Home > Oz Politics > Queensland election outcome (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

Queensland election outcome (crosspost from Crooked Timber)

February 1st, 2015

We just had an election in my home state of Queensland, and the outcomes will be of some broader interest, I hope. The governing Liberal National (= conservative) Party has (almost certainly) gone down to a surprise defeat, going from 78 of 89 seats at the last election to a probable 40 or 41 this time. The key issues were broken promises (particularly regarding job cuts) and government proposals for privatisation.

This can be seen either as a reversal or a repeat of the last election when the governing Labor Party went from 51 seats to 7. That election was also fought on broken promises and privatisation, but with the roles of the parties reversed (Labor had won an election opposing privatisation, then immediately announced it would go ahead).

Among the actual or potential ramifications

* The first instance of a woman Opposition Leader defeating an incumbent government at state or national level in Australia (there have been examples in the much smaller territory governments, but I think this is the first case at State level. The more common pattern has been for a woman to get a “hospital pass” when it is clear that the government is on the way out.
* At the national level, the replacement of the current conservative prime minister Tony Abbott
* The abandonment of the biggest coal mine project in Australia

Looking internationally, the outcome can be seen as a defeat for the politics of austerity and maybe as an example to suggest that Pasokification can be reversed, under the right circumstances.

Finally, I’ll link to my analysis of the asset sales, which got a reasonably prominent run during the campaign. It probably didn’t change many minds, but it helped to counter the barrage of pro-privatisation propaganda.

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  1. m0nty
    February 1st, 2015 at 13:49 | #1

    A reversal of Pasokification would be bad news for the Greens here, as they arguably stand to benefit the most from such a trend by siphoning away Labor voters. Shorten is from the Right, nonetheless, and I suspect his policies once unfurled in theoretical government would not be Syriza-esque. But why would he bother articulating them?

    Lost in all the euphoria is (a) how small the seat lead is going to be and (b) how difficult it is going to be to govern and maintain party unity as a consequence. Could turn into a Ted Baillieu situation.

  2. February 1st, 2015 at 14:16 | #2

    Can anyone direct me to a site that features the average results of the parties in the seats they ran in, which seems (for the minors) a more relevant figure than their first-past-the-post figure? One Nation, for example, got under one percent overall but 25% in her own electorate, which looks to me like a Senate quota.

  3. Hermit
    February 1st, 2015 at 14:21 | #3

    Are there cases where austerity has been postponed and it worked out OK in the end? I ask that because examples like Greece seem unresolved.

    If Wayne Swan is pulling strings behind the scenes he’ll want Carmichael mine to go ahead. He’s previously said it will help the poor of India. If ALP get up nationally in 2016 perhaps it will get federal help.

  4. Ikonoclast
    February 1st, 2015 at 14:24 | #4

    Pasokification needs to continue. We need to destroy the two neoliberal parties of LNP and ALP.

    In the meantime, a minority ALP govt. (43 seats) with Katter Aust Party support (2 seats) could govern. The best we can hope for from such a government is no asset sales and nothing much else. I wonder how long Qld ALP will keep its word? All politicians lie all the time so I am not hopeful. Anna P. will try some sort of trick on the electorate I guess. At that point she will sign her own political oblivion warrant just like Newman did. It’s funny how they just don’t get it.

    Chances that this ALP government will be good, sensible, honest and enlightened? About 1 in a 100 I think.

  5. Julie Thomas
    February 1st, 2015 at 14:27 | #5

    ChrisB

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/qld-election-2015/guide/electorates/

    This might be what you want; click on the electorate you want and you get the votes and the percentages for each candidate.

  6. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 14:32 | #6

    @ChrisB

    I don’t know if this will have what you’re after, but there are fairly comprehensive figures at the ecq site (put the “http:” in front of):

    //results.ecq.qld.gov.au/elections/state/State2015/results/summary.html

  7. February 1st, 2015 at 14:32 | #7

    An unmissable opportunity to pull out that splendid Australianism, “It couldn’t happen to a nicer pack of bastards.”

  8. Ikonoclast
    February 1st, 2015 at 14:35 | #8

    @Hermit

    1. It’s very clear that austerity in a recessed or depressed economy makes things worse. Have a look for How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled – Paul Krugman.

    2. Anyone who directly promotes the opening of a new coal mine and offers govt. subsidies for same in 2015 (and beyond) is a climate criminal.

  9. Avi
    February 1st, 2015 at 14:57 | #9

    John, I think that preferential voting partly protects Labor from Pasokification here in Aus.

  10. Tyler
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:00 | #10

    I did have one question about the idea of asset sales in relation to electricity generators in particular. Is there any logic to the argument that the rise of renewable/decentralised generation that seems fairly inexorable at this stage is a justification to sell out of those baseload generators sooner rather than later?

  11. Jim
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:17 | #11

    The result from the Queensland election was a real surprise to almost everyone. There were a couple of things that really struck me while I was watching the results come in last night.

    First was the lack of any real policy from the ALP. This is not unusual in a world of politics where oppositions campaign on the fact that they aren’t the current mob in charge. But I think this was even more evident in this election campaign because the ALP had no realistic expectation that they would win (so why bother thinking about policy). A a consequence, I hope the ALP really take their time in developing policies and actually get them right.

    Secondly, I suspect (haven’t had a good look at the numbers) that many of the seats won were even more reliant on Greens preferences than normal (e.g. Mt Coo-tha, Brisbane Central) or on preferences from the Katter Party (e.g. Cook). It is reasonable that the Green will seek some payback in the form of vastly improved management of agricultural runoff into the Great Barrier Reef (the Green’s number 1 priority) and that the Katter Party will be expecting new investment in infrastructure in regional areas (probably in the form of new dams for irrigation). It is going to be interesting how the ALP manage the potentially conflicting set of favours they implicitly owe to the minor parties.

    I wish them good luck, and I hope they seek some quality advice…

  12. Hermit
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:25 | #12

    Tyler have a look at Table 8 here
    http://www.bree.gov.au/files/files//publications/aes/2014-australian-energy-statistics.pdf
    The uppermost line entry says we get 86.9% of our electricity from burning fossil fuels. Another line entry hydro may be half in 2015 what it was in 2014.

