say that Queensland is the only Australian State that has had problems with corruption and strongman political tactics, not if you’ve paid any attention to the history of (bicameral) New South Wales.”

    I think perhaps New South Wales’ problems spring from the state’s neighborly proximity to Queensland – as the parliamentarians there look enviously to the Quuenskand parliamentarians without limitations on their power and try to do the same. A unicameral parliament in our federation is surely a bad influence indeed. . I will also blame the overly bossy ways of the Rudd government on Rudd’s having worked in Queensland and got use to not having the oversight of a proper Upper House.

    Maybe Clive Palmer could take up a campaign to restore the rigors of a functioning instead of empty and unused Upper House to Queensland


    You might be right. The national security and overseas issues probably mean Abbott would think he can run on that, and Scott Morrison being moved from the immigration portfolio, etc. interesting possibility – if they lose it would mean Labor would be the one’s negotiating in Paris so a double dissolution mid year might be good …

    I have noticed this past year a lot of rumblings about senate obstructionism or outrage at common folk like Ricky Muir getting in to the Senate. The reserve bank chairman Stevens spoke about it recently and business leaders too here:

    I went to a talk in Gisborne on the senate reform proposals that had a panel made up of a labor woman, a liberal woman, and three locals one of whom was Don Watson. It was very disappointing that the Labor woman made disparaging remarks about how could someone like Ricky Muir get into the senate – then the audience )which was mostly older people since it was a University of the Third Age event ) showed some displeasure and then she said something along the lines of – even if Ricky Muir was Albert Einstein his election to the Senate would not be good – this was not a very polite statement either especially from a Labor person.

  43. J-D
    January 8th, 2015 at 08:23 | #43


    The problem of corruption in New South Wales dates back to before Queensland’s Legislative Council was abolished. For that matter, Victoria had similar problems at times before Queensland’s Legislative Council was abolished. So your speculative explanation does not survive contact with evidence.

  44. BilB
    January 8th, 2015 at 08:36 | #44

    Wow, Ikonoclast, it is a bit rich (pun) for the biggest businesses demanding reform to prevent distortions of government. Presumably Murdoch would be one of those and many of the companies that mounted a media campaign to protect their treasuries from the resources tax.

    Yes, there is a game afoot, I suspect. Judith Sloan at Catallaxy came out defending Abbott for his disinterest in the SA fires, claiming a media failing for their criticism of him. My comments on the freedom of speech Libertarian site are auto censored at the Cat, but this is (off topic) what I wrote, as I lay the blame for the ever increasing property loss in bushfires at the feet of the LNP party….

    “I’ll put this thought to you, Judith, whereas I agree that Tony Abbott racing around charred paddocks for photo op hugs is a repulsive notion, equally particularly as Abbott does not have real empathy for people and his attempts to seem as though he does always display the hollowness of the gesture, as for the reality that a Prime Minister’s primary role should be to affairs of State, Abbott should be mindful of his culpability for the loss of property and environmental damage from these extreme bushfires.

    As the current leader of the Liberal National Party he must take responsibility for the total failure of the Australian Government to mount effective extreme fire barriers near fire vulnerable communities around Australia. Over 10 years ago I raised the issue of the growing vulnerability to extreme fires, enhanced by Global Warming, with my local member Kerry Bartlett, the then chief government whip, presenting him with the measures that communities should take to defend their boundaries from the high velocity ground level super heated gass blasts that are becoming a feature of today’s very dangerous and deadly bush fires.

    These measures involve the planting of a range of dense fire resistant trees and shrubs on the perimeters of our communities. This need was observed in the 2014 Springwood fire which caused the loss of 200 homes and the near loss of another 200. There were a number of houses that would certainly have burned had it not been for their hedges of low combustible plants such as camellias. Ironically this is the electorate of the, thankfully long gone Kerry Bartlett, who completely failed his community in his complete disregard for the information. Finally over a decade later the CSIRO mounted a rush study of the fire damage with particular focus on the houses that survived, and why.

    So, Judith, I agree with you. It is better that a climate skeptic Prime Minister and leader of the LNP who failed to appreciate the ever increasing danger to communities of climate enhanced fire storms and to research protection methods, should stay away from the scorched earth and not seek to make political capital from his abject failure as a community leader.”

    and in support of that


    So the fact that the ultra right troops are rallying around their highly compromised idol (Abbott) at the time when he is attempting to appear statesmanlike adds a little bit of evidence of a precampaign campaign for re-election. I feel sure that Abbott is perfectly capable of seeing Campbell Newman as a sacrificial offering to appease an negative public.

