I’m underwhelmed …

… to put it mildly, by Kevin Rudd’s endorsement of the Coalition/IPA proposals for a variety of tax and policy distortions to subsidise economic activity in Northern Australia.

I get that a certain amount of this kind of thing is to be expected in an election campaign, but I hope we don’t see too much more of it.

43 thoughts on “I’m underwhelmed …

  1. Parliament has declared its policy, and reinforced – if I may use the expression – the right of every civilized country to control the terms upon which foreigners shall enter it. We have, as an independent country, a perfect right to indicate whether an alien shall or shall not be admitted within these shores. …

    Attorney General, Robert Menzies – 14 November 1934.

    The Government, and especially the Attorney-General, have bungled the matter inexcusably, the Attorney-General sacrificing accuracy and a sense of responsibility to his insatiable hunger for notoriety and the applause of his press claqueurs.

    From the same debate, Frank Brennan.

  2. @Jim Rose

    Is the northern territory the same place that would have been a big payer of the resource rent tax?

    No, since there’s bugger all iron ore and coal mining in the Northern Territory. Most of that tax is/will be coming out of WA (iron ore), Queensland and NSW (coal).

  3. Whatever happened to Rudd the great election campaigner? At the moment, he is a succession of thought bubbles. He needs notes to get through a debate.

    The proposed tax preferences for the NT has made Labor more unpopular in the now feeling rather left out WA were the WA Nats could win the 4th senate seat.

    Great campaigners stand for something and project vision and unity, not thought bubbles and a lack of depth and preparation.

  4. @may It’s original.

    Rudd is disappointing in the way he is absorbing nutty LNP policy, possibly to take the wind out of their sails. In this LNP have form, they only recently promised to destroy the NBN, now they are claiming to make it cheaper and just as fast. And as for climate change, Malcolm has totally flipped on that one.

    So when it comes to vision LNP ‘thought bubbles’ are of the silent but deadly type.

  5. PM-in-waiting Abbott is apparently onto a winner with the 26 week paid parental leave scheme despite axing the schoolkids bonus. Not only can redundant climate scientists retrain as nannies but any levy to pay for the scheme can seamlessly replace the crippling carbon tax.

    Note both Abbott and Rudd are ‘Big Australia’ enthusiasts. I distinctly recall around the time of the first coup that Gillard was not. Perhaps the 0.7m unemployed Australians will find work as mentors for the increased population. It’s yet another reason to doubt that we will be burning less coal.

  6. P M Lawrence, from last now closed thread:

    It seems to me that your objection — that my policy ‘institutionalizes’ parties — is specious. The parties are already institutionalized — for reasons that go way beyond the voting system. What we need first of all is to ensure that nobody/as few as possible are effectively disenfranchised. My system means that there are neither coerced nor wasted votes. Even someone wanting to vote for a far left or far right party or some independent gets a chance to be counted alongside all the other votes and hope for that candidate or party to win.

    That’s far better than we have now. Any well supported Indy has a show in my system as does any group of candidates that can threaten the 3% threshold nationally.

  7. Fran Barlow :
    P M Lawrence, from last now closed thread:
    It seems to me that your objection — that my policy ‘institutionalizes’ parties — is specious. The parties are already institutionalized — for reasons that go way beyond the voting system.

    That reading surprised me so much that I went and checked what I had written.

    You are switching from what I was trying to convey, which I think was fairly clear from the rest that followed, to the parties. Yes, the parties are institutionalised; that is, Labor, Liberal, Nationals, Greens, Democrats, and so on down even to One Nation and so forth.

    But that is not what the problem is. The problem isn’t that there are the institutionalised parties, those particular ones as such, but rather that the institutional structure effectively only allows approved forms of participation, so that only parties have salience (no “the”, i.e. generic). That institutionalises the party approach, which showed up in the very creation of One Nation. Had it not been for that institutionalising, there would probably have been Pauline Hanson running as an independent – and she wouldn’t have been saddled with all sorts of baggage brought in by entryists.

