The miracle of democracy, Part IV

It’s finally over, and the outcome (if it holds) looks like the best possible. If it’s true that a country gets the government it deserves, we must all have been doing a lot of good deeds lately. Despite the efforts of both major parties to force us into a choice between focus-grouped piles of bribes and banality, we appear set for parliamentary reform, and a serious approach to climate change, tax reform and broadband policy[1].

fn1. Trying to watch the Windsor-Oakeshott press conference online was an object lesson in the inadequacies of our existing networks.

94 thoughts on “The miracle of democracy, Part IV

  1. Fran – you probably infer LDP alignment to the coalition through talking to me. In the last two elections I have been coalition leaning, although I did personally vote the ALP higher than the Liberals during the Latham election (with no regrets). Obviously those aligned with the LDP tend to vote for the LDP but how they vote in terms of second preference isn’t altogether clear. I know of many that lean towards the ALP and some like Jarrah lean towards the Greens. All agree that freedom is important but if they can’t have a freedom party they prioritise the freedoms they care most for. For example those in the LDP with a strong interest in firearm laws tended to be very anti-coalition in 2007, and particularily anti Howard. This was people who are pretty organisationally important.

    There certainly isn’t any official alignment with any of the major parties and for tactical reasons the LDP nearly always preferences the major parties last, especially in the senate.

    The whole exercise of putting minor parties and independents into major party camps is pretty unfair and counter productive to the democratic enterprise. If those in the LDP wanted to vote for the coalition why would they bother forming, funding and running a political party.

  2. It is fair to say that the LDP would be a lot more attractive to coalition voters than ALP voters, although as others have noted

    Check out MenziesHouse. Some in the coalition positively hate what the LDP and libertarians stands for.

  3. I infer it from the overall “free-enterprise” rubric while recognising that not all coalitionists tghink i t means the same thing the LDP does. Similarly, the ALP is seen widely as having some vaguely communitarian rubric and thus appeals more to those on the left, even if few actual leftists would recognise the kinds of communitarian values still espoused by the ALP as having any significant connection with socialism or even small-l liberal policy.

    Current 2PP is 50.09 to 49.91 in favour of the ALP. The ALP leads by 22,286 votes, (88.91% complete) updated 4:33pm

  4. Fran – whilst most people have an opinion on markets and economics it isn’t the political decider for a lot of people. Many people vote Liberal because that is what God would do. Or they vote Green because they like critters.

  5. Growing up in West Ryde, my family and indeed my entire street voted ALP, because they were connected to the unions. We lived two doors down the road from Cliff Dolan. The Liberals were seen as the sum of all evil, though until I was about 8 I found it hard to grasp why this was. I recall the story of my grandmother letting slip that she had voted Liberal in 1961 (the year that preferences from the communist candidate in Killen’s seat got him elected and let Menzies slide back in, just). Apparently my grandfather, the entire street and all the people at the Local Inn sent her to Coventry for about six weeks as this was seen as an unconscionable act.

  6. Growing up my parents didn’t vote because they were not citizens of Australia (despite having four kids that were). At the time I had no clue as to how they would have voted given the option even though politics was topical in our household. In conversation my father would figure out how the other person was inclined to vote and then adopt the opposite view. I think he found consensus quite boring. Actually he still does.

  7. TerjeP, you are correct in suggesting there are two main camps within the neo-conservative side of politics, those who believe in the free market and those who espouse to religion. But in Australia there remains a third group of old conservatives, like Katter, who believe the old ways of protectionism, and when parliament resumes I wouldn’t be surprised if the three amigos will send a few raspberry tarts towards The Nationals.

  8. @Alice
    Id like to see protectionism returned (some Mosh – its a question of balance over important matters like food production and protecting industry sufficient to self sustain here and maintain at least a degree healthy variety to our industries instead of a conncentration in raw rmaterials).

    I would like to see the free trade agreement burned.

    Im just waiting for the day the government gets sued big time by some bankrupt foreign company with a head office in the Seychelles who has done little for any production here and added nothing to the tax base – yet we will be asked to bail the foolish government out with our taxes – just like the taxpayers in the US were called on to bail out banks.

    Just like the taxpayers in Canada were forced to cough up 130 mill for a bankrupt US water company, when they closed the water plant, sacked half a town and point blank refuse to supply a basic necessity. (A water supplying necessity thats probably been running for almost a century quite well as a public institution).