  45. BilB
    January 8th, 2015 at 08:38 | #45

    Sorry, that comment was to ZM’s input.

  46. ZM
    January 8th, 2015 at 08:44 | #46


    You have grossly misrepresented my position. I certainly never said that all the corruption in the world since time immemorial is the fault of the missing Upper House of the State of Queensland, and that the abolishment of the above was the original fall of mankind. How can you attribute such an idea to me?!?

  47. Socrates
    January 9th, 2015 at 07:17 | #47

    Curious, among all those ads, not a single one reminding young people to enrol to vote by 5pm this Saturday. Campbell probably didn’t want to interrupt their holidays.

  48. BilB
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:05 | #48

    It looks like the Qld LNP is about to become the HCP (Headless Chook Party) with their deputy leader quiting at the election.

  49. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 09:43 | #49


    If you’re thinking of Tim Mulherin, he’s the ALP deputy.

  50. BilB
    January 9th, 2015 at 10:06 | #50

    Oops I stand corrected. We should be so lucky that Seeney stands down or is voted out.

  51. Doug
    January 9th, 2015 at 10:45 | #51

    Be careful what tee shirt you wear if you are anywhere near an LNP candidate out electioneering – you could get arrested

  52. BilB
    January 9th, 2015 at 11:21 | #52

    Is there a story to that, Doug?

  53. zoot
    January 9th, 2015 at 12:02 | #53
  54. Socrates
    January 9th, 2015 at 12:42 | #54

    Every Queenslander should be issued with a T-shirt for when Campbell Newman’s campaign team comes calling:
    “Je suis avec Stupide”
    “We are all with Stupide”

  55. Ikonoclast
    January 9th, 2015 at 13:14 | #55

    I counted six police in the photo to arrest this one innocuous man. It is certainly part of free speech to say in political debate that “I find this person’s position to be stupid” or “This person is stupid (I deduce from the the stupid things he/she advocates).

    If no reasons are given for the charge of political stupidity this does not alter the case. It’s not a crime (or should not be a crime) to say that someone else’s political position is “stupid”. It’s simply an assertion without proof at that stage. It’s not slander as a certain degree of robustness, rhetorical expression and satire in political debate is permitted and even generally expected.

    What next? The VLAD laws get used on the May Day parade?

  56. jungney
    January 9th, 2015 at 14:48 | #56

    As a lifelong resident of NSW I can’t tell you all how much I enjoy a Qld election. It always breaks new ground in some way or another. I can’t wait to find out what this character was charged with. It’d have to be relatively serious to warrant arrest.

  57. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 15:02 | #57


    I’m pretty sure the charge is “public nuisance”.

    That’s how it’s been reported and the guy, @Can_Do_Campbell, has linked to the reporting without saying anything different.

  58. Ikonoclast
    January 9th, 2015 at 15:08 | #58

    As a lifelong resident of QLD (except for a few 6 month stints O/S and a few 3 month stints in other states), I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to be a Queenslander. We are the butt of every other state’s jokes and the annoying thing is that it is all deserved.

    From Brisbane Times online – “Queensland Election: ‘I’m with stupid’ t-shirt man’s lawyer says arrest unjustified”

    “Mr Shields said from public statements reported in the media there did not seem to be any suggestion Mr Fogerty had done anything to “establish to the requisite standard of proof” that he committed a public nuisance offence.”

    Meanwhile, in the USA, “Arnold Abbot, 90, arrested for feeding homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.”

    So, under late-stage capitalism and neoliberalism expressing a different point of view and feeding the poor are starting to become illegal or at least a prima facie case for arrest. I don’t normally mount “slippery slope” arguments but it seems we are well onto the slippery slope here.

  59. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 15:34 | #59

    That great champion of our rights, Peter Beattie, introduced the rather draconian “public nuisance” offence as it now stands.

    Summary Offences Act 2005, section 6(2) [emphasis added]:

    (2) A person commits a public nuisance offence if—
    (a) the person behaves in—
    (i) a disorderly way
    ; or
    (ii) an offensive way; or
    (iii) a threatening way; or
    (iv) a violent way; and

    (b) the person’s behaviour interferes, or is likely to interfere, with the peaceful passage through, or enjoyment of, a public place by a member of the public.

