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Updates

June 23rd, 2016

A few updates on recent posts.

1. In my post on a better way of collecting fines, I linked to a paywalled article in the Australian Journal of Public Administration which I wrote with Bruce Chapman and others. Wiley (publishers of AJPA) got in touch and kindly arranged to make the article available free of charge. I had some trouble with the enhanced PDF version, but the basic one worked fine for me.

2. Hours after complaining about the conventional wisdom a Coalition win as a foregone conclusion I found a piece by Mark Kenny finally making the point that the evidence against this claim has been in plain view for weeks.

3. I was a bit disappointed by the discussion of my post on Labor and the Greens. Most of it consisted of arguments about the relative merits of the two parties, predominantly but not exclusively favoring the Greens (as I mostly do). The question for Greens supporters (and Labor supporters for that matter) is not whether their party is better but whether they regard the differences as being so great as to justify doing deals, implicit or otherwise, with the LNP. To my mind, at least, this would require identifying at least some major policy issues on which the LNP is preferable to the other left party.

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  1. Ivor
    June 23rd, 2016 at 08:35 | #1

    You are avoiding the practicalities of real life.

    In general all parties proclaim that they are better. This is the reason for their existence. Green ideology is based on deals because Green principles can be incorporated into both the ALP and LNP objectives.

    This applies even if there is no major policy issue on which the LNP is preferable to either other party.

    The real problem is the fact that people with Green concerns are isolated in their own little sect when the ALP has a more meaningful stream of environmentalists and a more meaningful 2016 election policy, such as:

    https://cdn.australianlabor.com.au/documents/Climate_change_action_plan_policy_paper.pdf

  2. Stewart Browne
    June 23rd, 2016 at 09:23 | #2

    Yeah, it was disappointing. However, it did illustrate your point of just how deeply entrenched each camp is, even down to street-level sympathisers. The Left should shoot the Coalition between the eyes if only it could stop finding reasons (and granted, there are many) to bicker. The Right succeed because they culturally know how “to do business” between themselves and have an instinct to do so above all other priorities. The Left will always marginalise itself because of its righteous desire to find and occupy the highest moral high ground. The fact there are inevitably differing views on where that lies is not a reason to sabotage each other.

  3. Stewart Browne
    June 23rd, 2016 at 09:26 | #3

    ^ “could”, not “should”

    Imagine an Australia where Labour is considered the Right, the Greens the Centre, and another, bolder party is considered to be the true Left, daring the others to always do better.

  4. Richard S
    June 23rd, 2016 at 11:53 | #4

    The problem with the construct is that it presumes a) that Labor is on the left (of centre), b) that the Greens are further to the left. There’s quite a trend (anecdotally) of LNP to Green migration, and increasing numbers of votes I’ve seen (in a Blue electorate, mind you) of Green 1, LNP 2 in preference terms. The LNP has left the small ‘l’ liberals far behind since Fraser’s era, and there’s not much room for them in Labor either. So be careful about assumptions of a neat linear spectrum. There are probably a number of policy issues where drawing the LNP back towards its historical roots might be easier to align with Green approaches than trying to pull Labor the other way. And we’re a very long way from a world where Australian politics is a balancing exercise between the providers of capital and the providers of labour.

  5. Ikonoclast
    June 23rd, 2016 at 12:29 | #5

    I agree that neither the Greens nor Labour should ever do deals with the LNP. Instead, they should always preference each other. In terms of deals, they need to sit down and hammer out, if possible, a kind of alliance where they could agree to partner up to form governments when they have enough rep. seats between them. This would probably entail them not being partners when in opposition; i.e maintaining their ideological and policy distinctions in those periods.

    This would be a situation where they competed policy-wise (and ideologically) while in opposition but presented a united front and traded preferences in an election. The main problem area would be refugee policy. How could they hammer out a combined approach on that issue I wonder?

  6. paul walter
    June 23rd, 2016 at 19:48 | #6

    Richard’s post is a good one. The truth is, there is no “left” in Ozpolitics…neither the Greens or Labor are invested with the sort of “consciousness” necessary for differences to be discussed on their merits.

    But then I move on to Ikon’s comment.. the main area of contention being refugee policy.

    No, I think it runs deeper and more fundamental than that and emphasises that the non-right has been wedged and split for so long and become so moncultural in both groupings that re-cognition is precluded through tribalism.