  13. Tyler
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:33 | #13

    @Hermit
    Thanks! I’m definitely not disputing the current dominance of fossil fuels, something that clearly needs to change. I suppose there’s also an argument to retain public ownership of those assets on the basis that it allows us to shut them down once we start taking climate change seriously.

  14. Hermit
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:43 | #14

    That’s an interesting idea…if coal plants are leased to the private sector then governments need to protect a cash cow.

  15. John Quiggin
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:43 | #15

    Iceland rejected austerity (at least, the full package), and generally did better than others, even though the financial crisis was worse there than anywhere.

  16. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 15:43 | #16

    On the count so far, I get from the electoral commission site at least 23 seats where the number of “exhausted” votes exceeds the difference between the 2 parties vying over the final outcome (i.e. after preferences and doesn’t include informal votes).

    I take that as a very strong sign that ‘we’, as a whole, are rejecting the ALP/LNP duopoly.

  17. James
    February 1st, 2015 at 16:12 | #17

    I don’t think there’s an inevitable trend towards Pasokification, especially within a system of representative democracy. It’ll be hard for a left-leaning party to challenge an established centre left party (look at the resources the Greens invested in regaining the seat of Melbourne at the 2013 election). I think the Labor Party in Australia and the Democratic Party in the US are a much broader church than you give them credit for. I can’t think of anybody in the ALP who has the influence of Senator Elizabeth Warren, but she demonstrates that centre left parties can regenerate without “Pasokification.” Bill Shorten is a right wing bovver boy who peddles a version of neo-liberalism lite, but I live in hope that there is room in the ALP for regeneration.

  18. 2 tanners
    February 1st, 2015 at 16:44 | #18

    Quite a few people on this site, including me, expected minor parties and independents to increase their representation in the Qld Parliament. I would speculate that the major parties did so as well with LNP’s just vote 1 strategy and ALP’s resistance to this, presumably on the basis that although a win was unlikely, preferences and parties they could work with was an OK price for increasing their overall TPP vote. Given that essentially the opposite happened and the sweep to Labor upset sitting independents (including passing one seat back to the LNP) does anyone have any theories as to why this should be? It certainly seems that the Qld electorate is not simply sick and tired of the same two parties.

  19. rog
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:11 | #19

    I’m expecting a similar shock in NSW; the polls suggest that the youthful innocence of Baird Jnr will ensure a return. In the case of QLD both the polls and the bookies got it wrong – another indicator of badly normal business is done.

    and then there’s ICAC.

  20. rog
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:16 | #20

    Sorry, that should be “another indicator of how badly normal business is done”

  21. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:20 | #21

    @2 tanners

    Given that essentially the opposite happened and the sweep to Labor upset sitting independents (including passing one seat back to the LNP) does anyone have any theories as to why this should be? It certainly seems that the Qld electorate is not simply sick and tired of the same two parties.

    Yes, we are simply sick and tired of the – faux choice between the – same two parties.

    The picture on minors/independents is a bit more complex than you allow. Peter Wellington is a very popular independent and he increased his margin. Liz Cunningham was very popular but retired at this election – so she didn’t ‘lose’. Alex Douglas and Carl Judge were both elected in 2012 as LNP in LNP electorates but defected to PUP then became independents. If the LNP gets their seats, looking likely, it isn’t so much a case of independents losing as LNP taking back what was theirs in 2012.

    The two KAP members look to have easily held their seats.

    The problem is not that we love one or other of the duopoly, it is that the duopoly has inordinate power. For example, CSG was a mutual ‘no go zone’ between the duopoly and AKAIK it was never raised with them by our Murdoch controlled ‘media’. But it is a big issue with a lot of voters.

  22. February 1st, 2015 at 17:27 | #22

    Pr Q said:

    This can be seen either as a reversal or a repeat of the last election when the governing Labor Party went from 51 seats to 7. That election was also fought on broken promises and privatisation, but with the roles of the parties reversed (Labor had won an election opposing privatisation, then immediately announced it would go ahead).

    Looking internationally, the outcome can be seen as a defeat for the politics of austerity and maybe as an example to suggest that Pasokification can be reversed, under the right circumstances.

    Syrizia is an insurgent minor party which has now occupied the ideological space vacated by Pasok. Roughly like the GRNs replacing the ALP as the major party of the Left.

    True Pasofication, in the QLD context, would be the GRNs winning a landslide electoral victory. The victory of the QLD ALP a bit different than Pasokification, given that its an example of a traditional major party completely rejecting its own previous “austerity” course. In fact it is just the QLD ALP reverting to its traditional ideological type.

    The AUS party duopoly is pretty much indestructible. Both the ALP and L/NP have both suffered electoral wipe outs which, in proportional representation electorates, would result in the collapse of the party.

    More generally the Occidental political landscape is rapidly shifting under the impact of the twin earthquakes of GFC on economic status and H-BD on ethnic status. The post-modern liberal elite consensus is falling apart.

    We are in for interesting times.

  23. Tony Lynch
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:33 | #23

    A personal neoliberal victory. I won $50 on the outcome of this election from Ray Hollis, Queensland’s parliamentary speaker under Goss and Beattie. He felt they hadn’t a show. Not quite sure whether this because he was no longer there, or because of what he saw as an abysmal policy vacuum. Or it could be because like so many labor figures, he reads The Australian.

  24. David Allen
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:38 | #24

    John, can you please stop calling the LNP “conservative”. The constant dismantling of what took decades to construct is better described as “radical”. Even their retreat from science is a radical process.

  25. Donald Oats
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:43 | #25

    Bligh and asset sales—tripped up the Qld ALP government. Did people find it amusing to be told “No asset sales”, only to have asset sales? Nope. The Newman character thought he could shove asset sales down the throats of an electorate that still didn’t want it. They copped faux-austerity, and idiosyncratic un-signalled budget cuts, and didn’t want that either. Newman tripped up.

    So, the question is, can the Qld ALP avoid tripping up this time ’round?

  26. Ken_L
    February 1st, 2015 at 17:54 | #26

    Don’t underestimate ridicule of the LNP’s patronising tone as a factor in the outcome. The TV ads consisted basically of repetition of the word “strong”, to an extent impossible to parody. I suspect many people would have resented having their intelligence insulted so blatantly.

