A new sandpit for long side discussions, idees fixes and so on. Unless directly responding to the OP, all discussions of nuclear power, MMT and conspiracy theories should be directed to sandpits (or, if none is open, message boards).

144 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. @Ivor

    Why did you ignore the actual policy …

    I couldn’t find the ALP “actual policy” you quote from. Do you have a link?

    I found a “draft” for a policy platform that looked like what you quoted, but their website ( doesn’t mention refugees as far as I can see?

  2. @Megan

    How to you raise that issue by saying:

    …live broadcasts of daily executions

    …machine gunning 10 refugees.

    Anyone honestly reading the ALP policy will see it is divided up into;

    – orderly pathway to resettlement in Australia and

    – irregular travelers.

    What ALP policy is, is one thing, what others deliberately misconstrue it is, is another.

    Everyone knows that supporting different parties does not mean supporting every policy of that party. This would be Stalinism.

    Forming stupid little sects based on such principles, and splitting due to some variation, is nauseating.

  3. @Ivor

    My original post posed a hypothetical (“What would happen if…?”).

    I can’t see anywhere where I have misrepresented or misconstrued the ALP refugee policy.

    Anyone honestly reading the ALP policy …

    Where is this policy – can you provide a link?

  4. @Megan

    Geez, I would have thought you would have read it before throwing out all that ill-informed nonsense.

    Any ALP electorate office, or State office would have been able to direct you.

    There are always the public libraries who can get copies of relevant pages through inter-library loans or Copies-direct etc.

    Didn’t you do this?

  5. @Ivor

    I got it from the APH, as I wrote earlier.

    If that is incorrect (as you suggest) then could you provide a link to the ALP policy you have been referring to in this discussion?

  6. Ivor,

    I got it from the APH, as I wrote earlier.

    If that is incorrect (as you suggest) then could you provide a link to the ALP policy you have been referring to in this discussion?

  7. What ALP policy is, is:

    -mandatory, indefinite, offshore detention (including children) with an absolute bar on settlement in Australia.

    Someone might say the would prefer a different policy, but if they support the ALP then they must accept that they are supporting ALP policies.

  8. @Megan

    I find it hard to believe that those strategies would be effective. Are there any examples of their being successful in forestalling the passage of legislation? I don’t know of any.

  9. Joe Hockey, Treasurer, states that the LNP never set a date on achieving a surplus. I guess I was listening to a different LNP during the last election campaign, for they clearly stated they would take us to surplus in the first year of their government, and every year after that. Lying about lying is lying. I know the ALP made some claims which they hastily denied, once the economic conditions failed to prevail in their favour: the MSM were all over them. Not getting anywhere near the same treatment of the LNP for their pernicious clap-trap.

    They ought to set up a politician’s equivalent of the “Swear Jar”, whereby they chuck in a dollar every time they utter another lie. If they had a few of those jars lying around, we’d soon get enough dollar coins to bring Australia’s budget back into surplus—at no cost to the voters.

  10. @Megan

    Everyone assumes that anyone trying to deal with different parties policies on anything would at least have the decency to read the actual policy first.

    Why are you now asking for a link? You may need to visit a library or contact an ALP State office.

    Why did you not chase up the policy before misconstruing it?

    You have clearly not read the ALP policy.

    You are making stuff up for your own purposes.

    Such is the parlous state of the many silly little groups we see barking at the ALP from outside.

    Incompetence breeds incompetence, so they all run away and get into their own huddle and congratulate themselves on how correct they really are, expelling or slitting away from anyone they disagree with. This is why they are called sects.

  11. @Ivor

    I provided a link to the APH, which is where the policy can be found.

    You appear to be denying that that is the policy.

    You provided a quote (which you say is from the ALP policy) but didn’t provide a link or a source. It looks to me like the source you have used is actually an aspirational statement from May 2012 rather than the actual ALP policy.

    Now, if you can’t provide anything more substantial to back up your claim that the ALP policy is not as stated at the APH link that suggests you are incorrect.

    Do you see the point? You can’t say that what I have linked is NOT the ALP policy unless you have a source that shows us what IS the ALP policy.

    That’s why I’ve been asking for your source.

  12. @Megan



    Get the real Policy and you will find the words I quoted, and do not pretend it was some aspirational statement.

    You have been told the source, and how to get a copy.

    Of course it is ALP Policy – it is at page 173 etc.

    Consequently you are just producing denialism.

    You have not even read it.

  13. @Ivor

    I really don’t see how a Marxian thinker can support the modern Australian Labor Party. It is so neoliberal it’s ridicuolous. They have no left-wing policies at all.

  14. Thanks for the link JD, but that appears to be from 2011 (?).

    The policies actually implemented by the ALP, as listed in the APH document from February 2014, and unchanged as far as any information I have been able to find, are as I listed above.

