Put Labor last?

I gave up hope of getting much out of a Labor government when Albanese announced that he would implement Morrison’s top-end tax cuts, and it became clear that this meant abandoning most of the spending commitments Labor took to the 2019 election. But at least it seemed that Labor would be significantly better on climate policy. Now, that difference has been reduced to a minor point of semantics. Morrison has finally crabwalked his way to a 2050 net zero commitment. In deference to the sensitivities of the National Party, he refused to increase Australia’s 26-28 % emissions reduction target for 2030, while pointing out that the policies of state governments (both Liberal and Labor) would probably get us to 35 % with no action at the national level. Labor has yet to announce a 2030 target, but has already abandoned the 45 % target from 2019. So, it’s clear enough that the target will be indistunguishable from Morrison’s non-target, and will similarly imply no significant policy action.

More importantly, over the last week or so, Labor has acted to remove the remaining points of difference between the parties. Albanese backed Morrison’s refusal to join an agreement to reduce methane emissions. Then, Chris Bowen ruled out either a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme, and indicated Labor would continue the current governments’ voluntary policy, possibly with some minor adjustments.

What’s left?Labor’s leading climate policy is “solar apprenticeships”, an appeal to nostalgia that reflects Albanese’s general approach. There’s some limited support for electric vehicles and community batteries, and that’s about it.

There are similarly minimal differences on foreign policy and other issues. Indeed, with the exception of support for a corruption watchdog (an easy call for a party that’s been out of government long enough that it has had no opportunities to do anything corrupt) Labor offers no change at all.

The idea that, once elected, Labor could somehow move to more radical policies is naive (or disingenuous). Most options have been ruled out explicitly. In any case, the general pattern has been for Labor governments to trim their ambitions in office, not to expand them. Albanese has skipped this step by promising to have no ambitions at all.

If voters were carefully assessing the options, this capitulation ought to produce a big swing to the Greens. But most people vote out of habit, and few fully understand the preferential voting system. Even among the commentariat and political class, the idea that it’s first preference votes that matter remains dominant.

My usual response when Labor shifts to the right is to advocate putting them (nearly) second-last, ahead of the LNP (and ahead of anyone really repugnant like Hanson). But there are occasions when that’s a mistake, In 2012, following the Bligh government’s sale of public assets, I voted Green and didn’t allocate any more preferences, thereby contributing to Labor’s landslide defeat. That turned out well (though this couldn’t be guaranteed). The LNP lasted only one term in office, and Labor learned its lesson, at least on public ownership.

Federal elections don’t allow optional preferential, making for a hard choice. The Morrison government richly deserves defeat, but the LNP would learn nothing from a loss, while Labor would be confirmed in its decision to offer nothing. Unless things change, I plan to put Labor last at the next election. At a minimum that would end Albanese’s leadership and perhaps scupper the hopes of leading advocates of do-nothingism like Chalmers. Then we might get a serious alternative next time around.

This isn’t a happy prospect, but there aren’t any happy prospects on offer right now. Feel free to suggest more positive alternatices.

39 thoughts on “Put Labor last?

  1. Nothing more positive comes to mind. Greens first, then allocate second and other preferences to any other left wing parties available on the ballot paper with Labor last seems the best way to convey the message that Labor has lost the plot.

  2. What would Labor learn from another defeat?

    I don’t see a strong advantage in optional preferential. Mathematically how different is allocating your lower preferences via a coin toss?

    Competence matters too. For example we have already seen in responses to your vaccine purchase post today (Nov. 8 2021), that Labor advocated more vaccine bets at least as early as Aug 2020. I think in June 2020. (Bowen wrote to the health recommending it in June I think, I listened to an interview were he said something like that).

    I can’t see how the Coalitions approach to China helps our uni’s get foreign students. A policy of talk less, smile more would be much better.

    Labor have yet to announce their climate policies. What should Labor promise to do first on climate if they win? Back the states plans, and help them expanded and accelerate them. Politically and practically easy.

    Of course I have never thought a carbon price stood out as the best idea.. I am not of the market faith. Just engineer, commission and fund the zero emission energy system we need.

  3. What is this, a late 2000s Slate pitch? I kid, I kid…

    Certainly, Labor *might* look at another election and decide to give up do-nothingness. Buuuut consider how the loss would be viewed by the press gallery; it’s a fair bet that the Peter Hartchers of the world would not be saying Labor lost because they didn’t offer enough progressive policies.

    Far from chastening the do-nothings, it seems just as likely that Labor would see the loss as yet another reason to lurch even *further* to the right. Perhaps Joel Fitzgibbon could unretire. I think you’re also overlooking the minor, incidental harms that a further Coalition term would bring. These might pale in comparison to destroying the planet, but they’re not nothing, either.

