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86 responses to “#sos13 – Saving Our Senate”

  1. Craig Mc

    I suggest a campaign along the lines of:

    “If you want to keep the carbon tax, vote ALP or Greens in the senate.”

    That should work.

  2. Peter Murphy

    What are the possible consequences of the LNP having control of the senate? Why is it such a bad idea? That should be the theme of any “save our senate” campaign, and persuading – not just informing, but convincing the public should be the objective.

    Workchoices is one example: the LNP tried it once; why wouldn’t they try it again? But what really concerns me is “austerity politics”, as the term is used in the UK. Cut services to cut debt is self defeating. It was a disaster under Cameron and Osbourne, it’s been a disaster under Newman and Hockey, and it will be a disaster under Abbott and Hockey.

    That’s one issue. Others can think of ideas how Abbott can make things worse.

  3. Geoff Henderson

    Do you think it might be the case that Australians are really tired of a government fettered by independents, greens, dubious members, faceless men and always hanging seemingly by a thread?

    So a grass roots campaign that aspires to a hostile and disruptive Senate – read “more of the same political shite” – might just seem unpalatable to many.

    The Labor brand is undoubtedly damaged and needs to heal and regain credibility, cohesion and substance. That’s hardly a likely outcome of pitching for an obstructionist Senate.

    Yes an Abbott government will certainly act in scary ways. And therein is the relevance of a strong opposition. The greater task is to re-build Labor, regain the respect of the nation as a credible political force. Don’t stuff around with a grass roots Senate offensive – there’s a good chance it will look like a kid who has had his ice-cream taken from him/her.

    Make Labor better first: there’s a lot of work to do there.

  4. Chris

    Following from Paul Nortons advice on the other thread. I’m in SA and vote below the line. I’ll most likely put Xenophon first because I have a lot more trust in him than anyone else, and then the usual Greens and then ALP. but there’s no way I can bring myself to vote for Don Farell. Am I right in assuming that because of the way preferential voting works that it won’t hurt to skip him – eg if he doesn’t make quota because enough people skip him then the next ALP candidate will get all of his prefs?

  5. selzick

    I’m curious to know whether GetUp! will play a card or two. Is it too late for them to register candidates, considering the unofficial campaigning?

    As per Chris @4, likewise from SA and Xenophon seems well embedded as a Senator. I don’t know however whether similar single issue Senate seats are up for grabs knowing that energies from the majors don’t seem to directed to this chamber; I fear this will change… Support your local, community connected, independent?

  6. Peter Murphy

    So a grass roots campaign that aspires to a hostile and disruptive Senate – read “more of the same political shite” – might just seem unpalatable to many.

    You’re probably right – if one expresses it as “hostile and disruptive”, and that’s what many people on the Right will do. But if one states it as “A powerful check on the government of the day” (i.e., Abbott and gang), then there’s more chance of convincing people.

    Never accepts the opposition’s soundbites unquestionably.

  7. Salient Green

    I think progressives are getting a little too het up about an Abbott government. Things are moving too swiftly with climate science and renewable energy for them to do much damage and an Abbott led push ‘against’ AGW mitigation will do as much as the Labour push ‘for’ AGW mitigation- SFA.
    The whole world will have to act soon enough.
    Labour needs to knuckle down to a minimum of core projects which will gain a deep respect from the voters, do them right and spruik them right.
    The Greens have work to do too to get back to a few core issues and that doesn’t include assylum seekers and/or gay marriage.
    I think that falling back to a defense of the senate is a little defeatist at this stage but well worth the discussion.
    Lastly, I have seen the effectiveness of online campaigns and believe most powerful people fear them. Ideas for one I have not time to post yet but it’s a very good idea.

  8. Peter Murphy

    I’m also curious who’s going for the Greens in Queensland. Andrew Bartlett would probably be able to get a quota in his own right, but I don’t know if he’s running.

  9. Lefty E

    Well, as per previous thread, totally agree Mark.

