Election on 7 September

At least that’s what I’m reading. As I’ve argued before, I think this is a mistake for a number of reasons. In fact, I spent a fair bit of yesterday working up a piece arguing the case for allowing Parliament to sit again, and holding an election in October. [Irony on] If only I had run it on Friday, the course of history would doubtless have been changed [Irony off]. It’s now only of academic interest, in the pejorative sense of the term, so I’ll turn my attention to issues that actually matter.

My views on the election are simple. Whatever the weaknesses of the Rudd government, it’s far preferable to the disaster that Abbott would give us. So, I’ll certainly be putting Labor ahead of the Coalition in the House of Representatives. I’ll probably give my first preference to the Greens, though if my vote matters in Ryan, Labor will have swept Queensland. Both Labor and Greens have good local candidates, so I’d happily support either, and I’ll equally happily give my last preference to the LNP incumbent, unless someone truly awful runs.

The big issue is the Senate. Regardless of the Lower House outcome, it’s critical that a Labor-Green majority should be returned, and therefore that Labor and the Greens work together. This was one of Rudd’s big weaknesses last time round, and hasn’t been helped by some statements from his frontbench, or from perceptions on both sides of the way the last Labor-Green deal worked out.

87 thoughts on “Election on 7 September

  1. @Megan #37

    I read lots of books, I’ll try to get hold of Silver’s.

    Of course he was essentially referencing Tetlock who in turn was taking the idea from Isaih Berlin who got it from ancient Greeks. I’ve seen it summarised thus

    This exemplifies the problem. Read it back…SLOWLY.

  2. @Megan
    You still don’t get it – as usual you’re talking like a hedgehog. Take off the blinkers and grapple with the uncomfortable facts.

  3. @kevin1

    Aha! So you are the “fox” – able to believe in a plethora of little ideas and take a multitude of approaches toward a problem, more tolerant of nuance, uncertainty, complexity, and dissenting opinion… and I am the “hedgehog” – a type A personality who believes in Big Ideas – in governing principles about the world that behave as though they were physical laws and undergird virtually every interaction in society.

    It hasn’t occurred to you that perhaps it’s the other way around, maybe?

  4. John Brookes :

    Kevin :@Ikonoclast Yep. I’ve used Stuckler & Basu’s work to counter claims that the pink batts killed 4 people. The Liberals anti-stimulus stance could have killed more as Stuckler & Basu’s research finds that there have been 4000+ “excess” suicides in the US as a result of the poor economy and austerity policies.

    Great point. I never thought of that.On topic, despite not liking Kevin, I shall vote for Labor (even though I said I wouldn’t). The thought of Tony and the Libs getting in is too much to stomach.

    New Zealand research shows considerable health benefits from home insulation in reduced days off sick, visits to the doctor and hospital admissions. Ref Howden-Chapman et al. The benefits are not just reduced energy consumption.

  5. @kevin1

    Now I get it! I had to read your comment R-E-A-L-L-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y because it didn’t make any point.

    But I now understand! It is impossible for anybody to know anything ABOUT Silver’s book unless they have READ it.

    Very “foxy”!

  6. @Fran Barlow
    I am curious to know why, given your stated views, you intend putting any numbers against the ALP and Coalition candidates at all, in preference to just leaving those squares blank–given that, as you correctly state, your vote won’t be counted either way.

  7. @Ikonoclast
    The invalidity of so-called ‘Langer-style votes’, including in the lower house election, is not a matter for doubt: it is unambiguously clear (that they are invalid), and Fran Barlow is explicit that she is aware of this and has made her choice in that knowledge.

  8. @J-D

    I am curious to know why, given your stated views, you intend putting any numbers against the ALP and Coalition candidates at all, in preference to just leaving those squares blank–given that, as you correctly state, your vote won’t be counted either way.

    I suppose one could call it satire. I find having to number all boxes ludicrous, and the Langer method pokes fun at the process. It’s the tiny payment I get for taking the trouble to mark a ballot, suspecting it won’t be counted.

    I also understand that in practice, despite the law, some returning officers do count them if there is only one number in error and those after have exhausted, or the value concerns the last two numbers.

  9. In my opinion Abbott’s centrepiece promise to repeal the carbon tax is cretinous and doesn’t reflect well on Australia as a progressive society. Having said that I’m also sure the way it was implemented would never deliver 80% emissions cuts long term. However Abbott didn’t offer a plausible alternative, more like a Neanderthal throwing raw meat to the tribe. If he becomes PM we’re going the same way as the Neanderthals.

    A side angle is that Rudd was elected (perhaps for the only time) in 2007 at the height of El Nino when everybody worried about climate change. I think the weather the first week in September may influence the vote. Southeastern Australia was about 2C warmer than normal in July and so far August feels cold due to the wind. What will early September be? Interesting if/when Abbott is PM summer is a scorcher.