    Another interesting result was the abysmal failure of Palmer’s mob, despite spending huge amounts of money. At least in my regional electorate they seemed to spend twice as much on TV commercials as the other parties combined, but it did them no good.

    And finally, Labor was almost invisible in the TV commercials where I live. Perhaps the days when TV advertising could influence election outcomes are over.

  27. February 1st, 2015 at 18:21 | #27

    Pr Q said:

     

    Finally, I’ll link to my analysis of the asset sales, which got a reasonably prominent run during the campaign. It probably didn’t change many minds, but it helped to counter the barrage of pro-privatisation propaganda.

    Take a bow, well played sir. The twin victories of Syrizia in Greece and the ALP in QLD go a long way to politically vindicate Pr Q’s intellectual critique of privatisation.

    Pr Q has, over the past 20 years, waged a lonely one-man campaign against wholesale public utility privatization. Both piecemeal empirical analysis of individual privatisations on the AUS political scene, and a more general theoretical critique of privatization as it has been carried out in the post-Cold War era.

    This has been an amazing effort on two levels. One, very few public intellectuals have been willing and able to do the hard yards, look under the hood at the fine print and bottom line of most privatization schemes. Two, his critique of privatization has been based on the orthodox economic theory of public goods provision under conditions of monopoly. A theory utterly neglected by most neo-liberal economists who like to style themselves as the hard-headed exponents of economic rationality.

    He certainly convinced me of the validity of the traditional case for state ownership of natural monopoly utilities. Not that I needed much convincing after paying close attention to the catastrophic Harvard Mafia-Suitcase Economist “Rape of Russia” privatisation.

    I predict that the Old Left economic programme – nationalisation of utilities, regulation of finance and fiscal expansionism – will make a comeback in the general public political life. Whether that get past the Deep State elements in the financial industry, who are committed to the interests of the 1%, is a question that remains to be settled.

    Perhaps more co-operation in the international Left. Or perhaps some link ups with local nationalist parties., such as UKIP and Front National. My crystal ball is murky on this.

  28. jungney
    February 1st, 2015 at 19:03 | #28

    @Jack Strocchi
    Jock, talk of the Pasofikation of politics is inane. The background to the electoral success of Syriza is at least the whole of the twnetieth century in Greece and most particularly the history of WWII in Greece, the Greek Civil War and the Junta. So, for example, that background includes historical memory of the way that colonial powers have treated Greece including the massacre of Greek resistance fighters by (right wing) Greek Police backed by British troops:

    The prelude of the civil war took place in Athens, on December 3, 1944, less than 2 months after Germans had retreated. A bloody battle (the “Dekemvrianá”) erupted after Greek government gendarmes, with British forces standing in the background, opened fire on a massive unarmed pro-EAM rally, killing 28 demonstrators and injuring dozens. The rally had been organized against the impunity of the Nazi collaborators and the general disarmament ultimatum, signed by Lieutenant-General Sir Ronald MacKenzie Scobie, which had excluded the right-wing forces.

    It gets worse, especially during the Junta. Remember the persecution of Mikis Theodorakis by the Junta:

    On 21 April 1967 a right wing junta (the Regime of the Colonels) took power in a putsch. Theodorakis went underground and founded the “Patriotic Front” (PAM). On 1 June, the Colonels published “Army decree No 13”, which banned playing, and even listening to his music. Theodorakis himself was arrested on 21 August,[47] and jailed for five months. Following his release end of January 1968, he was banished in August to Zatouna with his wife Myrto and their two children, Margarita and Yorgos.[48] Later he was interned in the concentration camp of Oropos.

    I suggest that you have no grasp whatever of what is happening in Greece right now. Comparing Greece to Qld is laughable.

  29. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 19:45 | #29

    Non Neo-Con-Duopoly parties and independents got just over 20% of the vote in this Queensland election, so far.

    The duopoly are perfectly happy to pretend they are the two extremes on our available voting spectrum and “there is no alternative”. The establishment media plays a crucial role in perpetuating this charade.

    The perfect example of this truth was after 2012 when, with less than 10 seats, the ALP did not technically qualify as “the Opposition” but Newman made an exception to the rule and made the ALP, alone, the “Opposition”. In one of his parliament’s first moves the ALP and LNP voted together in the middle of the night to change the rules so that the KAP/independents group couldn’t seek “Opposition” status. It’s much more than a title, the position brings additional funding, staff and resources like office space.

    Strange behavior for purported mortal enemies.

    Keeps it all so nice and neat and frenemy.

    If there is to be “Pasokification” in this country it is going to be a rise of a force or forces to counter the duopoly stranglehold. The Greens looked promising in that regard until they decided to become unofficial junior coalition partners with the ALP and began adopting neo-con economic attributes.

  30. February 1st, 2015 at 20:03 | #30

    jungney @ #28 said:

    talk of the Pasofikation of politics is inane…I suggest that you have no grasp whatever of what is happening in Greece right now. Comparing Greece to Qld is laughable.

    FFS, I’m not “comparing Greece to Qld” in any substantive historical sense. Merely pointing out that Syrizia was, until recently, the minor party of the Greek Left, analogous to the GRNs who are the minor party of the AUS Left. Pasok have lost their major party of the Left status because they drank too deeply from the neo-liberal Kool Aid, which was toxic policy and turned into toxic politics.

    Syrizia are now the major party of the Greek Left. The “Pasokification” analogy with AUS breaks down because the GRNs have not replaced the ALP as the major party of the AUS Left. In part this is because the ALP have retained some fidelity to its traditional economic Left values.

    This is an argument by analogy, not identity. But unless one actually spells that out one gets the straw man hunting hounds out in force, baying for blood.

    I don’t have any particular interest in contemporary Greek politics or history, apart from the rise of Syrizia and Golden Dawn as portents of the crack up of the post-modern liberal elite consensus. Ancient Greeks are a little bit more my cup of tea.

    My experience of contemporary Greek political culture is probably typical of Melbournians. Patiently listening to passionate harangues about the iniquities of fascists, communists, Jews, bankers etc from wild-eyed Greek angry young men at parties and union meetings. Although I enjoyed the occasional session in a Lonsdale Street cafe, swapping yarns in low tones with their cloth-capped peres. They sipped Greek coffee, so strong, sweet and coarse-grained you could stand your spoon up in it. You gotta love them, but their politics drive me up the wall. They never get over it. A bit like jungney, by the sound of it.