    The fact is the ALP or the ALP+GRN need to win 3 in each state. To maximise the chances we need straightforward pref swaps, no funny business this time.

    I do hope both ALP and Green State HQs appreciate that. This time its for real.

    Im for a social media campaign! I dont know if it needs a standing webpage though Im sure it wouldnt hurt. Its easy enough to get a FB group page.

    Key messages:

    1. ALP and GRNs must engage in no silly business with prefs. “If I see any such shenanigans, Ill be voting for the OTHER left of centre party in both houses, signed, John/ Jane Punter”.

    2. Vote GRN in ACT! (the ALP candidate will get up, and if the GRN squeaks out the Lib it leaves wriggle room for problems elsewhere. tough as, but public service town has a lot of reasons to fear Abbott)

    3. Talk to your friends likely to vote LNP this time out of despair wth the ALP leadershit, tell em if they must,then take out insurance in the Senate.

    4. QLD and WA in particular: take out insurance!

  10. Paul Norton

    Peter @8, Adam Stone is the Greens #1 candidate in Queensland.

  11. Peter Murphy

    Thanks, Paul.

  12. Paul Norton

    Chris @4, as I understand it Farrell will be at #2 on the Labor ticket, which means that, to be on the safe side, South Australians will have to hold their noses and preference him ahead of the official right-wing parties.

  13. zorronsky

    Say it’s okay to boot labor in the ‘reps but take out insurance in the Senate?
    Sounds like a Greens tactic.

  14. Lefty E

    Perhaps more simply, a slogan:

    ‘How much do you really know about Tony Abbott? Take out some insurance in the Senate.’

    That has the advantage of also working generally.

  15. Lefty E

    Well, you can take out insurance against an Abbott senate majority by voting ALP or GRN, Zorronsky.

    The ALP and GRN parties can do the same, by preferencing each other in the Senate without any funny/ clever business (which invarably backfires anyway).

  16. A. Swan

    But, who will be taking Senate seats from the LNP?

    The Democrats could, as a party of the centre, they could appeal to moderate LNP voters.

    The Greens can’t, as a party of the left, appeal to moderate LNP voters in the same way.

  17. El

    Imma tired, so will only post briefly now, but will follow up more in the morning.
    Firstly, great idea to do some focus on the Senate, but these campaigns are always hard going, so any new ideas would be aces.
    Secondly, GetUp did a campaign in 2007 with printing individual HTVs for the Senate, but I’ve not seen any evaluation of how successful that was.
    Thirdly, there’s some crunchy number reality, about where the unfilled quotas from the ALP will go, that needs to be done.
    Fourthly, the real idea that there could be a full Senate election six months after the September poll, if enough legislation is blocked. That is a meme that will need to be countered in any campaign.

    As I said, great idea and I look forward to seeing what comes next. Will put some more linkage in tomorrow.

  18. Terry

    Historically, the precedent for this would be the success of the Democrats in the 1996 and 1998 elections (esp. 1996) in pitching to Liberal voters who wanted a Howard coalition government but didn’t want a GST.

    I can’t for the life of me seeing the Greens being able to position themselves as that party in this election. Post-Bob Brown, the Greens have been moving to the left, not the centre.

    And if you really don’t want an Abbott government, then just vote Labor. If you don’t like the current leadership team, that would only matter if Labor forms government again.

  19. Preston Towers

    There needs to be a strong campaign from progressive parties to encourage their supporters to educate people about the importance of the Senate. The key message could be “the last time the Liberals had control over the Senate, we got Work Choices”. In SA, a message could be “a vote for Xenophon is a vote for the Liberals” – he has shown in the past that he leans towards Liberal Party thinking, rather than being truly independent in a Tony Windsor kind of way.

  20. Preston Towers

    I will add – I would like to see evidence of the Greens “moving to the left” after Bob Brown’s departure. That is not correct at all.

  21. Terry

    Also, realistically, I haven’t seen any predictions that the Coalition parties will get control of the Senate in their own right. To the best of my knowledge, WA is the only state where the election of 4 LNP Senators is seen as a real prospect.