    So the link between punishing Labor at the ballot box and them improving seems too risky to rely on. I say keep holding your nose; don’t cut it off to spite Labor’s face.

  4. You allow for the possibility that what a Labor government does over the life of the next Parliament might be worse than what the party is saying now about its intentions. Have you considered the possibility that what a Coalition government does over the life of the next Parliament might be worse than what the Coalition parties are saying now about their intentions?

    Feel free to suggest more positive alternatices.

    If you’re talking about how you use your vote, then the only alternatives currently available to you are: vote for a Coalition government; vote for a Labor government; express no preference. There’s no fourth option. (Whether preferences are optional or compulsory doesn’t affect this.)

    There are a couple of qualifications which apply to this analysis, but I expect you’re already aware of them.

  5. All these links (and many others relevant to OP) from Nicky Case – 

    “To Build a Better Ballot 
    “An interactive guide to alternative voting systems”
    https://ncase.me/ballot/

    A voting systems sandbox at end. JQ or anyone may reuse code to produce * your * preffered voting method. Including a link to;
    *

    “Interview with Nobel Laureate Dr. Kenneth Arrow

    “Dr. Arrow, Stanford professor emeritus and Nobel Laureate talks to us about voting methods and his Nobel-Prize-winning impossibility theorem.

    Aaron Hamlin 
    May. 25, 2015
    Video & transcript

    CES: “So it seems like one of the points that you’re stressing within the theorem is that even though none of the ranking methods can fulfill the criteria, that’s really not speaking to the degree that they fail nor the frequency they fail–even if at some point it’s possible for them to fail.

    Dr. Arrow: “That’s correct. Yes. Now there’s another possible way of thinking about it, which is not included in my theorem. But we have some idea how strongly people feel. In other words, you might do something like saying each voter does not just give a ranking. But says, this is good. And this is not good. Or this is very good. And this is bad. So I have three or four classes. You have two classes is what you call Approval Voting. Just say some measures are satisfactory, and some aren’t. This gives more structure. And, in effect, say I approve and you approve, we sort of should count equally. So this gives more information than simply what I have asked for. This changes the nature of voting. We don’t just rank the candidates. We say something like they’re good or bad or something. This again, this method does not necessarily avoid paradoxes. But it seems empirically to minimize their importance.

    CES: “Now, you mention that your theorem applies to preferential systems or ranking systems.

    Dr. Arrow: “Yes

    CES: “But the system that you’re just referring to, Approval Voting, falls within a class called cardinal systems. So not within ranking systems.

    Dr. Arrow: “And as I said, that in effect implies more information.

    CES: “So what do you think about Approval Voting as a voting method as an alternative to Plurality Voting or another preferential system.

    Dr. Arrow: “I really would like to see it studied in some novel system, maybe an experimental situation. I’d like to see how it works out in practice. In other words, take a variety of situations, a variety of cities, or whatever. And see how this would work out and whether the results really look reasonable. One of the things that come from my theorem is that you really have to take an empirical view of the matter and not rely on a priori thinking. So Approval Voting obviously works well in a number of circumstances. It does, I think, something a little more refined than Approval Voting is probably needed. In other words, two classes are probably not enough to do a good job would be my feeling–if you really had a fragmented electorate.”

    https://electionscience.org/commentary-analysis/voting-theory-podcast-2012-10-06-interview-with-nobel-laureate-dr-kenneth-arrow/
    *

    “Tactical Voting Basics
    Introduction
    “Tactical voting, also called strategic voting, is when voters cast an insincere ballot in order to increase their expected value for an election outcome. A common example of this behavior is when supporters of a minor party candidate vote for their favorite major party candidate, based on the impression that the minor party candidate is unlikely to win.”

    https://electionscience.org/library/tactical-voting-basics/
    *

    “To Build a Better Ballot 
    “An interactive guide to alternative voting systems

    “P.S: Since you’ve read & played this all the way, here, have a bonus! A “Sandbox Mode” of the election simulator, with up to fivecandidates. You can also save & share your very own custom election scenario with others. Happy simulating!”
    https://ncase.me/ballot/

  6. I’m really hoping that Labor have a plan.

    Anyways, I will stay with my spectacularly unsuccessful strategy of influencing outcomes;

    1 Greens
    2 Indies – depends on their ‘independence’. Our local council elections have a host of indies who all vote as a bloc.
    3 ALP.
    4 Libs
    5 Shooters, PHON any other ratbags (also applies to Nats).

    I know Albo is coming across as a bit wish washy but is that enough reason to go with Morrison?