    “Disorderly” isn’t defined in the Act, so the police can pretty much charge anyone they like. The Court might not find them guilty but by then nobody really cares anymore. I note that his court appearance isn’t until after the election. Neat.

  60. J-D
    January 9th, 2015 at 17:41 | #60


    As far as I am able to tell, your argument is that bad things (like corruption) have happened in Queensland, that Queensland has a unicameral parliament, and so the unicameralism must explain the bad things.

    My point is that an attribution to unicameralism is not an adequate explanation of the corruption or other bad things you’re talking about, because the same sorts of things happen where there are bicameral parliaments.

    The only valid way to support a conclusion about the differential effects of bicameralism and unicameralism would be the systematic collation and comparison of evidence that you have not done. (No, I haven’t done it either, but then I’m not making the mistake of pretending to be able to draw a valid conclusion about the differential effects of bicameralism and unicameralism.)

  61. ZM
    January 9th, 2015 at 17:47 | #61


    And I was just mulling over making a comment about how Queensland wouldn’t arrest people for “I’m with stupid t-shirts” if they got their missing upper house restored to do the job our Orime Minister told all the world leaders it symbolizes and would do again if only it was restored to proper use.

    Look at Ikonoclast’s comment above –

    “As a lifelong resident of QLD (except for a few 6 month stints O/S and a few 3 month stints in other states), I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is to be a Queenslander. We are the butt of every other state’s jokes and the annoying thing is that it is all deserved”

    I tell you Queensland seems to be very blessed with a wonderful natural environment, s lovely warm climate if you don’t mind humidity, abundant rain, fruitful land, personable people – what it lacks is an Upper House.

  62. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 18:25 | #62

    PUP has made an election commitment to re-introduce an upper house.

  63. BilB
    January 9th, 2015 at 18:29 | #63

    Thanks, Zoot @3. That is really unbelievable. What is the next level, choke holds and tazing for wearing doubtfull clothing?

  64. January 9th, 2015 at 18:46 | #64

    Funny thing is that I get the QLD government ads when I play games on Facebook. And I live in WA. That means that the QLD government is wasting money by not targeting only QLD internet users.

  65. ZM
    January 9th, 2015 at 18:51 | #65


    That is good new indeed – I’m very to hear there is the start of an Upper House restoration campaign in Queensland

  66. Megan
    January 9th, 2015 at 19:10 | #66


    There have been campaigns before for a referendum to re-introduce the upper house. People have been agitating over the last few years quite persistently.

    The most recent petition I am aware of was introduced into the parliament early in 2014 by the independent Peter Wellington. The LNP (unicameral rulers of the state) dismissed it out of hand.

    Both duopoly parties are against it. Without any further information that should suggest it is probably a good idea to bring it back!

  67. Hal9000
    January 10th, 2015 at 10:19 | #67

    The Queensland Legislative Council abolished in 1923 had no connection with democracy. All its members were appointed by the Governor for a lifetime term. Ironically, this feature allowed the chamber’s abolition, when a Labor government appointed enough members to vote for abolition – the so-called ‘suicide squad’.

    Other states had property franchises – in South Australia until the 1970s – ensuring that only ‘sound’ people were elected. The notion of an upper chamber elected on proportional representation lines is an innovation. It should also be remembered that Newman would have won a majority in an upper house elected on a single electorate basis at the last election, so there would have been no effective checks and balances at all.

  68. Megan
    January 10th, 2015 at 12:13 | #68


    I’m not advocating an upper house as a silver bullet fix all.

    My perspective is that in queensland at present we have a crisis for democracy.

    We are ruled absolutely by one of two virtually indistinguishable halves of an ALP/LNP duopoly in a unicameral parliament and with a mono-media fourth estate (the ABC being the broadcast arm of News Ltd.).

    If we had more media diversity/less concentration, that would be a good thing to my mind.

    If we had four or five ideologically differentiated political parties more reflective of the actual spectrum, that would also be good – even in a unicameral parliament, because it should introduce the sort of balancing, negotiation and compromise I think a functioning democracy needs. As it is we have only seven minor party (KAP) and assorted Independents and they have no actual power whatsoever.

    I think there is merit in having an upper house (see Victorian elections) if it can deliver that diversity and balancing effect. Federally, I’m happy that the House of Reps was ‘hung’ in the last term and that the Senate remains so.