    What we are really talking about is the prospect of the Greens losing balance of power status in the Senate, most probably to a combination of Xenophon (SA), Katter party (QLD) and Madigan from the DLP. If you are asking Labor voters, or especially lapsed Labor voters, how they feel about the balance of power being held by Xenophon, Katter and Madigan, as compared to Milne, Hanson-Young and Rhiannon, it may be surprising how many of them would not pick the latter combination.

    it also may depend on what you are most concerned about: abolishing the carbon tax price, or industrial relations changes?

  22. Terry

    Preston Towers @ 22, in January Christine Milne personally endorsed an act of premeditated share market fraud as a form of legitimate civil disobedience. Baby boomer superannuants around the country took notice, some of whom are Prius driving GetUp! supporters who sign petitions for Julian Assange and have tinkling windchimes at their front doors.

    It was like the 2004 moment when Mark Latham declared war on elite private schools, only to discover to his surprise how many of those with children in such schools turned out to be Labor voters.

  23. jumpy

    Save our Senate?
    Who does “our ” represent ?
    And saved from what, the will of the majority of the people?

  24. Russell

    The Greens/ALP Senate delegation from W.A. is only likely to be reduced, no chance of a gain.

    When people say ‘vote Labor’ or whatever …. what kind of Labor might that be? Why on earth would I vote for Mark Bishop, who might be more comfortable in the DLP?

    There’s a lot of squalid bargaining between the unions here over who will get the winnable positions on the ticket, but the result is likely to be some one whose ideology is so repellent that people on the left won’t want to vote for them, and those on the right have their own parties & candidates. Might it not be better to just see the ALP smashed and hope something better is born from the ashes? If you vote for them, they’ll take it as support.

  25. jumpy

    Jumpy, persuading people to vote a certain way is actually key to democracy.

    Then what need a Senate?
    That’s already done in ” the other place “

  26. Fran Barlow

    You make a fair point Russell. If there really is nothing that can be done to prevent the consequences of the ALP’s political dereliction being visited on the populace in the form of an Abbott regime (not sure about that yet) then what can one do but stand back and allow the population to learn their lessons the hard way.

    Let us not shield the ALP but point out its dereliction, so that something positive can come from this.

  27. Robert Merkel

    Fran, I’m really strongly opposed to the notion that we should “allow the population to learn their lessons the hard way”.

    The people who will suffer most from an Abbott government won’t be the ones that vote it in.

  28. Russell

    “The people who will suffer most from an Abbott government won’t be the ones that vote it in.”

    Robert, I tend to agree, but I’m also thinking about young people, many of whom seem apolitical, or actively anti-political – they don’t vote. It will be their futures that will be most harmed by a conservative government, but perhaps they need to see that happen, to get them interested in voting.

  29. Lefty E

    “the last time the Liberals had control over the Senate, we got Work Choices”

    Good slogan!

  30. wmmb

    It seems to me that the preference flow in the Senate ballot should not be gifted to the major parties. As a matter of democratic principle each voter should have the information, before they are confronted with Senate voting paper, to exercise the option to make a valid and effective individual choice.

  31. Jacques de Molay

    I would never vote for Labor in the senate again after they gave us Steve Fielding so Greens again it shall be.

  32. paul walter

    As was often the case in the past, Lefty E has moved the proposition off the board and into the real world.
    Is the problem again to be the theocratic ALP Right, as with 2004 and the tragic decision to preference Fielding before the Greens?
    Elsewhere I see the old proposition nurtured within some sections of the Left, that the mushroom-like public need to be “punished” for the sins of the Coalition and the Murdoch press, getting a another run.
    No- again I say it- it is NOT right to “punish” people without access to education, high intelligence and good information, anxieties manipulated by tabloid MSM.
    And the loss of the Senate would leave the possibility open for irreversible and irreparable damage to the very basis of our society-”injury to the text”, that the Tories missed at the first stab half a dozen years ago.