    The LNP have developed this muscular, full frontal gladiatorial style of governance and Labor would be silly to follow them down this path. The LNP can live and die by their policies.

  7. Have you perhaps missed the iterated game? That is, what is P(incumbent Labor Government in 2025 feels it can be more ambitious) and how does that affect the expected value of your 2022 choice?

  8. “What would Labor learn from another defeat?”

    Well, they tried big-target and that didn’t work. I suppose if they try minimal-target and that doesn’t work either then I suppose there are a variety of conclusions to argue: either they should go medium-target, or they’re executing poorly, or that their movement is blatantly hollowed out.

    I’ll add that from a non-Labor-leftwing-party perspective, there’s nothing better for the vote share than a term of disappointing Labor government. Sometimes it’s not disappointing, but Albo’s on track.

  9. “…put Labor last at the next election.”

    That will do next to nothing in rustadon electorates.

    That ‘how to vote’ tactic in seven words has the advantage of being easily understood by the majority who in their particular electorate don’t understand the mechanics of the federal ALP/LNP designed and self serving preferential voting system for the lower house.

    It predominantly may only succeed in its intent in some marginal cases where an ALP candidate ordinarily receives more first preference plus second preference votes than a COALition candidate. It may help to ensure the COALition candidate wins and the fake labour party doesn’t form government perhaps by it also losing a sitting member. That probably means nothing would effectively change other than the roles of Albanese and a couple of others.

    Pragmatically, real, progressive, system wide change coming from the ballot box now depends on a non-duopoly party or independent candidate in certain electorates winning on first and second preferences thereby raising elected cross bench MP numbers to a critical mass capable of forcing the proper operation of parliament and better facsimile of accountable representative democracy. What a shake up! And likely infectious.

    If a change for the better in the ALP is wanted, then that will do it! It would change the rules of the game and the game itself for all participants and all affected: the foreign vested interests, the big political donors, the dark money, the corrupt, the lobbyists, the parties, their faceless apparatchiks, the executive, the parliament, the public service, the pollies, the NGOs, the voters… the wildlife.

    Pragmatically, today that mostly depends on electorates with a predominant COALition leaning where a non-duopoly candidate can attract a winning tally of more first preferences than fake labour plus fake labour voters’ second preferences to place ahead of the COALition candidate having highest first preference votes but with lower second preference votes.

    Again pragmatically, where that situation is reversed in a predominantly Labor leaning electorate a non-duopoly candidate is unlikely to win on COALition second preferences, but it has happened.

    Can that be said in seven words? Said differently in different electorates, but in ten words? Would such be motivating? But then again the system doesn’t require the voter to know what they are doing.

    https://www.climate200.com.au/

  10. The worst possible outcome is that Morrison remains PM. Not sure that putting Labor last avoids that worst of all worlds.

  11. For what it’s worth, I have a gut feeling that if Labor doesn’t up their game soon, Rudd’s going to step back in. He’s made rumblings towards it, and his crusade against Murdoch would be a lot more effective headquartered from the Lodge.

  12. The COALition and the Betrayal Party. What a choice. But I agree with Andrew above. The worst possible outcome is that Morrison remains PM.

    Albanese’s interview performances are odd though. Is he on Prozac or something? He seems zonked and completely disinterested.

    Hardly matters though, the earth’s path to runaway climate change is already locked in. Fiddling while the earth burns.

  13. It seems the rot extends to states.

    “Cashing in: the gambling industry writes the rules and sways Tasmania’s elections

    “Bill before state’s upper house has ‘been literally written by industry’, an independent MP says

    “Then a memorandum of understanding between the Labor Party and the THA was leaked, signed prior to this year’s election, showing that Labor had effectively capitulated to the industry, giving the THA the power of veto over its pokies policies. “…
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/09/cashing-in-the-gambling-industry-writes-the-rules-and-sways-tasmanias-elections

  14. I certainly understand JQ’s despondency. The state of Australia politics both state and federal is probably as low as it’s every been. Possibly the middle Menzies era is comparable in terms of lack of opposition and a do nothing incumbent that is well past its use date. Nonetheless a further 3 years of Morrison is an outcome almost too disastrous to contemplate. They’ll be last on my ballot. I’ll probably put the Greens first and preference the ALP, the default option for the chronically disappointed.

  15. Republican Youngkin’s win in the US has scared Democrats and pushed them to the right again ,this neutered their national reform package making Trumps return more likely .Writing in the Herald Sun Peta Credlin says Morrison should follow US “conservatives” and use their “center right” gender and race war tactics .Thats the right wing ratchet in action .If Labor goes too far down that road I dont think there is any way back. Truth alone isnt enough ,how can anyone win without the support of ruling elites? – Well a fascist can if those elites allow a nation to slip too far to the right .