    According to Antony Green’s election calculator an 11.5% swing against the LNP will deliver us a hung parliament in Queensland. I’d consider that result to be a better outcome for our democracy and good governance than an outright majority for either of the duopoly.

  69. ZM
    January 10th, 2015 at 14:06 | #69

    “n. It should also be remembered that Newman would have won a majority in an upper house elected on a single electorate basis at the last election, so there would have been no effective checks and balances at all.”

    When Queenslanders get their Upper House restored they could have regional electorates like in the Victorian Upper House – so you always get a somewhat different result from the Lower House. We have 8 regions with 5 councillors each – at the moment 1/4 of the councillors (10) are crossbencheds from various little parties.

    This past election you didn’t have to number all the upper house boxes if you voted below the line just 1-5 and further was optional. I thought this was unusual but I can’t recall for sure and it might have been the normal practice.

  70. Jonno
    January 10th, 2015 at 15:27 | #70

    THe last thing Queenslanders need is a Upper House – more politicians with their snouts in the trough.
    What the analysts have yet to figure in their calculations is the flow of preferences from minor parties.
    I reckon that Palmer will ensure that the LNP are placed last in all the seats that the PUP will contest.
    I wouldn’t surprised if the Greens and PUP work out some sort of deal as they did both in the recent Vic election as well as the last federal electiion. After all without Greens and ALP’s prefences Palmer would not be in federal parliament.
    It could well be the surprise of the election if Sir Joh’s son wins on the back of preferences.
    My gut feeling is that many people are angry at how this State Election has gone about its work in such an aggressive style. However, I sense that, as the ALP is so far behind at present, that the LNP Goverment will live on despite a 8% or so swing against it.

  71. jungney
    January 10th, 2015 at 16:00 | #71

    Well, I’ll be. As an aside I knew the (now deceased) last man to be charged as an “humbug” in NSW. An old comm by name of George. He’d approve of being a public nuisance.

  72. J-D
    January 10th, 2015 at 18:59 | #72


    If the object is to have more parties with parliamentary/legislature representation then a comparison of bicameral parliaments/legislatures around the world with unicameral ones shows that bicameralism by itself is not much use in achieving that object. There are bicameral systems with few parties represented and unicameral systems with lots of them.

    If the object is to have more ideologically differentiated parties represented in parliaments/legislatures, then it’s harder to evaluate. For example, at the last Greek election seven parties had candidates elected, at the last Portuguese election five, and at the last Finnish election eight–the numbers are easy to tabulate–but I’m not sure how we can compare the extent of ideological differentiation from case to case. One kind of data that can be tabulated easily is the record of parties participating in government coalitions together. Seven of the eight Finnish parties would not be ideologically differentiated if the test we used was to say that two parties which have been in a government coalition together are not ideologically differentiated, but I’m not sure that’s a good test. (If we did use that test in Australia, Labor and the Liberals would be ideologically differentiated because they’ve never been in a government coalition together.)

    Leaving aside the question of ideological differentiation, if the object is simply to increase the number of parties with parliamentary representation, the best bet (although not as close to a certainty as some people think) is not bicameralism but change to the electoral system.

  73. Hal9000
    January 10th, 2015 at 19:08 | #73

    Yes I take your point, Megan. I suppose what I’m saying is that upper houses are not an unalloyed good. For most of Australian history they have acted primarily to protect the interests of the owners of property and capital against social democratic reforms.

    I also wanted to make the point that Queensland had good reason to get rid of its. The real issue is that our democratic institutions are a poor reflection of the electorate’s will. They are also becoming less reflective with each passing year. If the LNP gets back in Queensland it will be because of the resources mobilised by property developers and miners specifically against the objective interests of the Queensland public. The media of course will present the electorate with no analytical tools to make any kind of informed decision. Example: the LNP’s claims of success in health administration are entirely bogus, but are accepted as given truth by those communicating the political debate to the public.

  74. Hal9000
    January 10th, 2015 at 19:11 | #74

    Yes I’m in favour of MMP systems myself. Good luck getting the public to understand it enough to want it, though. Such reforms usually take place for base tactical partisan reasons – e.g. compulsory voting, preferential voting, partial MMP in New Zealand.