  33. zorronsky

    “the last time the Liberals had control over the Senate, we got Work Choices” That could lead to peeps thinking that “control of the Senate” equates to creation of legislation. Milne pushes that line with her anti-Labor press grabs. Control over both Houses nails it.

  34. tigtog

    I’m also thinking about young people, many of whom seem apolitical, or actively anti-political – they don’t vote. It will be their futures that will be most harmed by a conservative government, but perhaps they need to see that happen, to get them interested in voting.

    I was unaware that there was a distinct bloc of young voters who are either indifferently paying their fines for non-attendance at the polling station every election or casting an informal ballot when they grudgingly turn up. Cite?

  35. Terry

    A corollary of the arguments above would be that Labor should preference Sarah Hanson-Young ahead of Nick Xenophon in SA. Why should they do this? Has Hanson-Young voted for or against more government bills in this parliament than Xenophon? She has certainly voted against the government on some of the key pieces of legislation in both the 07-10 and 10-13 parliaments. I haven’t yet heard the case as to why Labor should throw her a preferences lifeline, particularly given that Xenophon’s primary vote could well be higher.

  36. paul walter

    Sarah Hanson Young has as much substance as Nick Xenophon, as evidenced BY the fact she also voted against usually poorly thought out legislation, which the government ought to have been be grateful was brought to their attention as to the flaws.
    Why is she therefore any less entitled to a vote than Nick Xenophon?

  37. Paul Norton

    Terry @37:

    A corollary of the arguments above would be that Labor should preference Sarah Hanson-Young ahead of Nick Xenophon in SA. Why should they do this?

    In the interests of reciprocity with the Greens preferencing Farrell ahead of Xenophon in SA.

  38. Paul Norton

    Terry, at some stage you need to decide whether it’s really worse for you to smell Green shit on election day than for the Australian people to eat Coalition shit for years.

  39. alfred venison

    “ONE in two 18 and 19-year-olds are not enrolled to vote in Australia in a worrying trend for the electoral commission.”

    “The Australian Electoral Commission estimates 1.5 million eligible voters are not on the roll, including almost 390,000 in Queensland … an average of 13,000 missing voters in each seat”

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/teens-shy-away-from-vote-rights/story-e6frfkvr-1226373163701
    a.v.

  40. Pavlov's Cat

    Preston Towers @ #20 on Nick Xenophon: he has shown in the past that he leans towards Liberal Party thinking, rather than being truly independent in a Tony Windsor kind of way.

    I live in Adelaide and I haven’t seen anything to support this argument. Could you give some examples? My view is that Xenophon is so popular (and yes, I imagine he will do particularly well this September) precisely because he can’t be easily identified with either party.

  41. Sam

    My view is that Xenophon is popular because he is a populist. He is the Pierre Poujade of Australian politics.

  42. GabrielleH

    If Labor is expected to preference the Greens does that ensure that the Greens will preference Labor? In Queensland the Greens usually refuse to deal with Labor and insist on a seat by seat approach. Their deals over the senate are usually downplayed in campaigning and Greens voters habitually do not follow their tickets. Their past behaviour over preferences makes many people locally in the Labor branches very angry. I do not always share this view, although I recognise that their behaviour is strictly opportunist. They will do whatever suits them best at any given time according to populist feeling.

  43. Fran Barlow

    Robert Merkel:

    Fran, I’m really strongly opposed to the notion that we should “allow the population to learn their lessons the hard way”.

    Nobody who is interested in social justice, equity or inclusion wants to see suffering imposed on people — not even upon those whom we think have acted unwisely or out of ignorant fear or hatred. Suffering is never a good thing and if it can be mitigated, we are all bound to try all that we reasonably can to mitigate it.

    We also know both from our personal lives and from the History of human societies that frequently, people are not merely unwise and venal and poisonous in their attitudes but insistently so. IIRC, it was Wilde who said that trying to reason people out of views that they formed without recourse to reason is simply unreasonable. If enough people really have cast aside their critical faculties, or out of indolence have failed to acquire them, to permit an Abbott/Murdoch Coalition to seize power in mid September, then as dreadful as that would be, what can those of us who know better do but step back and invite them after the fact to reflect on what they have wrought and how they were tricked into doing it? If in the hope of preserving this foetid centre-right ALP regime, we beforehand, have failed to confront directly the paradigm that got the populace to that point, are we not parties to the disaster?