  16. I suspect news editors may decide the outcome of the next election and I suspect that they know it. The most influential are almost certainly going to bat for Morrison – all criticism of his government will cease as the election approaches and they will become relentlessly critical of Labor. They are canny about which buttons to press and will hammer hard on the ones that will make voter choice a low thought reaction and not a thoughtful consideration.

    Most commercial media, by virtue of them being businesses not wanting to pay taxes or higher wages as a matter of principle, and having customers – major business advertisers – they want to keep happy, will preference the LNP over the ALP in their editorial stance. The ALP attempting to appease an unappeasable media may slightly reduce the antipathy, but not by much.

    For all the insincerity by the LNP, Labor seems unable to find traction on climate – and I fear their hearts aren’t really in it; I don’t know that Labor is capable of ambition on climate – but Integrity might be an issue that resonates. Of course the media will be willing to give Morrison slack on State LNP wrongdoing but probably won’t give Albanese any; the messiness in NSW won’t hurt the LNP but Victoria’s will hurt the ALP.

  17. Compulsory preferential voting has over time lead to complacency and arrogance on the part of the major parties, who rightly believe, if we don’t get em first up we’ll get em on the rebound. No matter how one shuffles their preferences, in most cases where it matters, a major party will finish up with your vote. The only way I can see policy movement on issues like climate change, is if high profile independents manage to topple enough major party candidates to gain the balance of power. If you live in an electorate where this is unlikely to happen just vote 1 for the minor party candidate of your choice with a added message maybe, “if you want my vote earn it” or “Bring in optional preferential voting”. Your vote will be informal but if enough of us did that maybe it could lead to some voting reform. As things stand, too often voting comes down to Hobson’s Choice. What is the value of a formal vote under such circumstances ?

  18. Compulsory preferential voting …

    … is a red herring in this discussion.

    Under compulsory preferential voting, Australia has alternated between Labor and Coalition governments. Under optional preferential voting, Queensland and New South Wales alternated betweeen Labor and Coalition governments. Under simple plurality (‘first-past-the-post’) voting, the US has alternated between Republican and Democratic administrations. It would be wrong to say that the voting system makes no difference at all; it does make a difference; but it’s the way people vote that makes most of the difference. If 30% of voters all voted for the same other choice (the Greens; or any other single option), the results would change. They don’t. So long as there are only two options that can attract 30% of the vote, those will be the only options to form government.

    A Queensland voter can decide not to vote either for Labor or for the Coalition, but that won’t change who forms government. In countries where voting is not compulsory, people can choose not to vote for anybody, but that also doesn’t change who forms government. When the UK changed from alternating between Conservative and Liberal governments to alternating between Conservative and Labour governments, it wasn’t because the voting system changed; because voting in the UK wasn’t (and isn’t) compulsory, nobody ever had to vote for the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party but always had the choice of voting for neither. It wasn’t people choosing to exercise their option of voting for neither party which changed things, it was people choosing to exercise their option of voting for a (single) different choice. If 30% of voters in Australia all vote Green together, they can change the way things are; if it’s only 15% they can’t (not to the same extent, that is); and that’s true under compulsory preferential voting (Federally and in most States), optional preferential voting (in New South Wales), or multi-member quota-preferential (‘Hare-Clark) systems (in Tasmania and the ACT).

  19. So frustrating. The Biden administration should threaten to cancel the nuclear submarine deal unless Australia steps up on climate change!

  20. @ J-D “A Queensland voter can decide not to vote either for Labor or the Coalition” J-D that has not been the case for several years. Optional preferential voting was one of the reforms that followed the Fitzgerald Inquiry. It existed in Queensland for many years giving voters the choice of not having to reward mediocrity. That voting system even suited Labor for quite some time. Premier Beattie would often say “just vote one.” A few years ago when Labor no longer saw optional preferential voting as an advantage to it, compulsory preferential voting was reinstated with no public consultation or debate. I can remember the days when voting in the Senate could mean numbering seventy boxes or more. These days voters only need to vote for the number vacancies that require filling. The same should apply in all elections. If there is one vacancy voters should have the choice for voting for just one candidate or marking their preferences if they so wish. Optional preferential voting puts power and choice back in the hands of the voter where it belongs.

  21. I generally agree with the arguments in the comment by Jones and the first comment by J-D. I will be voting Greens (as I am a member of the party) and giving my higher preferences to other parties and candidates with decent progressive policies on issues of concern, but when push comes to shove I will still preference Labor less lowly than the Coalition and the various Alt-Right parties.