  10. Fran
    You could vote formally in the Senate if you were prepared to number some of the 12 LNP/ALP candidates who were not going to be elected, but not numbering any of their candidates who might get elected. Then your vote would be formal under the 90% rule. Such a vote would not be giving an effective vote to the LNP/ALP parties.

  11. @Fran Barlow the langer vote is a desire for a first past the post system such as in the UK and Canada and in NZ until 1996. it leads to rather lopsided results when support is divided between more than two parties. also makes it very hard for new parties to get off the ground

  12. @Fran: may I humbly suggest preferencing one ahead in the house and the other ahead of it in the senate? And, of course, both firmly behind as many of the other ratbags as preferred. Of those two possibilities, my preference would be Greens-everyoneelse-Lib-Lab in the House and Greens-everyoneelse-Lab-Lib in the senate, but as you will.

  13. The New Statesman has a piece up (“Jimmy Mubenga: coroner finds “pervasive racism” among G4S guards”) that includes the following:

    I would add one further point: it’s also vital to draw the link between tragedies like the death of Mubenga and the way immigrants are discussed in the media and politics. We’ve seen a row develop in recent weeks over Home Office publicity stunts – the billboard van telling illegal immigrants to “Go Home”, and the live tweeting of the arrest of suspected irregular migrants; arrests in which some have claimed racial profiling was at work. But if the style of delivery is new, the attitudes are not. Such things are not just distasteful, but damaging.

    Advocates of anti-immigrant policies will deny that their ideas, and their language, have anything to do with this sort of tragedy. But how we talk about it matters. Language helps create the climate in which abuses go unpunished – unlooked for, even, except when the guards go “too far” and end up killing a man. If you start thinking of human beings as “illegals”, then don’t be surprised at the result when those humans are treated as unwanted waste.

    In recent years we have been repeatedly told by politicians that we need to talk about immigration. Today’s report is evidence that we also need a conversation about racism.

    How could anyone still pretend that “Abbott would be worse” when the ALP has given more than $1billion of your money to serco and G4S to do this sort of stuff?

    You are paying for (see the above report) this to be done in your name:

    Evidence of “pervasive racism” among G4S detention custody officers who were tasked with removing detainees

  14. @Joel

    May I humbly suggest preferencing one ahead in the house and the other ahead of it in the senate?

    Humbly or proudly or even forcefully if it pleases you.

    I will never give an effective preference to a Liberal or similar. The ALP is currently similar.

  15. @Mel

    The analogy fails Mel. Unlike the “suicide squad” in Life of Brian, we lack the resources to make a qualitatively better choice with a ballot.

    We are asked will you endorse unethical conduct with your ballot, or will you accept that it will not be counted? Your choice.

    FTR, Christine Milne does not accept this description and wants Greens voters to cast formal ballots. I disagree with her on this in every division where an effective preference will reside with the ALP or the Liberals/Nationals or similar.

    If preferencing were optional, I’d have a different view.

    @JohnGoss

    You could vote formally in the Senate if you were prepared to number some of the 12 LNP/ALP candidates who were not going to be elected

    It’s hard to determine who they are before voting, so it’s safer to avoid them. At most I might include a vote for the last of each of the six but that’s not going to get me much closer to the 90% rule. If there are 90 candidates, I have to number 81, so it might just work, but if the number is lower it starts to become impossible. Even then, that might entail giving preferences to repulsive indies who might be elected as well.

  16. Fran
    I think, that because of party tickets in the Senate and the large number who vote above the line, you can be certain that the bottom 2 LNP Senate candidates and the bottom 3 ALP candidates won’t be elected, so its only the top 7 LNP ALP candidates you have to avoid numbering. I agree there is an infinitesimal probability that a rats and mice candidate might get up, but the overwhelming probability is that the full value of your vote would help elect a Green Senator, or if that didn’t happen your vote would be exhausted.

  17. Some fun with the Daily Terr0r

    @JohnGoss

    I agree there is an infinitesimal probability that a rats and mice candidate might get up, but the overwhelming probability is that the full value of your vote would help elect a Green Senator, or if that didn’t happen your vote would be exhausted.

    It’s an interesting idea. I will see if the ballot is large enough to permit that and how infinitessimal I can make my chance of electing some other merchant of stupidity or hatred. If I can earnestly say I was very greatly surprised that one such was elected, I suppose I could argue good faith.

    Then again, it does go against the grain to participate in a coerced vote. One does have to consider whether participation entails rewarding them for their coercion.

    @JimRose

    the langer vote is a desire for a first past the post system such as in the UK and Canada and in NZ until 1996.