    The people who will suffer most from an Abbott government won’t be the ones that vote it in.

    I have no doubt that at the margins, a very great many of those who suffer worst will be people who voted for Abbott/Murdoch in the outer west of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Voting against your interests is one of the more perverse features of the way in which elites rule.

    As it turns out, marginalisation and oppression is not conducive to rational thinking, to voting for equity, to seeing the bigger picture. That is one of the reasons — perhaps the principal one — that drives people like me to identify as left|sts.

  44. Terry

    To quote the Judean Peoples’ Front in The Life of Brian:

    “What has Sarah Hanson-Young ever done for us?”

  45. Peter Murphy

    Fran, I’m really strongly opposed to the notion that we should “allow the population to learn their lessons the hard way”.

    There’s no guarantee that – come the hard way – they will learn at all. “The worse, the better” is one one that should have died with Lenin.

  46. Lefty E

    Gabrielle, in my experience the GRNs are pretty good on the upper house with prefs to Labor, though its true the lower house has had a few expcetions – though nearly always these are not recommedning any preference rather than preffing against the ALP.

    Famously, of course, a couple of time the ALP has not preffed GRNs high enough, seeking to elect an extra ALP senator, stuff up, and brought us Stephen Fielding for example.

    Id certainly be hoping there’s not of any of the above this time. Just straight pref swaps.

    Of course, no party can do anything about voters who wont follow the party’s recommended prefs, so no point complaining about that one.

  47. Fran Barlow

    Lefty E:

    Famously, of course, a couple of time the ALP has not preffed GRNs high enough, seeking to elect an extra ALP senator, stuff up, and brought us Stephen Fielding for example.

    The ALP did a deal for FF to preference the anti-abortion ALP senator Jacinta Collins and fancied they’d get a Democrat at the expense of a Green. When the Democrat vote collapsed, Fielding was elected.

    Classic.

  48. Fran Barlow

    In mod: delete last two

    Peter Murphy:

    There’s no guarantee that – come the hard way – they will learn at all. “The worse, the better” is one one that should have died with L&n|n.

    Historical Note: Or more accurately, Plekhanov, since on July 20 (New Style) the phrase was commented upon by L#n|n as follows:

    Compare that with today’s (July 7) issue of Yedinstvo, in which Plekhanov’s editorial is compelled to state the indisputable fact that the Sov|ets (i.e., the S.R.s and Mensheviks) will “think over the matter for a fortnight” and that, if power were to pass to the Soviets, “it would be tantamount to victory for L#en|n’s supporters”. “If the Cadets don’t stick to the rule—the worse, the better…,” says Plekhanov, “they themselves will have to admit that they have made a big mistake [by withdrawing from the Cabinet], making the work of L#|in’s supporters easier.”

    L#nIin was not endorsing this idea, but criticising Plekhanov for demanding it of the cadets so as to refute the Bolsheviks. Historical references are great, but repeating convenient mythology? Not so much.

    Interestingly, this very passage contains something far more salient to our current circumstances:

    The objective situation is this. The vast majority of the country’s population is petty-bourgeois by its living conditions and more so by its ideas. But big capital rules the country, primarily through banks and syndicates. There is an urban proletariat in this country, mature enough to go its own way, but not yet able to draw at once the majority of the semi-proletarians to its side. From this fundamental, class fact follows the inevitability of such crises as the three we are now examining, as well as their forms. Three Crises, July 20 (NS) 1917

    Kind of neat, really.

    On your substantive point, yes, there is no guarantee that they will learn at all. Politics doesn’t come with guarantees. It’s at best, informed guesswork. What we can infer with confidence though is that if we simply wash, rinse and repeat the previous cycles where this has occurred, they absolutely will learn nothing. We’ve done that repeatedly and he we are again, hoping that this time it will be different.