  31. jungney
    February 1st, 2015 at 20:28 | #31

    @Jack Strocchi

    This is an argument by analogy, not identity. But unless one actually spells that out one gets the straw man hunting hounds out in force, baying for blood.

    It’s just a matter of respect where it is due. In this case to the Greek left, including the Greek resistance, and all the other forms of resistance in Europe to fascism, France and Italy included. While you have supped with Melbourne Greeks, so colorful of you, I’ve shared bread with Italians whose entire village was murdered by the Fascists because it was a centre of Italian anti-fascism.

    I’m loyal to history. And I don’t forget.

    If you want to draw analogies between Qld and elsewhere then maybe you could show some respect into the bargain by drawing on real examples rather than figments of the imagination.

    Or is history just too old hat for you?

  32. Collin Street
    February 1st, 2015 at 20:39 | #32

    Can someone talk me through how a “don’t allocate your preferences” campaign helps you get elected? As I see it, your preference flow only matters if your first-preference candidate gets eliminated, at which point they can’t win anyway: there’s mathematically no way that not allocating second preferences can get you over the line, or improve your chances of getting over the line.

  33. February 1st, 2015 at 21:09 | #33

    jungney @ #31 said:

    It’s just a matter of respect where it is due. In this case to the Greek left, including the Greek resistance, and all the other forms of resistance in Europe to fascism, France and Italy included. While you have supped with Melbourne Greeks, so colorful of you, I’ve shared bread with Italians whose entire village was murdered by the Fascists because it was a centre of Italian anti-fascism.

    I respect the partisans. My father was a Christian Democrat partisan (Po Valley). Probably the only one. And experienced similar horrors. So please, don’t be teaching your grandmother to suck eggs.

    My father managed to get over the War, employing both ex-fascists and ex-communists in the garage. Political arguments were a great hoot, but no one lost sight of the main game which was to make sure that Gough’s Medicare policy finally stuck.

    I am not particularly horrified by Italian fascists. Some members of my family, who did not live near Red Bologna. were fascists and they didn’t have horns growing out of their head. Most European fascists were just nationalists who got steroids from exposure to war or to communist revolution.

    Nazism was another kettle of fish entirely. Hitler had big plans for the whole world. Its just that some peoples did not feature in those plans, they had to disappear. Mussolini, Metaxas, Horthy, Franco and Petain were, on the whole, a lot nicer.

    Through the first half of the 20thC everyone, both communist Left & fascist Right, had plenty of blood on their hands. If you want to start playing the vendetta game it won’t take too long before the place turns into the Balkans. Thats why the European Union was so crucial, it took people’s minds off the past. They got over it.

    Except maybe Greece where the past is not dead, its not even past.

    The post-modern liberal elite consensus (ala Pasok) plays into the hands of those nursing eternal grudges. No nation state can withstand the strain of the global cult of individualism. And the EU is built up of nation states. So it is currently not dealing with the strain, any more and it will break up.

    A more conservative, economically equitable and culturally cohesive, path is indicated.

  34. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 21:24 | #34

    @Collin Street

    Antony Green can (to avoid eternal moderation, put “http:” in front of):

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2015/01/why-campbell-newman-advocatesjust-vote-1.html

    Extract:

    While Newman was speaking to the LNP faithful, his message was not aimed at their ears.

    As with Peter Beattie in 2001, the ‘just vote 1’ message is aimed squarely at the ears of opposition and third party voters.

    ‘Just Vote 1’ aims to turn each electorate contest across the state into a first past the post race between the top two polling candidates.

    As it is likely the LNP will lead the first preference count in more electorates than any other party, it is in the interests of the LNP to encourage as many third party candidates as possible to ‘just vote 1’, to diminish the chances that preferences would allow second placed candidates to leapfrog the leading LNP candidate.

    But you’d need to read the whole post. The converse is “Number Every Box and Put LNP Last”.

  35. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 21:26 | #35

    @Collin Street

    Oops, missed my own advice and ended up in moderation.

    Antony Green can (to avoid eternal moderation, put “http:” in front of):

    //blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2015/01/why-campbell-newman-advocatesjust-vote-1.html

    Extract:

    While Newman was speaking to the LNP faithful, his message was not aimed at their ears.

    As with Peter Beattie in 2001, the ‘just vote 1? message is aimed squarely at the ears of opposition and third party voters.

    ‘Just Vote 1? aims to turn each electorate contest across the state into a first past the post race between the top two polling candidates.

    As it is likely the LNP will lead the first preference count in more electorates than any other party, it is in the interests of the LNP to encourage as many third party candidates as possible to ‘just vote 1?, to diminish the chances that preferences would allow second placed candidates to leapfrog the leading LNP candidate.

    But you’d need to read the whole post. The converse is “Number Every Box and Put LNP Last”.

  36. paul walter
    February 1st, 2015 at 21:33 | #36

    Read the Pasokification article and ground my teeth in anger.

    Well spoken Jack Strocchi, If I’ve not misread you.

    Globalisation is a global pestilence in its corrupted neolib form.

    No doubt people have read that Merkel won’t give an inch on debt write offs for Greece. But I don’t beleive this is for rational economic reasons; at least reasons I’d consider “rational”.
    I think it is because the powerful cling to power regardless of harm done others, even to the point of crippling millions of people’s lives just to have the world suit the few and their hangups.

  37. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 21:46 | #37

    Back to a key point of the post.

    The ALP.

    The main problem with tribalists, LNP ones seem to me more honest about what they actually stand for than the ALP ones. That may be unfair, but so be it.

    In my view the ALP will never change for the better while it has blind tribalist support “right or wrong”. How can it, and why should it?

    The following example comes from a twitter exchange about refugees (protesters tried to put up a banner at the tennis tonight and an ALP tribalist approvingly retweeted the story – which makes me see red. It was the ALP that locked up all the refugees in offshore detention).

    I find the hypocrisy impossible to understand. Some insight into the tribalist mind, and why the ALP is simply half of a corrupt duopoly.

    I started it off, as I usually do when I see an ALP person talking about refugees, by asking:

    -has ALP refugee policy changed?