    The fact that those particular institutionalised parties already exist is not relevant, the fact that there is a sort of oligopoly by parties in general is – it’s a barrier to entry. And the wider system has institutionalised that; no “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” here.

    What we need first of all is to ensure that nobody/as few as possible are effectively disenfranchised. My system means that there are neither coerced nor wasted votes.

    Not unless you also get rid of compulsory voting and find a way for votes for an independent – just one candidate – to assist that one candidate. Not “wasting” a vote for A by switching it to helping B somewhere else, well, that is wasting it – by forcing voting into that sort of stylised channelling.

    Even someone wanting to vote for a far left or far right party or some independent gets a chance to be counted alongside all the other votes and hope for that candidate or party to win.
    That’s far better than we have now. Any well supported Indy has a show in my system as does any group of candidates that can threaten the 3% threshold nationally.

    No. For that, you would have to add further complications, effectively turning it into a list election at large. There is no realistic way to reconcile getting in independents with geographically spread support and also getting in candidates with concentrated local support. (And systems like yours often have anomalies that lead to lower representation when candidates’ support goes up, as the percentage changes can operate to change pole position for yet others, as it were – a bit like how poverty traps work.)

  8. @P.M.Lawrence

    the institutional structure effectively only allows approved forms of participation, so that only parties have salience (no “the”, i.e. generic). That institutionalises the party approach, which showed up in the very creation of One Nation.

    Given that public policy generally has to have a degree of universality about it, having parties makes sense. Elsewhere, I’ve suggested a more radical solution (a hybrid between sortition for candidate selection and election and deliberative voting) plus direct democracy for setting overall goals. That would reduce the parties to thinbk tanks lobbying from the sidelines and ensure that proetty much everyone was not a career politician or party hack. doubt that the career politicians and party hacks would permit it.

    Back in the world we live in though, I said that what we needed first of all was to ensure that nobody/as few as possible are effectively disenfranchised and that my system meant that there were neither coerced nor wasted votes. You responded:

    Not unless you also get rid of compulsory voting and find a way for votes for an independent – just one candidate – to assist that one candidate. Not “wasting” a vote for A by switching it to helping B somewhere else, well, that is wasting it – by forcing voting into that sort of stylised channelling.

    I would get rid of coerced preferencing, certainly, but as noted in addition to people being able to send to parliament someone that shares their values, if not in their electorate, then another, they can also help elect their own member, if that electorate is not allocated. A strong Indy can win on primaries + preferences. We are used to the idea of parties and there is a value to having them — just not as much as their weight in parliament suggests. A great many people identify with the major parties, even if I don’t. A changed system might over time, change their view on this.

    There is no realistic way to reconcile getting in independents with geographically spread support and also getting in candidates with concentrated local support.

    Of course there is. There will, inevitably, be quite a few unallocated seats and the Indies can win them in the traditional way. Windsor, Oakeshott, Katter, and Wilkie would all have won in this system.

    There’s always the possibility of like-minded Indies forming their own party in any event.

  9. The parlmer party and the greens are swapping preferences! No principles.

    Then again killean won oh communist preferences in 1961

  10. @Jim Rose

    The parlmer party (sic) and the greens are swapping preferences! No principles.

    {sigh} I troubled to check the preference ranking in QLD …

    Greens; Democrats; Sex Party; Labor; Palmer United Party; DLP; Family First; Katter’s Australian Party; LNP; One Nation; Australian Christians; Shooters & Fishers
    All Labor candidates will finish above the PUP. Green preferences will exhaust at that point. All the official rightwing parties follow after the ALP. Some LNP candidates will finish above some ALP candidates and they will get ALP and (most egregiously) Green preferences and of course all the rightwing preferences.

    I believe that preferences should be optional. If they were then I suspect The Greens would not direct them at all.