    -mandatory, indefinite, offshore detention (including children) and no chance of settlement in Australia.

  15. J-D

    Judging from Megan’s latest falsification, it appears you can lead a donkey to a policy, but you can’t make them read.

    This is going to come as a bit of a shock to Megan, but mature political parties accept members even if the have different views on policies.

    For sectarians – support for a group is support for whatever dogma or writ that they stick on their banners. Dissenters are excoriated, baited, provokes and expelled or the group splinters and wastes its days away arguing with other groups. Once a dogma is set – despite their facts being wrong – they persist, seemingly until the end of time.

    It is an old, old story. See (well worth browsing):

    Ignore the wingers, we need broad, well informed, practical organising.

  16. @Megan

    That’s the platform adopted by the most recent ALP National Conference, the 46th, which did indeed take place in December 2011; so it remains the party’s national platform until a new one is adopted by a future National Conference. The 47th ALP National Conference is scheduled for July 2015.

    I am guessing that the ‘APH’ you are citing is the Australian Parliament House website? (I can’t see that you provided a more specific citation; I apologise if I missed it.) If I’m guessing right about what your source is, they don’t have the authority to determine the ALP National Platform; only the ALP National Conference has that authority. It appears from what you wrote that they quoted Kevin Rudd; he also doesn’t (and didn’t) have the authority to determine the ALP National Platform.

  17. @Ikonoclast

    Its entirely an individuals choice depending on their competencies, experiences, understanding and expectations.

    The party of first resort, is always the party supported by the broad trade union movement.

    Trying to set up idiotic alternatives or remaining in self-serving isolation is no substitute.

    The political landscape is littered with such enterprises – Gordon Barton’s Australia Party, Don Chipp’s Democrats, and I hold out little hope for the Green’s unless they can gain support from trade unions and the ALP breaks ties with unions (which some are pushing for).

    Then things may change.

  18. There are some obvious differences between the 2011 document and the policies subsequently implemented by the ALP, for example:

    at paragraph 157:

    ? Labor will ensure that asylum seekers who arrive by irregular means will not be punished for their mode of arrival.

    at 168:

    ? children…will not be detained in an immigration detention centre (IDC)
    ? detention that is indefinite or otherwise arbitrary is not acceptable…
    ? detention in an immigration detention centre is only to be used as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time
    ? people in detention will be treated fairly and reasonably within the law
    ? conditions of detention will ensure the inherent dignity of the human person.

    The actual really existing ALP policy is at odds with the 2011 “Platform”.

  19. As is obvious, I’m not in the ALP.

    Maybe we’ve been talking at cross-purposes.

    The “ALP policies” aren’t what the politicians implement, or what they announce they are going to do, but what the conference agrees to as the “Platform”?

    So how do I describe the ALP actual treatment of refugees if it isn’t “ALP policy”?

  20. Labor for Refugees has been campaigning vigorously and persistently since 2001 in an effort to improve conditions for refugees and asylum seekers. Megan considers (if I have read correctly) that no improvement in conditions for refugees and asylum seekers has resulted (meaning all that effort has gone to waste). I suppose it’s possible a well-informed member of Labor for Refugees might dispute that, but personally I incline to the view that Megan is most likely right on this point.

    As far as I can tell, Megan’s view is that everybody who wants to improve conditions for refugees and asylum seekers (like the members of Labor for Refugees) should withhold all forms of support from the ALP: not only formal party membership (I’m guessing) but also votes, donations, and all forms of campaigning assistance.

    What I don’t get is any way in which this strategy of withholding support is likely to improve conditions for refugees and asylum seekers. There are lots of people who never provide any support to the ALP, and I don’t see how their doing so has had any effect on conditions for refugees and asylum seekers.

  21. I don’t necessarily adopt that interpretation, but that last bit could also be expressed in reverse:

    “What I don’t get is any way in which this strategy of withholding maintaining support is likely to improve conditions for refugees and asylum seekers.”

    Especially given that the ALP, in my view, takes a lot of its support for granted – and who can blame them since there is a large cohort who appear to support them even while saying they oppose those policies.

    I understand the simply logical position that it is possible to support a political party but prefer that on some issues they had different “policies”, it must be a matter of how much one cares about the policies in question.

    I think it is fair to frame this as: “I dislike the policy but not enough to demand its change or withdraw support.”

  22. @Megan

    If you say that you are opposed to the immigration and border control policies implemented by the ALP governments from 2007 to 2013, your meaning is clear enough; if you say that you are also opposed to the immigration and border control policies implemented by the ALP governments from 1983 (or whatever other start date you choose) to 1996, that’s also clear enough; if you say that you are opposed to the stance being taken now by the ALP in Parliament in relation to the government’s latest proposals for immigration and border control, once again your meaning is clear enough.