  22. “A Queensland voter can decide not to vote either for Labor or the Coalition” J-D that has not been the case for several years. Optional preferential voting was one of the reforms that followed the Fitzgerald Inquiry. It existed in Queensland for many years giving voters the choice of not having to reward mediocrity. That voting system even suited Labor for quite some time. Premier Beattie would often say “just vote one.” A few years ago when Labor no longer saw optional preferential voting as an advantage to it, compulsory preferential voting was reinstated with no public consultation or debate.

    A Queensland voter can still (for example) put a ballot paper in the ballot box without having written on the ballot paper. As I understand it, this is not in accordance with what the law requires (if you check, I think you will find that the law requires a voter to write on the ballot paper), but because of the secrecy provisions of the law, this kind of violation can never be proved. Every election, some ballot papers are found in the ballot boxes without anything written on them and recorded in the count as ‘informal’, but there is no investigation of who put them there.

    For that matter, a voter can violate the law in a provable way by failing to put a ballot paper in the ballot box, or even by failing to attend to vote at all and not getting a name marked off the electoral roll. People do get fined for not voting, but this doesn’t make the choice impossible.

    Here in New South Wales, where I am, we have alternated between Labor and Coalition governments under optional preferential voting. Across the border in Victoria, with compulsory preferential voting, they have also alternated between Labor and Coalition governments. As I observed in the beginning, I’m not saying the voting system makes no difference; it does make some difference; if you prefer optional preferential voting, I’m not arguing against you. What I am pointing out is that it’s not the difference between these two systems which determines whether governmental office will be restricted to a duopoly. In the next New South Wales State election, I will be not just able but legally permitted to cast a vote which will be counted as formal by writing on the ballot paper only a ‘1’ against the name of the Green candidate, and nothing against the names of either the Labor or the Liberal candidate. But the fact that I have that option won’t change the fact that after the election there will be either a Labor or a Coalition government. Optional preferential voting hasn’t changed that.

  23. RM says: Optional preferential voting was one of the reforms that followed the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

    No it wasn’t. Not even a recommendation. Fitzgerald made constructive, not cynical recommendations. It was a “reform” Beattie (1998 2001 2004 2006) made just prior to five (1989 1992 1995 1998 and 2001) elections post Fitzgerald on the advice of his beloved backroom numberwanging coal obsessed AWU apparatchik, Milton Dick, now become Craig Kelly’s most supportive parliamentary best friends of coal federal MP mate and helping lately fix things for Palmer in the dark backrooms of Qld fake labour.

    Beattie suffered a first term of minority government hampered by independents and small parties. The government was guaranteed support in most eventualities involving supply or votes of no confidence by a moderately conservative farmer who due to integrity, honesty, and intelligence was sometimes, it could be said, problematically to the left of fake labour. A former Gladstone mayor, sometimes far to the right of the Nats, was always very demanding in return for her wavering support. In many electorates going well back into Bjelke-Petersen’s time both the Libs and Nats stood candidates. Beattie’s optional preferential voting change with some simple “just vote one” sloganeering saw the divided Libs and Nats lose to fake labour in many “three cornered” contests in 2001 giving Beattie and his numberwanger outright government for that and two more terms. The Libs and Nats later and consequentially eventually united in Qld as the LNP. Following Beattie, along with the help of the hated one term Bligh, who even as Beattie’s apprentice for many years wrecked everything she touched, and with optional preferential voting, the LNP subsequently had a massive landslide election win. Nats party member for life and biggest ever donor Palmer out of spite was denied what he wanted by the dominant Lib faction within the LNP government. Palmer resented the takeover. He quit to pursue his objectives differently, as he does now with his Qld plans lately nearing fruition with the help of Qld fake labour. Newman and gang were nuts. They were kicked out after one term by another big swinging election. Then in her second term accidental premier Palaszczuk dumped optional preferential voting as the LNP were still on the nose but were improving their tactical electoral game and, importantly, independents and small parties were on the rise, and when elected they were again actually representing their electorates.

    J-D says, If 30% of voters all voted for the same other choice (the Greens; or any other single option), the results would change. … If 30% of voters in Australia all vote Green together, they can change the way things are; if it’s only 15% they can’t

    If they just did so in particularly few more federal electorates than now the subsequent increased House of Reps cross-bench independents and small party numbers would change mostly everything about the governing system for the better.

    If the ballot is unlikely to wrest the seat from duopoly Lib/Lab hands in a voter’s particular electorate they can still send a message by voting that way. Moreover, a voter can help achieve that outcome in other electorates by supporting through donation and/or in person similarly oriented voters organising in electorates with high chances of gaining such an outcome:

    https://www.climate200.com.au/

  24. I’m not sure this is justified. Labor went to the last election with a solid suite of policies; and lost.

    In large part this is because the only pro-Labor advertising comes only from the party itself or the ACTU.