  11. Fran, The greens did not direct preferences in NSW, which under optional preferential voting delivered control of the upper house to the shooters and fishers and the christian democrats, apparently

  12. @Jim Rose

    The greens did not direct preferences in NSW, which under optional preferential voting delivered control of the upper house to the shooters and fishers and the christian democrats, apparently

    What’s your point, if any?

  13. @Jim Rose

    Proceeding on the assumption that you don’t already know how this works, I suggest you look into “Glenn Druery” – he was the champion who delivered the Shooters the NSW Upper House and was also working hand in glove with (supposedly ex-LNP) Greg Barns to lately destroy the Wikileaks Party by preferencing the ultra right above the Greens in an attempt – hopefully futile, but possibly yet successful – to deliver control of the Senate to the LNP via the election in WA of a Nationals at the expense of a Greens (Scott Ludlam).

    The Greens are not responsible for that.

  14. Fran Barlow :
    @P.M.Lawrence

    the institutional structure effectively only allows approved forms of participation, so that only parties have salience (no “the”, i.e. generic). That institutionalises the party approach, which showed up in the very creation of One Nation.

    Given that public policy generally has to have a degree of universality about it, having parties makes sense.

    I think you’re missing my point. I have no objection to having parties; my objection is to requiring parties as the only effective means for people to express themselves. As, when, and if it made sense for people to set up parties, they should do so – but that would be emergent rather than an institutional requirement, and it would not obstruct people from expressing themselves in government in other ways as, when, and if that made sense. It’s Procrustean to lop off or stretch everything that isn’t a party, even if on occasion someone just happens to fit and isn’t hurt by it.

    Elsewhere, I’ve suggested a more radical solution (a hybrid between sortition for candidate selection and election and deliberative voting) plus direct democracy for setting overall goals. That would reduce the parties to thinbk tanks lobbying from the sidelines and ensure that proetty much everyone was not a career politician or party hack. doubt that the career politicians and party hacks would permit it.
    Back in the world we live in though, I said that what we needed first of all was to ensure that nobody/as few as possible are effectively disenfranchised and that my system meant that there were neither coerced nor wasted votes. You responded:

    Not unless you also get rid of compulsory voting and find a way for votes for an independent – just one candidate – to assist that one candidate. Not “wasting” a vote for A by switching it to helping B somewhere else, well, that is wasting it – by forcing voting into that sort of stylised channelling.

    I would get rid of coerced preferencing, certainly, but as noted in addition to people being able to send to parliament someone that shares their values, if not in their electorate, then another, they can also help elect their own member, if that electorate is not allocated. A strong Indy can win on primaries + preferences.

    Oh? And isn’t that a tautology of a no true Scotsman sort, that when the institutional structure bars entry it must be “showing” that there wasn’t any strong support? It is better to have a system that lets people through when they are supported than one that defines that they are supported only when they have a machine that puts together support from all over – which is pretty much what a party is.

    We are used to the idea of parties and there is a value to having them — just not as much as their weight in parliament suggests. A great many people identify with the major parties, even if I don’t. A changed system might over time, change their view on this.

    There is no realistic way to reconcile getting in independents with geographically spread support and also getting in candidates with concentrated local support.

    Of course there is. There will, inevitably, be quite a few unallocated seats and the Indies can win them in the traditional way. Windsor, Oakeshott, Katter, and Wilkie would all have won in this system.

    But the traditional way is just precisely working in, through or with party machines! I’m talking about independents et al getting in as, well, independents.

    There’s always the possibility of like-minded Indies forming their own party in any event.

    Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s what I’ve been bloody telling you! That perpetuates the problem! If they can get in by institutionalising themselves and they do so because that’s their only way rather than as an emergent response to a need that was not manufactured like that, they become other than what people can do without parties – and it takes away from non-instutionalised, disintermediated practical options. There shall be no religion without a priesthood, in this secular political worship.

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