  23. @Megan

    I didn’t assert that supporting the ALP will improve conditions for refugees and asylum seekers. Suppose you’re right about that. If so, doesn’t that mean that both supporting the ALP and withholding support from the ALP go on a long list of courses of action that it’s possible for people to adopt but which will not have the effect of improving conditions for refugees and asylum seekers?

  24. At the very real risk of being wrong, my reading of Megan’s position is that the ALP’s more recent actions with respect to refugees is at odds with what has been presented as the 2011 policy document, i.e. “National Platform”, Australian Labor, 46th National Conference, 2011. I’d say that what Kevin Rudd stated the ALP would do with respect to unauthorised maritime arrivals (having no visa), in the lead-up to the Sep 2013 election, is at least part of what Megan is criticising as being unacceptable treatment of asylum seekers.

    Megan’s further point (if I’m reading it right) is that to support the ALP while their last stated position (presumably Kevin Rudd’s statements as PM, in the lead-up to the Sep 2013 election) is active, doesn’t provide the ALP with any incentive to change that position. Now, if she chooses to vote for a different party because they have a better (in her eyes) asylum seeker policy, then two things may come of that: i) win or lose, the ALP, in post-mortem mode, discover that this was a key reason they lost X voters to other parties; ii) the party she voted for actually get the votes to run the joint.

    The obverse, which Megan points out, is that if she simply votes for the ALP as a default, it isn’t going to encourage the ALP to shift their position on asylum seekers arriving by boat, etc.

    In other words: If ALP UMA policy is BAD by Megan’s standards, then she won’t vote for them; if ALP UMA policy is GOOD by Megan’s standards, then she *might* vote for them, but won’t necessarily.

    I must say I’m a bit confused too, as to how to reconcile what is in the National Platform (2011) with what Kevin Rudd announced in the lead-up to the Sep 2013 election. He made it very clear that no asylum seeker arriving by boat without a visa would ever set foot on Australian soil (ABC Vote Compass, Aug 21, 2013), and it was in official ALP election advertising. Here’s an old news story reporting on PM Rudd’s announcement. Has the ALP overturned what Rudd announced, or is it still sitting on the table? Can’t really be clearer than that, sorry.

  25. @J-D

    To me it still boils down to the point at which a person can “support” a party (the ALP in this case) while opposing a “policy” (refugees).

    Ivor seems very vexed about the idea that people might refuse to support the ALP (calling me names, making a pointless distinction between a “policy” and a “Platform”, talking about sects etc..).

    I imagine the faceless men of the ALP are similarly concerned. On the one hand they need support but on the other hand they have a certain agenda and policies (neocon, cruelty to refugees…) which some of those supporters might oppose.

    If someone’s disdain for the policy is greater than their desire to support the ALP then they will choose not to support the ALP. If that sends the ALP to electoral oblivion so be it.

  26. I sometimes disagree with Megan over detail, but in essence I think we are agreed – if you don’t want to be cruel, don’t vote for the major parties (and be selective about the minor ones – safest to vote greens, I think).

  27. @Val

    Many people have voted for the Greens for two decades: what improvements in conditions for refugees and asylum seekers have those votes contributed to?

  28. @J-D

    During that time, how many times have the ALP or LNP negotiated with the Greens to pass legislation regarding treatment of refugees?

    The ALP/LNP duopoly usually vote together on the worst legislation, thereby neutering the effect of the cross-bench.

  29. @Megan

    Ivor’s made his position clear enough, I think, at least in part (and no doubt if I’ve misinterpreted him he’ll make clear again that he’s vexed): the course he advocates, at least most of the time, is supporting whichever party has the general support of the trade union movement. I suppose if you want to know why he advocates that course you can ask him. In any case, it’s plain that in Australia right now the party with the general (although not universal) support of the trade union movement is the ALP. Also it seems plain enough to me that you don’t take the same position as Ivor, so it’s hardly surprising that the two of you find yourselves at odds. Please note that I am not advocating that you should agree with Ivor.

    Political parties (the ALP included) gain and lose supporters all the time, for a diversity of reasons. If you’re suggesting that the ALP has lost supporters because of its recent actions in relation to refugees and asylum seekers (in Government and in Opposition), I’m sure you’re right. How many it’s lost that way is less clear.

    The people who make decisions for the ALP are keenly interested in the party’s electoral advantage. I expect they’re as good at calculating the effects of their decisions on the party’s support as anybody else, and probably better than many. That’s not the same thing as thinking that they never make mistakes; everybody makes mistakes. It could be that the way they’ve handled these issues (of refugees, asylum seekers, immigration, border control, and so on) has harmed the party electorally and that it would do better electorally with a different approach to those issues (perhaps, for example, one you would recommend). It’s possible you’ve judged this more accurately than they have. I wouldn’t want to have to bet on it, though.