    This is not free trade at all and its false to say it is.

  9. Alice – bank bailouts are not part of the free market. Nobody disagrees. So why criticise free markets by bringing up bank bailouts? It seems a little weird.

  10. @TerjeP
    If the banks hadnt failed under an increasiongly “free market” banking environment with little regulation over an increasing number of “off regulation radar” derivatives…we perhaps wouldnt have needed to bail the banks out Terje.

    It seems to me they couldnt regulate themselves (which is a core tenet of liberalism isnt it? ie genuine question) and investment banks like Goldman moved increasingly from the pursuit of profit from genuine value stocks to profit from pure speculation. But then Terje, how do you account for Goldman being around taking massive profits in 1929 from speculation. Maybe they do what they do well (not in question)….but maybe they dont know when to self regulate any more than you or I do?

  11. Hi Alice: Could I ask you to remember your limit of one comment per thread per day
    Terje: To keep parity, I request one comment per thread per day from you also.

  12. Oh no!
    Please, just the thought of losing Alice and Terje in particular has me into almost instantaneous withdrawal symptoms, particularly paroxyms and convulsions, combined with a strange hee hee hee sound that emates complementarily from between this writers lips.

  13. sorry, “emanates”, not “emates”, which is more like “emotes”, which is probably what our delinquents did verbally when they read the prof’s comment.

  14. Terje: To keep parity, I request one comment per thread per day from you also.

    JQ – This rule is one that Alice really struggles with. I doubt I would be much better. I enjoy dialogue and would feel stiffled by an artificial comment restriction. As such I feel that this is a rule that I can’t successfully honor and would probably not enjoy even if I could. I’ll simply move on as a practical alternative. If you decide to lift the rule at some future date then I might try my luck again.

    A little nostalgia. I think I first emailed you to discuss economics some time circa 1998. I was pleasantly surprised to get a reply. Later on you started a blog and I’ve followed it since very early in the piece. I’m not sure if it is my earliest comment but the following page shows one from 2003:-

    http://www.johnquiggin.com/archives/001383.html

    The comment I made on that occasion still rings true. It sits very close to the heart of my economic worldview. Producers and their incentives, be they worker or investor, should be the centre piece of our economic model.

    As an aside it is amusing to see on that piece a comment by a blogger called 24601. I had no idea who 24601 was at the time but I now know him quite well and have on occasion even enjoyed a beer with him.

    Sorry about the times I annoyed you and made you cranky. Obviously I disagree with you on a lot of fundamental stuff but you have been a good sport all things considered.

  15. @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    Good morning Terje!

    Dont take it too hard. Neither you or I have made the Prof cranky. He just likes other people to have comment ability…lets face it – we do do a bit of swamping in all honesty (both you and I). Thats the problem when the blog is interesting. Would you post as often in Crikey or say the newspapers blogs ?? (which are pretty one liner low intelligence level posts) and lets face it…you can be boiled and cannibalised over at Catallyxy!. Or I would be anyway.

  16. @Alice
    “you can be boiled and cannibalised over at Catallyxy!”

    Alice, we’ve had our differences, but if you want unmoderated debate and have the courage of your convictions, you are welcome at the Cat. There’s an unrepentant communist, THR, who is a regular. You can bolster each other. And FDB is centre-left and not worried about getting into the mix. Adrien is all over the place ideologically, but instinctively left-wing. Dover_beach is conservative (not libertarian) and agreed with half of Katter’s demands, so I’m sure you’ll find something to agree on. Just make sure you ignore JC – it infuriates him and reason and logic don’t work on him anyway 😉

  17. @Jarrah
    Jarrah – believe it or not I wouldnt like an unrepentant communist for a bolster or a Friday might drink alone (zzzz). There would have to be at least a couple of centre lefts, a Dover an Adrian and a Terje and you.
    I might take a look.
    JC sounds intriguing.

  18. “It’s finally over, and the outcome (if it holds) looks like the best possible. If it’s true that a country gets the government it deserves, we must all have been doing a lot of good deeds lately.”

    Exactly. Its just marvelous. Could not be better. I cannot understand the bile thats been piled on the three statesmen. Its a mystery to me.

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