    -no. It is a long-held personal view. Backbencher friends share the same stance. Not official Labor policy.

    -But you support the ALP despite their “official” refugee policy?

    -yes. I’m not a mono-policy type of person. Pragmatism and reform within always works better than being pugnacious.

    -Heard that argument before. Labor 4 Refugees formed in 2001 in response to Tampa and ALP refugee policy now worse. Doesn’t work.

    -I take that point, and it is tough. Rule book has gone out the window recently.

    -I see. You will support the ALP even if their refugee policy stays the same.

    I reproduce this exchange here to show how futile it is to expect the ALP to “change from within”. ALP tribalists are first and foremost concerned with ALP electoral victory. Absolutely nothing takes priority over that.

  38. Megan
    February 1st, 2015 at 22:17 | #38

    According to the ABC “Queensland Election 2015 – Live Results” website, Antony Green is now predicting:

    ALP 44

    LNP 43

    Fingers crossed for a hung/minority parliament.

    So, with independent Peter Wellington and the two KAPs, it would appear that Palazscuk is going to be forced to start her term with the breaking of a “core promise” – NO DEALS.

    On the other hand, with Newman gone it’s not impossible for some less fascist LNP leader to convince the three cross-benchers that they should trust them to form a government.

    Wellington has said that he would back the ALP. But he did that once before under Beattie in 1998 and the ALP turfed him six months later when there was a convenient by-election they won. Once bitten…?

  39. Collin Street
    February 1st, 2015 at 22:27 | #39

    Thanks, Megan. That’s about what I’d guessed, but I had some vague hope that there was some non-bad-faith argument you could advance.

    But no.

  40. Ernestine Gross
    February 1st, 2015 at 22:39 | #40

    Prof Q, it seems to me you are too modest regarding the impact of your asset sales analysis. To the best of my knowledge, “no asset sales” is the only specific policy promise made by the leader of the ALP.

    Taking your self-assessment of the impact of your work as a given, there is an interesting implication. Your productivity is at least equal to that of the entire Ernst & Young team that worked on the topic and teams of spin doctors. But this is not how it would be recorded in the national accounts, assuming you did this work in your usual manner. Their ‘work’ would have a much higher value than yours in these accounts – no? Assuming the answer to my question is yes, there is something wrong with the objective of ‘economic growth’ if the source of the ‘growth’ is unexamined.

    I found it refreshing that Ms Anastacia P. abstained from making all sorts of specific promises, said to “ensure” desirable outcomes (which are typically not deliverables because of lack of direct control). She spoke in a more sensible language such as policy objectives. No asset sales is a deliverable. It is credible.

  41. February 1st, 2015 at 23:18 | #41

    The result is interesting, but the history of big swings in QLD is also strange. Is this a result of not having an upper house? No way to express your disapproval of the government other than to vote them out.

    Or is it more simple, with the Queensland floods, droughts and cyclones costing so much that any government would look bad?

  42. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 00:51 | #42

    @John Brookes

    It is partly as a result of our unicameral parliament. But in reality our lower house should look roughly like any other state’s.

    The main factors are, firstly, that we are effectively a mono-media state. NSW and Vic have vastly more media diversity. We have the ultra-right-wing Fairfax radio, the ultra-right-wing-phone-hacking-scum Murdoch papers and the in-bed-with-Murdoch ABC (often literally since many of them intermarry). We also have some ALP-right dominated “community” radio. But mostly the problem is that Murdoch controls the placement of the window and all the “players” happily take their places within that frame.

    Secondly, neo-liberalism. When this state was bursting out of its old “Joh” reactionary past and getting all excited about ‘going forward’ and not being ‘country’ any more in the late 1980s, the ALP was hitting top gear in its embrace of “economic rationalism” and it sounded so funky and modern and Let’s All Get Rich.

    Since then we’ve had only two choices of rulers: Neo-Con ALP, or Neo-Con LNP.

    So, the short answer to your question:

    No way to express your disapproval of the government other than to vote them out[?]

    Is: “No, that’s all we’ve got.”

    And, PS: We’ll keep doing it until we get our democracy back.

  43. Jordan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 00:53 | #43

    Pasokification can only hapen within an environment that is comparable to Greek environment.
    Greece has 27% unemployment and demolished safety nets, risen VAT taxation to to 27% .
    Since normal greek unemployment was around 10% and VAT was 19% with prety good safety nets.
    Only change of such magnitude can cause change of similar magnitude as in Greece.
    That would be unemployment in Aus of around 15%, VAT taxes introduction and cuts in social spending. So, no chance for Pasokification in Aus or anywhere near.

    But not to say that there would be no influence of Pasok experience, there will be a slow move toward more leftist policies, a slight move toward postwar environment after going further down the present road of going rightish.

    There is even the possibility of conservatives taking spot in a vacum left by left parties.
    This is very interesting if true.
    Chamber of Comerce is warning Republican Party about elements in public prepared to totally discredit candidates that are warning about public debts and calling for austerity. MMTers no doubt.
    (Iconoklast, i think my prediction is comming true, Kelton became US senator’s finance adviser and Yanis Varoufakis became Finance minister)

  44. Jordan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 00:57 | #44
  45. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 01:06 | #45

    @John Brookes

    PPS:

    No way to express your disapproval of the government other than to vote them out.

    I love this idea that our leaders are desperate to hear what we think, but somehow we are not speaking loudly enough.

    Many have forgotten that ALP Bligh as Premier and LNP Newman as Brisbane Mayor joined together to violently shut down “occupy Brisbane” in 2011. But many have not.

    Just one of many examples. Another that springs to mind is “Community Consultation” beloved of both sides of the duopoly to pretend they are willing to listen.

  46. Michael
    February 2nd, 2015 at 01:45 | #46

    “The more common pattern has been for a woman to get a “hospital pass” ” – JQ

    Being given the leadership of a 9 member opposition qualifies as a ‘hospital pass’ I would think……she just managed to score a length of the field try with it.

  47. Troy Prideaux
    February 2nd, 2015 at 01:54 | #47

    Megan :
    Back to a key point of the post.
    The ALP.
    The main problem with tribalists, LNP ones seem to me more honest about what they actually stand for than the ALP ones. That may be unfair, but so be it.

    Probably even more true in the US with the democrats.