  75. Ikonoclast
    January 10th, 2015 at 19:14 | #75


    Bicameralism could help if it was done properly. At least one house needs to be selected by proportional representation, probably the lower house. This would mean if Greens got 7% of the state vote they got 7% of the seats. This is good except that it still validates the party politics of bourgeois democracy. I don’t have a solution to this without getting too radical.

    The upper house needs to selected on a different principle. Sortition democracy might well be a good idea for the upper house making it a kind of citizens’ house of review.

  76. ZM
    January 10th, 2015 at 19:44 | #76

    The Upper Houses are meant to be houses of review – that is why they are the upper houses. I think induction training needs to be quite a good deal better at stressing this than it is presently.

    I am not sure about sortition. I think it would be better if people are not allowed to nominate themselves for elections but the community has meetings to decide who are the best candidates and nominates them – with exceptions like as in jury duty exceptions – and then we vote for the candidates nominated in the community meetings. I think this would work a lot better than letting parties nominate people. People could still make it known that they had a great desire to be nominated by the community.

  77. Hal9000
    January 10th, 2015 at 20:48 | #77

    I suspect the ancient Athenian method of selecting public officials would be the best – a lottery. Works for juries. Any other way will be dominated by existing party structures, sadly. We’ll end up with a rubber stamp or a roadblock, a la USA.

  78. J-D
    January 11th, 2015 at 09:44 | #78


    As a matter of historical fact, upper houses (both in Australia and elsewhere, with perhaps a few exceptions) were not created in order to serve as houses of review. That’s an after-the-fact rationalisation for the maintenance of structures most of which were originally created to protect the interests of the wealthy and the powerful (not that they all still serve this function, after the changes they’ve been through — mostly they don’t, which is largely why a new justification was invented for them). If anything, it would be closer to the truth to say that lower houses were created to serve as houses of review.

  79. ZM
    January 11th, 2015 at 10:23 | #79


    What palpable nonsense. Anybody with the scantiest interest can ascertain that Upoer Houses in Westminster parliaments – such as the House of Lords – are houses of review. That is why they are upper houses in the first place for goodness’ sake.

    Lower houses can hardly be houses of review – since they are the ones that develop the bills in the first place – and if a bill gets the support of the majority of the lower house then it proceeds to review in the upper house.

    I don’t know where you get your upside down ideas from?

  80. J-D
    January 11th, 2015 at 15:10 | #80


    It may be more common in modern bicameral parliaments and legislatures for legislative proposals to be introduced in lower houses before being introduced in upper houses — I know that’s true in some instances but I’m not sure it’s true in all — but it’s definitely also possible for them to be introduced in upper houses before they are introduced in lower houses. In any case, although the formal initiation of a piece of legislation may take place in parliament, the substantive origin, in most cases, is not parliament at all but the executive government. At least, that’s the case in parliamentary systems — in presidential systems private members of the legislature may have a larger role (than in parliamentary systems) in developing legislative proposals, although the executive government has a large role still.

    And this is not a recent development: it was not an originally designed purpose of the House of Lords to initiate legislative proposals, but it was also not an originally designed purpose of the House of Commons to do so; legislative proposals came from the King.

  81. ZM
    January 11th, 2015 at 17:30 | #81

    “legislative proposals came from the King”

    This is not right at all – if you think about it one lone king could hardly hope to originate all laws by himself even when England was made of the six or seven kingdoms.

    We won’t go back before that because I think this is far enough since we are concerned with kings and law making.

    In those days they had witans – councils of wise men. These were usually landholders who had peasants under them. Some accounts say betwixt Roman rule and before 700-800 men were free like yeomen farmers but then Chiefs and lords got bigger estates and then some freemen fell into bondage. I am not sure how good the evidence for this is though – or if it just be supposition.

    So landholders formed their own courts of law – but freemen didn’t like them having so much authority do the King was appealed to for some central control and regulation and coordination over these courts – just as we have our Federal parliament over the States, or the States over the Shires and Cities.

    By the time of Alfred the Great – who unified the kingdoms of England – there were two courts already – the higher Hundred Court and lower Shire Court.

    As you can see – even back so many centuries ago the King did not make all the laws unilaterally himself – because it is too much for one person.

  82. Steven
    January 11th, 2015 at 18:45 | #82

    I thought the public nuisance related to offender pushing other people around or that was the reporting at the time!