    Here and in a couple of other places I frequent, people who assert ‘left’ credentials are suggesting that asylum seeker policy should be conceded. Not only would this be ethically untenable, it would not claw back a single vote. Nobody who is voting against the ALP because “boats” would come back because the ALP was now saying it would adopt Liberal policy. On the contrary, this just further endorses the very tendencies that got us where we are.

  49. Paul Norton

    Fran @49:

    The ALP did a deal for FF to preference the anti-abortion ALP senator Jacinta Collins and fancied they’d get a Democrat at the expense of a Green. When the Democrat vote collapsed, Fielding was elected.

    We discussed this here ad nauseum after it happened, but IIRC what Labor was actually trying to do in Victoria in 2004 was get Collins elected, there was some kind of Byzantine preference arrangement with the Dems as well as FF to this end, and the wheels came off because the Labor vote as well as the Democrat vote collapsed.

    The great Labor brain responsible for this manoeuvre was Stephen Newnham, who as NUS (Victorian) State General Secretary stated in a speech at 1991 NUS National Conference that “some people are meant to be organ grinders and some people are meant to be monkeys, and that’s just the way it is!”.

  50. Lefty E

    When the Democrat vote collapsed, Fielding was elected.

    I know. Like that wasnt already 95% predictable by 2004. Genius!

  51. Terry

    The objective situation is this. The vast majority of the country’s population is petty-bourgeois by its living conditions and more so by its ideas. But big capital rules the country, primarily through banks and syndicates. There is an urban proletariat in this country, mature enough to go its own way, but not yet able to draw at once the majority of the semi-proletarians to its side. From this fundamental, class fact follows the inevitability of such crises as the three we are now examining, as well as their forms. Three Crises, July 20 (NS) 1917

    Surely this describes Western Sydney? We just need to add rugby league and pokies into the mix.

  52. Peter Murphy

    Thank you, Fran@50. I am in furious agreement with your point:

    What we can infer with confidence though is that if we simply wash, rinse and repeat the previous cycles where this has occurred, they absolutely will learn nothing. We’ve done that repeatedly and he we are again, hoping that this time it will be different.

    BTW: having noticing your mangling of “Лeнин”, is his name in the spam filter?

  53. Terry

    “By choosing those big miners, the Labor Government is making it clear to all that it no longer has the courage and the will to work with the Greens on a shared agenda in the national interest,” Senator Milne told the National Press Club.

    “Labor by its actions has walked away from its agreement with the Greens and into the arms of the big miners,” she said.

    “Let’s call a spade a spade – by choosing the big miners the Labor government is no longer honouring our agreement to work together and make transparent government. Labor has effectively ended its agreement with the Greens. Well so be it.”

    Was this all just an elaborate prank on Senator Milne’s part?

  54. Sam

    Speaking of Western Sydney, get this from ex-Minister and Rudd supporter Joel Fitzgibbon, who has vowed to fight any attempts to increase the tax on high income earners’ superannuation

    ‘In Sydney’s west you can be on a quarter of a million dollars family income a year and you’re still struggling,” Mr Fitzgibbon told Fairfax Media.

    A quarter of a mill puts you in the top 1% of family incomes, but I suppose it could be a struggle if you have a $1 million mortgage and are sending three kids to private schools at $25K per year each in fees.

    All struggle is relative.

  55. Liz

    “In Sydney’s West”… *Sigh*. Presumably, that means if you live in Sydney’s East, a quarter million dollars goes a lot further and you’re very well off.

  56. Terry

    “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Rooty Hill Last Night”

  57. Sam

    If you live in Sydney’s West, you work with your hands and look at rugby league for recreation. You might have voted Labor at different times in your life but you secretly admire Tony Abbott.

    If you live in Sydney’s East, you are a public servant and look at Bill Henson’s photographs for recreation. You might have voted Labor at different times in your life but you secretly admire Malcolm Turnbull.