  48. Ikonoclast
    February 2nd, 2015 at 06:46 | #48

    @Ernestine Gross

    You make good points there. Plenty of “work” and growth in our society is of dubious value. This is especially the case if we measure value by more than just GDP. For example, what is the real value of junk food production and junk food advertising? We would all be better off (except for a few junk food kings) without any junk food at all in our society. This is just one of many examples we could produce. In fact, every piece of advertising for increasing wasteful and dangerous over-consumption of all kinds (like large SUVs for example) is of dubious value given the real challenges we face. I mean limits to growth and climate change of course.

  49. Uncle Milton
    February 2nd, 2015 at 08:13 | #49

    @Megan

    Megan, you say the ALP is neo-conservative. But you also say it is neo-liberal. It can be one or the other, or neither, but it can’t be both.

  50. John Bentley
    February 2nd, 2015 at 09:45 | #50

    @Uncle Milton
    The eminent John Legge defined democracy as we all know as government by the people for the people, neoliberalism as government by the few for the few and neoconservatism as government by the few for the few by force. I would contend that the ALP is neoliberal and that the LNP (at Federal level at least) is tending towards neoconservative aka the Bush the younger administration.

  51. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 09:47 | #51

    @Uncle Milton

    I use them interchangeably. If there is a distinction I’ll have to see what it is and plumb for one term over the other.

  52. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 10:31 | #52

    Looking into it, I would say it’s quite possible to be both – and in fact most of our political establishment IS.

  53. Uncle Milton
    February 2nd, 2015 at 10:35 | #53

    @Megan

    I disagree. Neoliberalism is a doctrine which believes in small government. Neoconservatism is a doctrine which believes in big government to project the power of the state.

  54. Ikonoclast
    February 2nd, 2015 at 11:28 | #54

    It’s strange that many people today are obsessed by and opposed to Big Government but they never seem to worry about Big Oligarchy and Big Corporatism.

    I would argue that if your government is still basically democratic (just true in Australia but not true in the USA) then Big Government = Big Democracy = More Equality.

    We should not be afraid of big government if it is good and democratic. Indeed, such big government is our best protection against oligarchy and corporate power. This is true at least under the current system of really existing capitalism which is highly biased to concentrating wealth and creating oligarchs, big corporations and conglomerates. In such a system, big democratic government is the only equalising power that the 99% have.

  55. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 12:42 | #55

    Across the political establishment neo-con/neo-lib duopoly, the love of big government applies to things like US military adventurism, ‘defence’ spending, corporate handouts, big brother surveillance and policing the domestic population. While the love of small government covers things like public services, healthcare, education, public transport, utilities/monopolies, environmental protection, corporate regulation, broadcasting and social welfare.

    Although slightly different, the neo-con/neo-lib labels apply to the duopoly.

  56. jungney
    February 2nd, 2015 at 12:52 | #56

    Abbott’s Press Club address was a non-event except for him vowing not to visit financial deficits on future generations. err, and climate change doesn’t count as even an economic let alone ecological deficit. This man is mad.

  57. jungney
    February 2nd, 2015 at 12:57 | #57

    @Jack Strocchi
    The only polite way to respond is in the Sandpit.

  58. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 14:01 | #58

    I don’t know if someone just sat on a keyboard by accident or something.

    But the ABC “LIVE” results just switched from ALP 43, LNP 40 with projections of ALP 44 LNP 42 and is now showing:

    ALP 35

    LNP 40

    Projections are now:

    ALP 40

    LNP 46

    WTF?

  59. Collin Street
    February 2nd, 2015 at 14:12 | #59

    “Different” is the new “Strong”.

  60. John Quiggin
    February 2nd, 2015 at 14:44 | #60

    @Megan

    Seem to have switched back again

  61. John Quiggin
    February 2nd, 2015 at 14:44 | #61

    @Collin Street

    Actually, he said “strong” 13 times

  62. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 15:20 | #62

    @John Quiggin

    Yes, back to how it was.

    It is still sitting at 76.0% counted, which is where it was before. It flipped out when it went up to 76.1% counted, so I’ll guess fat-fingers data entry caused the blip.

    Still, it would have been interesting if it was true!

  63. Julie Thomas
    February 2nd, 2015 at 15:21 | #63

    is it true as one of the commenters on the site I linked to below says, that the claim Tony makes that “Small businesses are also to receive a company tax cut of circa 1.5% from 1 July this year” is “a gigantic con as small business shareholders will also lose 1.5% of the 30% franking credits generated when they paid 30% company tax. Everybody business’s franking account assets will have to be written down by 5% (1.5%/30%).”?

    http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/02/abbotts-press-club-speech-misses/

  64. jungney
    February 2nd, 2015 at 17:39 | #64

    @Jack Strocchi
    Except there is no Sandpit. So I’ll respond but in brief. You say:

    I respect the partisans. My father was a Christian Democrat partisan (Po Valley). Probably the only one.

    Fair enough. But we know that partisan cells, occupying geographically defined spaces, co-operated between Christians, communists, socialists and indeed even some anarchists. What united them was anti-fascism.

    Which is why it is a wonder to me to also read you:

    Mussolini, Metaxas, Horthy, Franco and Petain were, on the whole, a lot nicer.

    …than Hitler.

    Look, in the unlikely event that I am ever at a dinner party where the host puts forward a comment like that I’d be thinking that the mounted animal’s heads in the corridor definitely were a red flag whereafter I’d be making my excuses.

    I’m sure that somewhere in Australia there are a few bowling clubs and social clubs where, annually, a toast is raised to the idea that Mussolini wasn’t such a bad chap after all but geez, ya’ know, you guys certainly keep a low profile about it.

  65. J-D
    February 2nd, 2015 at 17:49 | #65

    @Megan

    At the 2012 Queensland State election, the aggregate primary vote for LNP and ALP candidates was 76% of all formal votes counted, so the aggregate figure for all other candidates (independent and other parties) was 24%. The most recent totals reported by the Electoral Commission of Queensland for the 2015 State election give the corresponding figures as 79% and 21%, suggesting a net shift of roughly three percentage points.