    It is the carry over from the McCarthyite splits of the nineteen fifties, except that the ALP right faction continues its war on leftist ideas with the Greens as small l proxies representing a mythical left.

    I see it as too late, unless Labor can get elected to continue the negotiations that Ikonoclast talks of with an incentive hope for changing bad things as with many Greens, but defeat will kill our way of life for good.

    Labor must begin to remember and regain understanding that neoliberalism is at odds with much of its mission. Likewise the Greens have to resolve their environmental concepts against the normative idea of open borders and flows of folk into the country that remain unknown. It’s always been about open borders rather than just helping refugees as a fair cause.

    As I said, probably too late now, the Howard Wedge has worked its evil magic and there is no real prospect of a dispassionate consideration of the issue within the Australian community and its political parties because the hard oligarchic right won’t allow the conditions for resolution and consciousness dies out in an information vaccuum, the symptom being doing deals with the nats and libs and the reactive scrapping for survival within the system, over the spoils of defeat.

    I think the discussion is pessimistic, not disappointing, on the basis that there seems no solution offering an escape from a political cul de sac without good will. There is no sense of threat, been 70 years since ww2, but there is a threat at this time and we have been too comfortable
    to identify where the danger lies through a complacency that sees Australia sleepwalking into disempowerment and exploitation.

    We are no longer able to empathise with”others” like refugees and aborigines and have become dominated by a peasant mentality that sees the Goose laying those rich eggs killed and gutted for no lasting gain.

    Ok, no more black mood ravings.. it’ s not what the Prof is hoping for and this writer cedes the page to any contributors of substance who can move things on from this point, but I’ll stick about because someone else might have something that resolves something I can’t resolve, through laziness, consequent ignorance, demoralisation and lack of brains anyway.

  7. Ernestine Gross
    June 24th, 2016 at 08:01 | #7

    JQ, re your point 3.

    Is it not possible for the Greens to asign (recommend) preferences according to electorates rather than along party lines?

    It seems to me the LNP in particular (the ALP to a lesser extent) consist of candidates that differ a lot (to a lesser extent) in their personal policy preferences. There are also independents.

  8. Tim Macknay
    June 24th, 2016 at 14:04 | #8

    O/T – Britain has voted to leave. The terrorists are winning.

  9. Ivor
    June 24th, 2016 at 14:19 | #9

    @Tim Macknay

    Hardly – the Third Estate has asserted its rights.

  10. Ikonoclast
    June 24th, 2016 at 14:20 | #10

    @Tim Macknay

    I won’t reply here. We probably need a Brexit post started by J.Q. (Hint, hint.)

  11. Jim Birch
    June 24th, 2016 at 16:55 | #11

    Labor and the Greens are more of an identity threat to each other than a policy threat.

    Which brings Brian to mind. And more-or-less explains the preference puerility.

  12. paul walter
    June 24th, 2016 at 18:36 | #12

    EG why would a”party” allocate vote preferences to the LNP?

    Because of sufficient provocation from the ALP on neoliberalism and its privatisation sandals over more than a decade and something to do with Labor’s untrustworty votes for FTA’s and surveillance legislation last year?

    The Tories are dissociative from reality, like Shakepeare’s Ophelia, but Labor’s denialism as to the real rationale for neoliberalism, its complicity with its implementation and anal stubborness in engaging with criticism concerning how its outlook and policies conflict with its mission in a real world stands out like a sore thumb.

  13. paul walter
    June 25th, 2016 at 01:16 | #13

    I think I know what Tim Macknay is mourning in his little “terrorists are winning” comment.

    I think also it is something that long been brewing and it involves globalisation of the dominant and less helpful type, thus the consequences the next generation will have to face, from accelerating Global Warming, to the downsizing and disintegration of democracies and civil societies, to constant strife throughout the globe as resource wars reduce once bearable countries to failed states characterised by incessant communal strife inflamed by knee jerk feudal ideologies and religious solutions with no bearing on reality..spoils of defeat.

  14. John Turner
    June 25th, 2016 at 12:27 | #14

    @Stewart Browne
    I don’t have to imagine, the present Labour Party is on the right and this has been the case for decades.

  15. Greg McKenzie
    June 27th, 2016 at 08:04 | #15

    What is your take on Chris Bowen’s projected fiscal policy under a future ALP government? The absence of any discussion of future government debt levels seems short-sighted. Can we trust any future ALP government not to spend budget surpluses? The role of the Greens as an honesty broker will be critical whomsoever wins power over the next ten years.

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