    Arrayed against it at the last election, and likely the next was:
    – a roughly similar spend by the LNP
    – more than double that by Clive Palmer
    – around five to ten times as much of drip-drip-drip advertising by the Federal Government
    – overwhelmingly pro-LNP coverage by News Corp, and somewhat pro-LNP coverage by Costello’s Nine which is again worth several multiples of ALP-spend.

    With this opposition arrayed against it, Labor cannot win on policy. A small target strategy is entirely understandable in the circumstances (my bet is that it will be topped off by 3-4 big policy promises, currently under wraps, in the last weeks of the campaign and a huge Mediscare campaign – without the latter, they have no hope).

    The only way for Labor to be able to fund a progressive campaign is to be in Government, so that it can turn the Government spend to its advantage.

  25. @ J-D I think you’re muddying the waters there. What I said was in the context of Optional Preferential Voting v Compulsory Preferential Voting. I am well aware people can and do slip unmarked ballot papers into the box. To get the full background on this debate in a Queensland context it is worth going to Anthony Green’s Election Blog 21/4/2016. Google ‘Electoral Law ructions in the Queensland Parliament-ABC’
    Anthony Green said this regarding the legislation passed abolishing Optional Preferential Voting.
    “In my view making such a change to the state’s electoral system unannounced and at short notice is exactly the sort of slip shod legislative behaviour that the single chamber Queensland Parliament has been criticised so often for in the past.”
    @Svante Anthony Green also went on to say this.
    “Now in a matter of two hours the Queensland Parliament has abandoned a method of voting that was recommended by a post- Fitzgerald inquiry body, the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC) way back in November 1990.”

  26. RM says:@Svante Anthony Green also went on to say this.
    “Now in a matter of two hours the Queensland Parliament has abandoned a method of voting that was recommended by a post- Fitzgerald inquiry body, the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC) way back in November 1990.”

    Yep, not Fizgerald, but nevertheless that’s self serving Qld ALP and Beattie after Goss and Borbidge “reforming”, watering down, reversing, and substantially wrecking Fitzgerald for you – including QPS, CCC, freedom from information, and all the rest.

  27. @Svante. Without the Fitzgerald Inquiry there would have been no EARC, and unlikely there would have been Optional Preferential Voting.

  28. Sorry John, but as much as Albanese has been a disappointment, it is simply naïve to put Labor last. The unexamined premise of doing so is that the promises of the ALP and Scott Morrison are equally to be trusted, on this issue. Very obviously, that premise is wrong.

    When it comes to climate change, most of the ALP believes climate change is real, and wants to do something (even if not nearly enough) about it. The Coalition mostly doesn’t; they put forward (the same, inadequate) policies out of expediency when they sense a ‘climate election’ coming. Any analysis that says ‘well, they are both committed to the same thing so there is no difference’ is an analysis that forgets that the Coalition would love to do nothing about climate change, and will abandon any and all commitments the first chance they get.

    We have been here before. In 2007, Labor and the Coalition both went to the election promising a cap and trade scheme (the Coalition having been dragged kicking and screaming, due to community concern around the drought). But by the time Labor tried to implement one a couple of years later, the political winds had shifted and so the Coalition opportunistically opposed what they had previously supported. You can compare this to Gillard and the carbon tax, where the opportunistic thing would have been not to do it, but she did it.

    As Daniel Davies once said about something completely different: There is much made by people who long for the days of their fourth form debating society about the fallacy of “argumentum ad hominem”. There is, as I have mentioned in the past, no fancy Latin term for the fallacy of “giving known liars the benefit of the doubt”, but it is in my view a much greater source of avoidable error in the world..

  29. RM,
    the ALP and Later CP/NP Qld gerrymander began and was updated purely as an electoral system fiddle in the governing party’s interest and lust for power and perks, not in the interests of better democratic representative government of and for the people. The same goes for Qld fake labour fiddling with optional preferential voting. Fiddling the electoral system for party vested interest advantage aint Fizgerald. Did either from the duopoly put it to a referendum to make it constitutional? No, only that pollies’ terms between elections should be extended. They liked that muchly. One or other will pull opv out of the closet in future to manipulate the situation as it suits them and likely not the majority of voters again.