  66. Donald Oats
    February 2nd, 2015 at 20:11 | #66

    @Uncle Milton
    Neoliberalism (Mk II, circa 1980) in its reinvigorated form, is let the free market rip and get government out of the way.
    Neoconservativism is conservative in the state, with neoliberal thought as a driver of internal economic doctrine and practice, and is wilfully interventionist in foreign affairs, often with military force.

    A neoliberal is always looking for smaller government, whilst a neoconservative is looking for strong military and foreign affairs public service, which can come into conflict with neoliberal principles of smaller government (although, because foreign affairs are not of domestic consideration except indirectly, perhaps it isn’t in direct conflict).

    That’s my limited understanding of these terms.

  67. Stockingrate
    February 2nd, 2015 at 20:11 | #67

    “a defeat for the politics of austerity”. I don’t see that this applies to the the key LNP election policy- asset sales- which proposed increasing short term government spending by raiding the balance sheet (net of the swap of balance sheet items equity and debt).

  68. Collin Street
    February 2nd, 2015 at 20:16 | #68

    John Quiggin :
    @Collin Street
    Actually, he said “strong” 13 times

    I was thinking about Madam Speaker’s interview.

  69. Ikonoclast
    February 2nd, 2015 at 21:23 | #69

    Current state of the count.

    76.6% counted.
    LNP 38 seats won & 41 seats predicted to be won.
    ALP 42 seats won & 45 predicted to be won.
    KAP 2 seats won.
    OTH 1 seat won.

    ALP could get there in their own right. I wonder if having such a slim majority will keep the B’s honest? Hard to say. It’s certainly extraordinarily difficult getting politicians to be honest.

  70. Megan
    February 2nd, 2015 at 22:11 | #70

    @Ikonoclast

    Can’t see why. In Queensland, as you know, at 45+ seats it’s winner takes all. A “Mandate”.

    Bligh did what she did with six seats up her sleeve and Newman with 30 odd. All it takes is one seat. The margin means nothing to them.

    There is no sign whatsoever that the ALP has changed its spots in the slightest.

    What will keep the Bs “honest”? They don’t care what the people think. The Murdoch mono-media will give them a free run as long as they are perpetuating the neo-liberal agenda. The very worst thing they think can happen to them is we switch sides again in 3 years. All the forces are designed to keep the Bs DIS-honest.

  71. James Wimberley
    February 2nd, 2015 at 23:12 | #71

    @Tyler
    JQ hasn’t replied to your question, so where angels fear to tread etc.

    For once, it’s reasonable to assume that markets are fairly efficient. The prospective buyers for the coal plants have the same information about their lousy prospects that you have as vendor – and if you do know worse and conceal it, that’s probably illegal. The bad prospects are priced in.

    My take is that trends point the other way. In Germany, further along the transition than Australia, the generating companies have presented to the government a long list of coal plants the want to close as unprofitable, under ever-declining capacity factors. The government won’t accept the full list, to keep a safety reserve. Ultimately it will have to subsidise the plants it wants to keep open. Whether you call this nationalization or not, the plants are wards of the state. Australian coal plants are also headed for the public sector in the long run.

  72. BilB
    February 3rd, 2015 at 03:47 | #72

    James, if “markets are fairly efficient” then the GFC would not have happened, and my local council, half a world away from the financial meltdown epicenter, would not have lost their entire employee superannuation fund.

    Tyler, the answer to your question is that given the Global Warming situation there is a need to retain the power generation facilities and reshape them into the distributed power generation renewable energy complement form that they need to become. The market approach may have worked had there not been, as there still is, immensely destructive political interference. But the fact is that the market approach to reconfiguring our grid energy system, given the available time frame, has failed and will require direct management to affect the changes necessary.

    Will this require extra funding from the public?

    No.

    The industry already has all of the liquidity that it requires from the more than doubling of electricity prices over the last seven years. What is required is an investigation of the industry to find out where the funds are, and,…….. the first politicians whom I have witnessed calling for such an inquiry is Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth.

    I am developing a huge respect for these two young and energetic public representatives above all others except perhaps Christine Milne. We do have some good people in politics, but you have to go to the far ends of the country to find them.

  73. February 3rd, 2015 at 07:38 | #73

    Ikonoclast, with such a small number of seats not belonging to the big two parties, if Labor gains 44 seats and forms a coalition there would be a considerable temptation for the coalition parter or partners to defect to the LNP either sooner or later. So Labor with 45 seats has the disadvantage of not being a coalition but the advantage of being less likely to see the LNP return to power as a result of wheeling and dealing. And the LNP returning to power would be bad because stochastically speaking their stance on subsidising coal will kill more children. So Labor having a bare majority and 3 non-LNPs they can court if that majority slips overall is not such a bad result.

  74. Ikonoclast
    February 3rd, 2015 at 07:52 | #74

    @Megan

    I did wonder if they could be kept honest. I did say it’s “Hard to say” and “extraordinarily difficult getting politicians to be honest”.

    A one seat majority is tricky to manage. One by-election could sink them. The failure to whip everyone into parliamentary sessions could sink them. An opposition that refuses to give “pairs” for absent members could sink them.

    But yes, the only legal thing that can permanently change democracy in Australia for the better is for both LNP and ALP to be destroyed at the ballot box. In turn, the cause for that will be our economic and climate collapse. Only when it is real and hurting the great majority badly will things change. Endless growth capitalism has to collapse before people stop believing in it. It will indeed collapse of its own weight. It is completely unsustainable.

    Yes, it would be nice if elites and the people could be convinced to change course before disaster but that hasn’t happened. It’s too late for that now. Now, the disaster has to begin and then we have to hope there is enough room left to manoeuvre to avoid the whole intrinsic chain of disasters continuing to the bitter end.

  75. Collin Street
    February 3rd, 2015 at 08:41 | #75

    > there would be a considerable temptation for the coalition parter or partners to defect to the LNP either sooner or later.

    If a conservative rural independent were OK with the LNP they’d be in the LNP.

  76. Ivor
    February 3rd, 2015 at 09:03 | #76

    It now looks possible that the coalition will fall back by one seat in favour of – Pauline Hanson.

  77. Ernestine Gross
    February 3rd, 2015 at 09:19 | #77

    @James Wimberley

    “For once, it’s reasonable to assume that markets are fairly efficient.”