    Strictly speaking, it isn’t. It’s a desire for optional preferential. Langer allows you to mark more than one.

    it leads to rather lopsided results when support is divided between more than two parties

    It can, but really, at the very least, there should be a new voting system based on some form of PR — I prefer a single-member PR system using lists, in which candidates would be allocated seats based on their party’s national vote and the local support of the candidate in the seat. Some seats could return candidates after quotas were filled by the results of an optional preferential ballot.

  18. The impact of Tory expansionary austerity in Britain:

    More than half a million Britons have resorted to using food banks to stave off hunger and destitution, the Government has been warned.

    Major charities signalled their alarm over a dramatic rise in the nation’s “hidden hungry” – families who are forced to ask for help to feed themselves – because of wage cuts, the squeeze on benefits and the continuing economic downturn. The numbers have trebled in the past year alone and are likely to continue rising rapidly despite Britain’s status as one of the world’s wealthiest nations, according to a joint report by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty.

    They say cuts to welfare payments – including below-inflation rises in benefits, new Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions and reassessment of entitlement to invalidity benefits – are the biggest cause of the surge in demand for food banks in all parts of the country. The charities are also fiercely critical of the numbers of mistakes and delays in benefits payments, which leave claimants without cash through no fault of their own and lead to “food uncertainty” among Britain’s poorest families.

    Australia under Abbott would be tempted to head down the same path. This may not matter to faux leftists who dismiss the Australian working class as dispensable pawns, or in Fran Barlow’s words, a “mere subset”, but it does matter if you are a lefty who is genuinely concerned about the conditions of life for working class Australians.

  19. Megan earlier asked for evidence of the breakdown of social trust, which various researchers have linked with strong form multiculturalism. Here is some good evidence from Britain:

    Today only 27 per cent of Labour supporters believe “social injustice” is the reason people are in poverty, down from 41 per cent in 1986. The number who blame the individual rose from 13 per cent to 22 per cent over the same period.

    Amongst the public as a whole, 54 per cent now believe that if benefits were not so generous, people would learn to stand on their own two feet – up from 33 per cent in 1987. The proportion who believe the unemployed could find a job if they wanted to more than doubled from 27 per cent to 56 per cent over the same period. Attitudes have hardened among younger adults: the gap between 18-34 year-olds and older age groups has halved.

    The proportion of the public who believe people “live in need” because of laziness or lack of willpower has risen from 12 per cent to 23 per cent since 1994.

    Does PrQ have a view on the impact of cultural relativism and strong form multiculturalism on social trust and public support for social democracy?

  20. @Mel

    The link doesn’t mention “social trust” or “multiculturalism”. You originally asserted:

    social trust has largely broken down thanks to the rampant multiculturalism

  21. Fran Barlow :
    Some fun with the Daily Terr0r
    @JohnGoss

    .
    .
    .

    it leads to rather lopsided results when support is divided between more than two parties

    It can, but really, at the very least, there should be a new voting system based on some form of PR — I prefer a single-member PR system using lists, in which candidates would be allocated seats based on their party’s national vote and the local support of the candidate in the seat. Some seats could return candidates after quotas were filled by the results of an optional preferential ballot.

    The system I like best for this purpose is cumulative voting. With that, you would have multi-member constituencies and voters would have several votes each to “spend” among candidates at their own discretion with those candidates with the biggest “spend” getting in, e.g. 6 votes in 2 or 3 member constituencies (those numbers were chosen to make splitting an individual’s choice convenient and for purposes of illustration). That’s reasonably proportional, allowing minor candidates to get in yet also allowing slates of candidates to be formed while leaving it up to voters to split their choices with a fair certainty about the effect of doing so – and not invidiously forcing any benefit for unwanted candidates. Interestingly, no political parties have ever freely countenanced this system (though some municipalities and corporate boards have had it imposed on them by the courts). Also interestingly, some 19th century British constituencies approximated this system by returning more than one member (though it was still only one voter, one vote), which first let Labour members into the 19th century Conservative-Liberal duopoly – and, of course, that was one of the earliest things the Labour Party reformed away in favour of a uniform first past the post system for every constituency, so kicking away the ladder for minority interests that Labour had itself climbed up. Not everything labelled “reform” is what it seems (earlier rounds of “reform” under the Liberals had imposed a standardised property qualification on constituencies in the West Country which had grandfathered voters whose ancestors had qualified, no doubt coincidentally cutting the Conservative vote when those constituencies were redistributed to match the fewer voters they got out of it).

  22. Megan,

    A part of social trust is not believing that folk on welfare are all lazy malingerers ripping off the system.