  58. Sam

    Says I, “But Joe [Hockey], you’re [ideas are] ten years dead,”
    “They never died,” says he

  59. Fran Barlow

    Peter Murphy:

    BTW: having noticed your mangling of “Лeнин”, is his name in the spam filter?

    It is, along with the term “l&ft|st”. Oddly, “rightist” makes it through.

    And people think this is a left-of-centre site! ;-)

  60. tigtog

    Actually not in the spam filter, just the automod filter. Every time someone makes a habit of using a particular word as a term of abuse, it gets added to the modbot list so that we can give any comment using the word an eyes-over. So far, nobody in comments here has made a habit of using “rightist” as a key component of their abusive rants.

  61. Peter Murphy

    Some denunciations are more equal than others, Fran. :-)

    Anyway, I bet you can fool the spam filter if you write “lеftist” and “Lеnin” if you substitute “e” for a Cyrillic “е”.

  62. Fran Barlow

    Liz; Sam:

    “In Sydney’s West”… *Sigh*. Presumably, that means if you live in Sydney’s East, a quarter million dollars goes a lot further and you’re very well off.

    Indeed. Struggle street isn’t what it used to be. What we have now from both the major parties is an explicit redefinition of struggling from trying to live in dignity — (i.e in safe and secure premises with basic services, the capacity to send your kids to school and to clothe and feed yourself and your family and maintain your health) to the struggle to live better than almost everyone else.

    Yes it’s hard keeping ahead of the Joneses — not being embarrassed when people come over and find you haven’t two prestige cars in garages, ensuites in every room and pictures from your kids’ triumphs at Cranbrook and your most recent European holiday.

    I regard our household as privileged rather than struggling. Our combined income is around $170k. We don’t own our own home and if we come to do so, we will, in cash flow terms, be a lot worse off — but even then, we won’t be poor or struggling in any meaningful way. We will still be living in at worst, reasonable comfort and will be able to meet all our needs.

    It seems to me that this is one of the problems the ALP faces. Instead of being primarily concerned with looking after those at rtisk of being denied a dignified existence and the scope to participate in the full range of experiences one now thinks of as basic, it is worrying about the challenges upper middle class people have in remaining upper middle class. In my view, that is at once unethical and politically unsustainable.

    While one may have no choice in the short term but to endure the reality that substantial inequality will persist for some time, to celebrate this, to shed tears for the difficulties some find in maintaining it when about 1.2 billion people on the planet are in extreme poverty and another 3-4 billion or so live a good deal worse than most of us surely shames any ostensibly progressive party.

  63. Fran Barlow

    tt:

    So far, nobody in comments here has made a habit of using “rightist” as a key component of their abusive rants.

    I recall you explaining this once before when I made this point, so I was being tongue-in-cheek. It is ironic, but in an odd way, underlines how polite we left|es are. I wonder if “r|ght@rd” is in the automod? It should be but I can’t recall anyone hear using it.

  64. Fran Barlow

    ugh … anyone here

  65. tigtog

    yes, I knew you knew Fran, but this was also for Peter Murphy who was asking, and he pressed my pedant button with spam filter vs mod filter too.

  66. Liz

    Very true, Fran. I live in inner urban Melbourne and I’m fortunate enough to paying off a small flat, so I guess I’m one of the latte sipping elites. But, I rarely earn more than the average wage. I can do this because I only have a whippet to support. Of course, this makes me one of the richest people in the world and I don’t feel like I’m struggling at all.

  67. paul burns

    Liz,
    Whippets do make you feel like that. Almost as cheeky as chihuahuas.

  68. Terry

    ‘On Richard Nixon, Mao said, “I like to deal with rightists. They say what they really think—not like the leftists, who say one thing and mean another.”’

  69. John D

    Defense of the senate is at two levels:
    Firstly that Abbott doesn’t control the senate in his own right. Even characters like Fielding votes against the LNP at times. (If Abbott has any sense he won’t want to control the senate – Look at the damage it did to Howard.
    Secondly, defending the policies we would like defended.