  83. J-D
    January 11th, 2015 at 19:37 | #83


    I said that the legislative proposals that were laid before both the House of Lords and the House of Commons came from the King. I didn’t say that he thought all of them up entirely by himself. But they were put to the Houses of Parliament by the King, not put to the King by the Houses of Parliament. Nowadays legislative proposals in the UK are not brought to the Houses of Parliament by the Queen, but by ministers who are still nominally the Queen’s ministers. They also don’t think all of them up entirely by themselves; they have various sources of suggestions and advice. The actual text is prepared by specialists in the drafting of legislation, and those specialists are part of the executive government and get their instructions from ministers, not from Parliament.

  84. ZM
    January 11th, 2015 at 19:55 | #84

    I don’t think you’re right J-D and you have not mentioned the period when you say the King brought laws to parliament to consider and the parliamentarians never thought up laws at all.

    In Anglo Saxontimes there was also the advising Witenamagote council I think these were wise men too – and there were Folkmots at one time for I guess common folk.

    Some while after Alfred – Edward (the confessor I think it was) started allowing people to send him petitions and they could be considered for laws – this was the start of the bill of grace/petition of right procedure that I have mentioned before.

    But you will have to say what period you are thinking of when you think the legislation proposals come from the King by himself or maybe with the assistance of his personal assistants. Because i guess you must be thinking of a period between Anglo Saxon times and Edward – but when?

  85. patrickb
    January 12th, 2015 at 00:12 | #85

    J-D is largely on the money. The sovereign was the source of all laws, perhaps not bodily so but nonetheless they held complete power until magna carta. From then on they were still the font of all laws but they had to get the magnates and later parliament to acquiesce. Most of the time the monarch got their way, until Charles the first anyway. This is all after 1066, before which there wasn’t a common law to speak of.

  86. J-D
    January 12th, 2015 at 06:25 | #86


    The oldest English laws of which there is any surviving written record are probably those found in a code attributed to Æthelberht of Kent, who reigned in the late sixth and early seventh centuries. The surviving manuscript was written over five hundred years later, but there is an earlier surviving reference (still over a hundred years after Æthelberht) in the works of the historian Bede, who wrote: ‘Among the other benefits which he thoughtfully conferred on his people, he also established enacted judgments for them, following the examples of the Romans, with the council of his wise men.’ Bede’s account doesn’t explicitly state who initiated any proposals for (as he calls them) ‘enacted judgments’, but the statement that the king acted with the council of his wise men creates the appearance that as between the king and this council it was the king who played the primary role and the council an auxiliary one.

    In modern times we are accustomed to think of Parliament as an institution established with a continuing existence: the Parliament of Australia, or the Parliament of the United Kingdom. But originally that was not the case: a king would summon a parliament when he wanted one, and when he’d finished with it he would dismiss it — at which point it ceased to exist, and there was no parliament until the king summoned another one. I don’t think there could be a clearer indication that in those times the initiative, as between King and Parliament, lay with the King.

    As another illustration, here’s the introductory text of the oldest English legislation of which any part is still considered to be in force, the Statute of Marlborough of 1267:

    ‘In the Year of Grace, One thousand two hundred sixty–seven, the two–and–fiftieth Year of the Reign of King Henry, Son of King John, in the Utas of Saint Martin, the said King our Lord providing for the better Estate of his Realm of England, and for the more speedy Ministration of Justice, as belongeth to the Office of a King, the more discreet Men of the Realm being called together, as well of the higher as of the lower Estate: It was Provided, agreed, and ordained, that whereas the Realm of England of late had been disquieted with manifold Troubles and Dissensions; for Reformation whereof Statutes and Laws be right necessary, whereby the Peace and Tranquillity of the People must be observed; wherein the King, intending to devise convenient Remedy, hath made these Acts, Ordinances, and Statutes underwritten, which he willeth to be observed for ever firmly and inviolably of all his Subjects, as well high as low.’

    Now, what specific examples do you have to show to the contrary?

  87. Megan
    January 12th, 2015 at 13:03 | #87

    The ALP/LNP duopoly are terrified of the prospect of a hung parliament.


    Although I find this amusing (from today’s Fairfax rolling coverage):

    Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has this morning ruled out forming a “minority government.”

    Nine times in 17 seconds, she said “No” to the question. At one stage she emphatically said “No, no, no.” Then “No deals.”

    and from Newman:

    Campbell Newman has ruled out negotiating with minor parties and independents to form a minority government if the election results in a hung parliament. The Premier went as far as saying the LNP would rather lose the election that rule as a minority government.