    Nothing lasts for ever; that includes the ALP, the Liberals, the Nationals, the Greens, and every other political party; it also includes you and me and the Commonwealth of Australia and this planet. Nothing lasts forever, but some things last longer than others; some will last longer than I do; I hope my daughter does. As for political parties, sometimes they plunge to complete electoral oblivion very rapidly and with very little in the way of advance indications; but that’s not usually the way it happens; and although I, like everybody else, may be mistaken, I don’t observe any present signs of trends likely to lead to the ALP disappearing from the electoral landscape.

  30. @Megan

    As the law presently stands, if you are voting in a Federal election for the House of Representatives, and you do not either give a higher preference to the ALP candidate than to the Coalition candidate or give a higher preference to the Coalition candidate than to the ALP candidate, your vote will not be counted as valid at all, which means in particular that it won’t be tallied as a valid vote for the Greens.

  31. @Megan

    I haven’t studied the Parliamentary voting record and I’m not interested in disputing that point with you. I was just applying the same test to Val’s suggestion that I was applying earlier to all the suggestions you made. The question I was posing was about what actions (that you or I or anybody might take) are likely to be effective in improving the conditions of refugees and asylum seekers: in other words, whatever the suggestion, I ask ‘Will it work?’

    I’m fairly sure I remember that in the past you’ve made comments in which you’ve suggested that in this country (at least) the supposedly democratic system of government is broken. If that’s true, it might explain why your suggested courses of action won’t work. But if something doesn’t work, finding out the reasons why it doesn’t work is not enough by itself to make it work. A few days ago my car wouldn’t start. I suspected that the battery had died (and this guess was confirmed when the NRMA came). But my diagnosis (correct as it turned out to be) did not restart the car. Mere knowledge that the battery was dead was not by itself effective in making the car go. If in fact voting for the Greens does not achieve your goal, that doesn’t stop being true solely because you are able to explain why it doesn’t work.

  32. @J-D

    …the House of Representatives…

    Yes, that’s why I said “where possible”.

    On the other hand, in the Senate it is possible to vote below the line and exhaust the ballot without preferences flowing to either the ALP or LNP.

  33. @J-D

    Mere knowledge that the battery was dead was not by itself effective in making the car go

    No but it was an essential first step.

    Otherwise you may have sat in the car all day, operating the pedals, spinning the steering wheel and wondering why you weren’t getting anywhere!

    The first step is to realise there is a problem in the first place.

  34. > On the other hand, in the Senate it is possible to vote below the line and exhaust the ballot without preferences flowing to either the ALP or LNP.

    There’s this thing called “opportunity cost”; keeping your hands clean is all well and good, but the effort you spend to keep yourself “personally” “sinless” is effort you can’t spend in other, potentially-more-productive, ways of fixing the problem.

    [which isn’t to say that this specific suggestion you’re making is per-se unreasonable, it’s just that there seem to be a lot of suggestions you’re making and — opportunity cost again — “we can do any of these things” doesn’t mean “we can do all of these things”.]

  35. @Collin Street

    The “lesser of two evils” argument?

    Sorry, not buying it. Evil is evil.

    I need someone to convince me that supporting the ALP will achieve anything good – to keep it simple, I’ll settle for an argument confined to the humane treatment of refugees but I’m open to argument on any subject.

  36. The Coalition’s policy has successfully stopped that boats and consequently we aren’t seeing hundreds of people die each year at sea.

    When Labor was last in office, it bought into the silly argument that push factors overwhlemed pull factors, softened its policy and thus encouraged people to risk their lives at sea. Labor soon realised its folly and arguably made the only choice that any moral entity could make- it toughened its policy on asylum seekers.

    Does anyone have a better plan? By this I mean a plan that will save lives and be accepted by a public that is overwhelmingly hostile to asylum seekers. Remember, moral posturing is not a plan peoples.

  37. @Megan

    So, having observed correctly that when the ALP and the Coalition vote together in Parliament the votes of the Greens have no effect, what course of action do you propose as a response to that situation?

  38. @Megan

    Saying that you’re not going to support Labor if it’s not going to do any good is perfectly reasonable. I guess you’d take the same position in relation to any political party?

    It strikes me, though, that ‘I need someone to convince me …’ is an odd way of expressing that position and I wonder why you chose it.

  39. Megan :

    I need someone to convince me

    Just how self-centred, self-indulgent and self-serving can she be.

    This sounds very undergraduate campus-based to me.

    We need people who can cooperate with others from all walks of life and who understand the practicalities of representing the Australian community at large.

    There have been many attacking groups within the Left in Australia and the peace movement often centred on people who later turn out to be linked to the CIA and other entities. John Kerr is the most noteable. You can see the typical behaviour of a plant in Kenneth Gee’s book “Comrade Roberts: Recollections of a Trotskyite”, Gee, Kenneth, p32.

    But you need to know how to use a library.

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