    If you were right, then coal power plants would have disappeared a long time ago because ‘the investors’ would have anticipated average global warming. This did not happen. It did not happen because there is no market price for the negative externality. Therefore the relevant information does not enter the profit calculation. You construct an example of informational efficiency (between buyer and seller) but you ignore that the price system is incomplete. Therefore your example is irrelevant for resource allocation. This is exactly where the result of generic Pareto inefficiency for incomplete markets bites.

    As stated by BilB, the inefficiency problem is bigger still. The GFC is not merely an example of ‘imperfection’ but an example of system failure with the consequence of wealth redistribution

  78. Megan
    February 3rd, 2015 at 09:52 | #78

    Out in the world of electronic graffiti a lot of ALP folk are wailing about the horror prospect that Pauline Hanson might win Lockyer.

    On current counting, the primary votes were:

    ALP 6368
    LNP 8593
    ONP 6981

    Hanson is just ahead on preferences at the moment. It’s fair to assume that crucial to that lead is a chunk of ALP votes that took party advice to “Number Every Box and Put LNP last”.

  79. February 3rd, 2015 at 11:52 | #79

    A quick look at the One Nation Site demonstrates that Pauline Hanson in state Parlement is not going to be an asset to Queensland. She has written, “Global warming is all about a power grab by a wealthy elite and their collectivist sycophants — using the U.N. as a cover and tool.” Which shows a marked inability to actually examine the evidence, such as, you know, looking at temperature records, examining pictures of glaciers now and in the past and seeing how far they have retreated, checking to see if the North-west passage is possible, impossible, or used all the time now. Those sorts of things. But in practice what is she going to do? Oppose carbon pricing and subsidise coal mining? No difference from the LNP there. And with regards to people who made the mistake of not being born pasty white, what is she going to do there? Put them in concentration camps? She should be complaining that the other parties have stolen her policies.

  80. Fran Barlow
    February 3rd, 2015 at 16:53 | #80

    Hanson is just ahead on preferences at the moment. It’s fair to assume that crucial to that lead is a chunk of ALP votes that took party advice to “Number Every Box and Put LNP last”

    Be careful what you ask for. 😉

    I would never give Hanson an effective preference, but then, I’d never preference the LNP either.

    Part of the problem is the view that the message must be simple, like the voters. They could have said: Vote 1 ALP and then use your best judgement … (while producing localised HTVs) …

    Someone who in Lockyer had voted 1 ALP and 2 LNP could not have helped the LNP defeat the ALP of course, even if the ALP candidate had run second on primaries, nor could they have helped the LNP defeat Hanson, unless the ALP had run third to Hanson and the LNP.

    Had I been in Lockyer — perish the thought — I’d have probably voted Greens 1 ALP 2 and then exhausted.

    As horrendous as Hanson’s politics are, her victory at the expense of the LNP would almost certainly have been more damaging to them than the ALP since she would continually wedge them against their own nutbag constituency. So while it would be unprincipled to support her, shrugging your shoulders about who wins has its advantages.

  81. John Quiggin
    February 6th, 2015 at 07:35 | #81

    I don’t know how we got on to Hitler, but there is a Law that covers such matters. I’ve deleted Jack’s last comment and the reply. Jack, please take another week off and add Hitler, Mussolini and anything related to the list of topics on which you are not to comment.

  82. February 10th, 2015 at 07:51 | #82

    Seems pretty amazing that Springborg is still trying to cling to power even though Labor has 44 seats and the support of the independent. Obviously it will take a while to sort out the Ferny Grove situation, but in the meantime surely AP should be able to form government? What’s the talk in the street in Queensland?

    (I ask that of course being aware that the views of one’s friends and acquaintances are no guide to political opinion in general! I know I’ve linked it here before once, but after the 2013 election there was a very funny piece in Crikey about how inner Melbourne – “Greenstown” – was a world unto itself.)

  83. February 10th, 2015 at 07:54 | #83

    However (re my last question) I get the impression that several commenters from Queensland here (Julie? Ikon?) live in quite conservative areas and talk to people with a wide range of views so maybe you do get a broader sense of what people think?

  84. Julie Thomas
    February 10th, 2015 at 16:18 | #84

    @Val

    Springborg feels entitled because he was going to challenge Newman and that is why he – Newman – called the election so quickly; before the Borg could take over and they woulda won if he was the leadert.

    They love him out here because he is one of ours. They agree that he is a bit stupid or even more, really stupid, but they foolishly imagine that he is honest or more accurately they understand his level of dishonesty and are okay with it, because everyone in the city does it, but they don’t blame him for the rank corruption that Newman and his cronies were engaged in.

    When local politicians do things like Joh did like diverting a road to go past their place, the locals think that they have had a win and that they are getting some of their taxes back even though it doesn’t benefit them at all. Even better when the highway is diverted in a dogleg so it passes the pub owned by someone on the council or state govt as happened back in the murky past.

    I can’t help you with what people think Val. I’m not very good at understanding people’s thoughts but I can see that there are behaviour changes and the only proof I can give is the true story about my youngest son’s new friend the gun lover and a new one about a neighbour who is another former LNP voter.

    She is older than me, in her 70’s, and she says she has no idea how or why she changed to ‘the right’ because she was raised in the UK as a leftie through and through. Perhaps one of Howards battlers? Small business people, really small business, who thought that the Liberals meant them when they said they were for business.

    She sort of apologised to me for having been so wrong, and we have had many interesting conversations about politics and people since then. We have in common the desire to build the community, this town, and that is enough to overcome any personal differences we may have.

    She has already made an appointment to talk to our new MP Pat Weir, about how we – that’s our local school – can do something about the $2000 application fee to begin the process of starting an after school care service at the school.

    We have the skills but not the money. How is a school with 2 1/2 staff able to raise $2000?

    So I hope Pat Weir is ready for her. I might go along with her and ask Pat why he referred to The Greens as “greenies’ in his mail outs during the last week of the election.

  85. February 10th, 2015 at 18:03 | #85

    Sounds good Julie. All the best with the after hours care campaign and your thoughts about what people think about Springborg sound really interesting, it makes sense the way you explain it. I hope AP (I am taking the lazy way out with spelling her name!) does get to form government soon though.

  86. February 10th, 2015 at 18:04 | #86

    And also yes, labor MPs who denigrate the Greens – they should grow up.

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