    I note he didn’t rule out negotiating with the ALP! Another Queensland first in the making, Australia’s first ALP/LNP government?

    It would be neater, and would just formalize the current arrangement.

  88. Uncle Milton
    January 12th, 2015 at 14:39 | #88


    Australia’s first ALP/LNP government?

    Not quite. The Country Party in Victoria formed government from 1950 to 1952 with the support of the Labor Party.

  89. Uncle Milton
    January 12th, 2015 at 14:43 | #89

    JQ has in the past been very critical of the Labor Party dynasties – the Fergusons, the Creans, the Beazleys etc. Any comment on the Palaszczuks?

  90. Ikonoclast
    January 12th, 2015 at 15:00 | #90

    @Uncle Milton

    Is there any sense in which the Palaszczuks are a dynasty either in political, oligarchic, wealth or religious senses or in any other senses? A daughter (or son) eventually following a father into an occupation or profession (which the father might well have retired from by any late-ish stage) is scarcely a dynasty. Having some connections through paternal connections does not in and of itself establish a dynasty either.

    Just wondering.

  91. kevin1
    January 12th, 2015 at 15:04 | #91

    @Uncle Milton

    I think that was the last time an Australian government nationalised a private business – a bunch of private gas companies became the Gas and Fuel Corporation.

  92. Uncle Milton
    January 12th, 2015 at 15:17 | #92


    Beats me. Our host once described Martin Ferguson as an hereditary princeling. On the same argument, is Annastacia Palaszczuk an hereditary princessling? She not only followed her father into politics, she inherited his seat.

  93. Uncle Milton
    January 12th, 2015 at 15:22 | #93


    Neville Wran nationalised coal rights in 1981. Nick Greiner unnationalised them in 1990, and Bob Carr renationalised them in 1997. You can argue about whether what was nationalised was a business.

  94. ZM
    January 12th, 2015 at 15:35 | #94


    I never said that in the old days Kings were forbidden from being involved in lawmaking – I said they didn’t make all the laws of the kingdom on their lonesome.

    Going back before your 13th C example we see the council could make laws without the king, and there was lots of customary laws that the king didn’t make too –

    “The legislative functions of Anglo-Saxon England were carried out by the king and his council or, sometimes, by the council alone. Codes of law were produced at regular intervals by kings, and the issue of a new code was an opportunity to add new statutes, modify existing ones, or re-state old laws that were being ignored. Copies of the laws were then made and sent out to the ealdormen, bishops, and reeves who would be responsible for their administration. Many of these law codes still survive, especially in Church archives, but there was also a mass of customary law which was handed on orally. No attempt seems to have been made to codify this until after the Conquest, when much was forgotten or misunderstood. It is mostly this customary law which led to differences between West Saxon law, Mercian law and Danish law. However, it is fair to say that there were just as many differences within, say, West Saxon law as there were between that and Mercian law”

  95. J-D
    January 12th, 2015 at 17:34 | #95


    You didn’t say that Kings were forbidden from being involved in lawmaking.

    I didn’t say Kings made all the laws of the kingdom on their lonesome.

    So what is it that you think we are disagreeing about?

  96. ZM
    January 12th, 2015 at 18:34 | #96

    Well maybe we have got to an agreement now.

    I think we disagreed about the two Houses of Parliament and the role of the upper house – and you said the parliament didn’t use to instigate bills but the King proposed them to the parliament.

  97. Megan
    January 12th, 2015 at 20:51 | #97

    @Uncle Milton

    Not exactly the same thing, but pretty close!

    And I thought I was (half) joking, but maybe we really are being taken back to ’50s.

  98. J-D
    January 13th, 2015 at 06:09 | #98


    I wrote that the King used to put legislative proposals to Parliament. Do you disagree with that?

  99. kevin1
    January 13th, 2015 at 07:34 | #99

    @Uncle Milton

    I was just noting as an aside to the ‘old left’ in the ALP how far removed its socialisation objective – “expropriation of the means of production, distribution and exchange… to the extent necessary etc.” – is from today’s world.

    That’s not to say that legislation still can’t trump property rights, but the irony is that the working class Kerrigan types have more to fear nowadays than the capitalists!

  100. Paul Norton
    January 13th, 2015 at 07:47 | #100

    There is a good argument that the best State government Queensland has had was the Labor minority government of 1998-2001 that needed Peter Wellington’s support.

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