    The article doesn’t state a cause for changing attitudes but I think it is probably linked to a toughening of attitudes towards “outsiders” and this in turn may be related to things likethis.

    I think it is germane to note that the biggest, most ethnically divided of all western democracies, the USA, doesn’t even have a true left wing working class party. By American standards, Tony Abbott is arguably a moderate Democrat.

    The capitalists have sold the Left the noose that is extreme cultural relativism and identity politics and many lefties have obligingly climbed the gallows steps and placed their necks in the noose.

  23. @P.M.Lawrence

    Thanks for your suggestion. I agree that it wouldbe an improvement on our current arrangements, though I rather suspect that it would intensify the drift towards apolitical, trolling, negative campaigning.

    I see no good reason though, not to have a system in which, as now, parties submit candidates for each electorate and the primary votes for each party are tallied and become their “quota”. Providing they get at least 3% nationally (or state-wide in a state election), they then get allocated that proportion of the seats in the House of Reps (Legislative Assembly in the states), rounded down to the nearest integer. So 38% of 150 seats would get you 55 seats. 11.7% would get you about 17 seats.

    Any undistributed allocations would go to those who actually won the leftover seats after the allocations (ranked by performance) had been done. This would allow for strong local or regional candidates to still play a role, and ensure that those who voted could beleivethat their vote would help elect someone of their preference, idf not in their seat,then in some other. There would in practice be fewer sinecure seats.

  24. Fran Barlow :
    @P.M.Lawrence
    Thanks for your suggestion. I agree that it wouldbe an improvement on our current arrangements, though I rather suspect that it would intensify the drift towards apolitical, trolling, negative campaigning.

    That would only happen to the extent that they deserved it, and would be offset by the range of realistic candidacies. For instance, in a two member seat with four realistic candidates (say), each candidate would get more mileage by saying “pick me” than by saying “don’t pick him”, because the latter turns votes onto all the other three candidates and not just onto the one pushing that line.

    I see no good reason though, not to have a system in which, as now, parties submit candidates for each electorate and the primary votes for each party are tallied and become their “quota”…

    There’s at least one very good reason: it institutionalises parties, making them part of the system themselves. Not only does that create an incentive to construct parties to implement things when otherwise an independent would be a practical response to an ad hoc situation, parties that hang around regardless even after their reasons have faded like One Nation, not only does that create circular tests for defining what parties are from whether they were around before or matched the precedents of what was around before (so hindering new entrants of new sorts), but also it entrenches the control of parties over members – it creates self perpetuating structures separate and distinct from any actual wishes of the electorate. It is far better not to have parties as part of the system but only as emergent phenomena arising from what people actually want to implement to help themselves, because that keeps them as servants and not masters with an existence in their own right rather than as mere emanations. Any system that builds in parties with an advantage over individual independent members (say) has also built in a barrier to members exercising their skills, experiences and consciences in an independent way, the very thing that Burke pointed out was a valuable thing to bring to the table.

  25. @Mel
    I think you need to research the history of US politics. Both US parties were formed by whites. The Democratic party being from the South while the GOP was from the more liberal north. Nothing to do with multiculturalism, a term the Americans wouldn’t really acknowledge.

  26. Testing. Why is my comment of August 8th, 2013 at 10:36 – with no links other than to another commenter here – still awaiting moderation?

  27. why don’t intelligent people argue more for voting senator online (both in the reps and in the senate).

    I can’t see any downside to this.

  28. When someone writes an paragraph he/she retains the idea of a user in his/her brain that how
    a user can know it. So that’s why this paragraph is great. Thanks!

  29. iain :
    why don’t intelligent people argue more for voting senator online (both in the reps and in the senate).
    I can’t see any downside to this.

    parties make preference deals based on policy positions.

    in the senate, parties on both sides want to get the preferences of the small parties. many of these minows are unknown to most voters. their preferences make a difference.

  30. Rupert Murdoch has the newspaper monopoly in Brisbane.

    On Wednesday there will be a “People’s Forum” in (Murdoch’s) Brisbane.

    It will be held at (Murdoch’s) Bronco’s Leagues Club. Moderated by (Murdoch’s) David Speers and televised by (Murdoch’s) pay-channel SkyTV.

    The participants will be (Murdoch’s) Tony Abbott and (Murdoch’s) Kevin Rudd.

    I’m pretty sure the concentration of media ownership, and media influence, in the hands of just one American citizen will be a topic they won’t quite get around to discussing.

  31. To be fair, I should have pointed out that it has been organised by (Murdoch’s) Galaxy Research.

    Not to be confused with (Murdoch’s) Newspoll.

    All day long (Murdoch’s) talking points are repeated on the ABC and in Fairfax.

    Please tell me how that level of concentration of power, control and influence is good for democracy.

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