  30. The last thing that Labor should do is go big target again. At the last election it did that and Morrison and his smug cohorts in the media put Labor on the deck. They got to campaign as if Labor was the government and the electorate fell for it. The Libs are desperately hoping and praying that Labor does that again at the next election. It’s their only chance. Why would Labor help them? What useful purpose would be served? I don’t want the Labor Party to treat me like an adult. I want to be treated like a child because that wins elections.
    Yes, Labor has ruled out a lot of things. But it could still do a lot on carbon reduction by not doing all of the dumb and corrupt things that the Liberal Party will do (e.g. CSS, trying to defund the clean energy commission). In fact, they can still do a lot of things in a lot of areas by just being competent and honest. Why be snide about Labor introducing an anti-corruption commission just because that would also be smart politics? Who cares about labor’s motives if it happens (and it spends the next two terms of Labor investigating the Liberal Party’s rorts!)
    Labor’s track record on climate change is much better than the Libs. I have great trouble believing that the party will sit around and do nothing for three years and abandon that heritage. I have great trouble believing that progressive elements in the caucus will be satisfied with that. Albanese will have to placate them.
    It’s also important to focus on the basic gulf in talent (and morals) between the Labor front bench and the LNP one. Do people really want a return of Joyce, Taylor, Cash, Smuggo, et al who are doing lasting damage to our society?
    I won’t be paying much attention to either party’s election platforms because they’re about as meaningful as bumper stickers. I’ll vote Labor and judge them when they are in office (not before). I hope I am not disappointed.

  31. Freddo you’ve a lot of hope over reason there.

    (and it spends the next two terms of Labor investigating the Liberal Party’s rorts!)

    Did KRudd or JGillard do what ALP luvvies, rustadons, and returning voters hoped for and wanted and investigate and inevitably, unavoidably then prosecute anyone at all in the Liberal Party for past rorts and crimes? Krudd said forget it, look to the future. Gillard conspired in the coverups.

    Duopoly is as duopoly does… sings 90-some% from the same song sheet: Big Australia wage, job, environment and lifestyle destroyer, super profits tax lite, work choices lite, &etc.

  32. To get the full background on this debate in a Queensland context it is worth going to Anthony Green’s Election Blog 21/4/2016. Google ‘Electoral Law ructions in the Queensland Parliament-ABC’
    Anthony Green said this regarding the legislation passed abolishing Optional Preferential Voting.
    “In my view making such a change to the state’s electoral system unannounced and at short notice is exactly the sort of slip shod legislative behaviour that the single chamber Queensland Parliament has been criticised so often for in the past.”

    None of that in any way contradicts any of what I wrote earlier.

  33. J-D in your posting November 9th 6.12 pm 2021 you said this. “A Queensland voter can decide not to vote for either Labor or the Coalition.” J-D that used to be the case before optional preferential voting was abolished. The only way a Queensland voter could do that now is if neither a Labor or Coalition candidate are on the ballot paper. Even if neither major party got your first vote they would receive your preference vote further down the ballot paper. In the quote, Anthony Green was referring to the debate in Queensland Parliament to abolish optional preferential voting. If you have not done so, I suggest to check out Anthony Green’s Election Blog 21.4.2016. Google “Electoral Law Ructions in the Queensland Parliament-ABC” Please do so before making further comment on this issue.

  34. The calculations by some commenters seem to be “second best is best”, or “hip pocket business as usual” or “just win”. I suggest that this is what has made and become our duopoly – small target hip pocket winners. And such attitude ensures continual roll over of every culture war topic, crappy portfolio mixes and slows every sensible technocratic, social or policy fix.

    JQ is stating a personal opinion.  He is entitled to it. Some here are saying JQ has made an error. The error is in your mind.

    What about the opposite? Put Labor first? Or LibNats? Oh – duopoly and wafer thin mandate mediated by secret agreements and deals from a minority? Weird. Same. Same. Only different. Tell me this possibility is wrong.

    For myself, and children I have to inform about my vote and the duopoly, to say ” I voted for x because they “limited their policy actions to the lowest common denominator simply to gain power” the children say “even we realise that is not going to fix things”. And for power? The switched on ones say “power corrupts”.

    So suggesting JQ’s stance is ‘incorrect’ belies percieved ‘correct yet duopoly continuation’. I’d suggest if you have a chat to your grandkids they’ll say “vote for the best for us please” to send a message to the first second best winners. Otherwise same same only different and getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster, and sliwer and slower. 

    And what of the effect on principlas vs ‘small target’ opinion gravity pull faux news lobby group called news? How does media in Australia effect our choices and your vote and your comments?

    Same same inmy different since 1958.
    As Aldus Huxley once said about something completely the same only different: 

    “The political merchandisers appeal only to the weak­nesses of voters, never to their potential strength. They make no attempt to educate the masses into becoming fit for self-government; they are content merely to manipulate and exploit them. For this pur­pose all the resources of psychology and the social sciences are mobilized and set to work. Carefully se­lected samples of the electorate are given “interviews in depth.” These interviews in depth reveal the uncon­scious fears and wishes most prevalent in a given so­ciety at the time of an election. Phrases and images aimed at allaying or, if necessary, enhancing these fears, at satisfying these wishes, at least symbolically, are then chosen by the experts, tried out on readers and audiences, changed or improved in the light of the information thus obtained. After which the political campaign is ready for the mass communicators. All that is now needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look “sincere.” Under the new dispen­sation, political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The person­ality of the candidate and the way he is projected by the advertising experts are the things that really mat­ter.

    “In one way or another, as vigorous he-man or kindly father, the candidate must be glamorous. He must also be an entertainer who never bores his audience. Inured to television and radio, that audience is accustomed to being distracted and does not like to be asked to con­centrate or make a prolonged intellectual effort. All speeches by the entertainer-candidate must therefore be short and snappy. The great issues of the day must be dealt with in five minutes at the most — and prefera­bly (since the audience will be eager to pass on to something a little livelier than inflation or the H-bomb) in sixty seconds flat. The nature of oratory is such that there has always been a tendency among politicians and clergymen to over-simplify complex is­sues. From a pulpit or a platform even the most con­scientious of speakers finds it very difficult to tell the whole truth. The methods now being used to merchan­dise the political candidate as though he were a deo­dorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.”
    (1958, p. 71). Aldous Huxley

  35. J-D in your posting November 9th 6.12 pm 2021 you said this. “A Queensland voter can decide not to vote for either Labor or the Coalition.” J-D that used to be the case before optional preferential voting was abolished. The only way a Queensland voter could do that now is if neither a Labor or Coalition candidate are on the ballot paper. Even if neither major party got your first vote they would receive your preference vote further down the ballot paper. In the quote, Anthony Green was referring to the debate in Queensland Parliament to abolish optional preferential voting. If you have not done so, I suggest to check out Anthony Green’s Election Blog 21.4.2016. Google “Electoral Law Ructions in the Queensland Parliament-ABC” Please do so before making further comment on this issue.

    None of that contradicts what I wrote earlier.

    In New South Wales now, and in Queensland before that change to the law, it is/was legally possible to cast a valid formal vote which would never be counted either for Labor or for the Coalition. In Queensland now, and Federally, that is not possible.

    So what? Under both arrangements, government has alternated between Labor and the Coalition (or, in Queensland, the LNP); under both arrangements, the possibilities which exists (legally or otherwise) for a voter are: vote for a Labor government; vote for a Coalition (or, in Queensland, LNP) government; express no preference.

  36. Both under compulsory preferential voting and under optional preferential voting, if a third party consistently got 30% of the vote, the Labor-Coalition duopoly of government would be disrupted; both under compulsory preferential voting and under optional preferential voting, if the best a third party ever does is 15% of the vote, the Labor-Coalition duopoly of government will not be disrupted. Anybody who wants that duopoly to be disrupted would be wasting their energies if they directed them into trying to get a change made from compulsory preferential voting (where it exists) to optional preferential voting. Queensland changed to optional preferential voting (although now it’s changed back); New South Wales changed to optional preferential voting (and hasn’t changed back); the duopoly was unaffected. If you consider examples of countries where at various points in history established party systems have been broken up and replaced with new ones, the voting system might sometimes be a contributing factor, but it’s not the key.

  37. “How an influx of independents could change parliament for the better
    By Hugh Mackay

    “Given the present system, breaking the two-party deadlock is the only way to ensure that parliament becomes a more co-operative place, with a greater openness to compromise, and a healthier attitude to the genuine contest of ideas, rather than merely “playing politics”. Which leaves voters with only one strategy readily available for forcing the parliament to act differently — more respectfully, more collaboratively, more sensitively. And that strategy is to elect more independent members.

    “Messy? You bet. Making a prime minister’s position less secure? Let’s hope so. Requiring more time to negotiate, debate and evaluate? Absolutely. More outcomes decisively in the public interest? That, above all, is the point.”…
    https://johnmenadue.com/how-an-influx-of-independents-could-change-parliament-for-the-better/

  38. Labor has more already announced on climate change action in addition to the energy apprenticeships, community batteries and electric car policies that you list John. This includes ‘Rewiring the nation’ which will invest $20 billion to rebuild and modernise the grid, and expenditure to revive manufacturing partly through developing the hydrogen industry by using clean energy.

    And there will be a lot more in the announcements Chris Bowen will make in coming weeks.
    So I would hold off judgement as to how to vote. Too many in the left are relying on the MSM and twitter to inform their view of Labor’s position.

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