    Most Australians don’t want either major to control the senate. The danger for the left is that many Australians think of the Greens and the ALP being a coalition. for this reason I think that Milne’s efforts to go into the election with clear differences between Greens and the ALP is good tactics.

  70. Peter Murphy

    One of the issues with an Abbott government is that they might cut services. Since KAP are in with a chance to win a senate seat, let’s look at their policies.

  71. Liz

    Very true, Paul. All you need is a good dog to cheer you up.

  72. wmmb

    Given the fact the Senate has never acted as a States House, why not make it democratic by redrawing its’ districts to represent populations? Since it is not clear, at least to me, that it operates as “a house of review”, why not abolish it?

    In that case would the arguments for SOS13 radically change?

  73. jules

    Just out of interest, why is everyone assuming that Tony Abbott will win the next election, 6 months before it happens?

    Its 6 months away, and the guy is so shit scared of any scrutiny that he’s trying for an early election in a months (or thereabouts) time so he doesn’t have to provide any detail about his party’s lack of policies or plans. It appears elected members of his opposition may have been involved in what could be a criminal conspiracy to bring down a government. His major claim – stopping the boats – is clearly something he will not be able to achieve. 90% of what he says is verifiable crap, but no one is actually testing it.

    FFS He couldn’t even be bothered doing the requisite work wrt the BHP report released last year and the Fed court’s ruling on Ashby’s claims against Peter slipper.

    Today he was commenting about what he wouldn’t do in his first term, clearly under the assumption that he was expecting more than one. Yet the election is so far away that to assume a victory is simply unbounded hubris. Its pretty clear that he thinks he can win this without doing the work required of a PM.

    This supposed Abbott victory is an idea that comes from our mainstream trad media – one of the most untrusted institutions in Australia, and for it to be repeated unquestioningly in this post is kind of troubling to me.

    Wouldn’t it be better for sites like this to actually put the opposition leader (and the current fed govt for that matter) under some real scrutiny? Isn’t that what this not so new media is sposed to do?

    If Abbott gets elected based on his previous performance then he’ll sell the abc, dig up the great barrier reef for oil, shoot refugee boats and then put the survivors into work camps based on expanding the 457 visa program, along with people on the dole, while he outlaws all political opposition via federal anti bikie legislation.

    Yet nothing is inevitable, and Abbott has built his whole play for power on foundations of pure bullshit. They won’t hold anything up under the weight of some serious scrutiny.

  74. Paul Norton

    wmmb @74, the changes you’re proposing are all worthy of discussion, but they would all entail complex and difficult constitutional amendments which we’re not going to see this side of the Federal election.

  75. jumpy

    @75

    If Abbott gets elected based on his previous performance then he’ll sell the abc, dig up the great barrier reef for oil, shoot refugee boats and then put the survivors into work camps based on expanding the 457 visa program, along with people on the dole, while he outlaws all political opposition via federal anti bikie legislation.

    This is exactly the ” hyperbowl ” that undermines your credibly as an openminded observer.
    Abbott could cure cancer and achieve world peace but still not get your vote.
    Having said that, on the Senate issue, %10 of the people should not have the final say on legislation that has passed the ” the will of the popular vote ” from electoral mandate.

  76. jules

    What credibly as an open minded observer?

    When did I ever claim to be an open minded orbsever?

    Or observer?

    Tell you what tho, you get Abbott to cure world piece and I’ll congratulate him.

    I’ll vote for Abbott when he stops acting like a power hungry dickhead and comes up with some policies I could support him on.

    And grows a spine.

    (Well actually I won’t. I’ll vote for the local candidate i think deserves my vote and preference the rest in what i consider an appropriate order. I’d have to move hundreds of kilometers and live in some shirt hole city if I actually wanted to vote for Abbott.)

  77. jumpy

    I’ll vote for Abbott when he stops acting like a power hungry dickhead and comes up with some policies I could support him on.

    Well I doubt that but how about “debt ” who has policies( and track record ) to avoid spending $7bill p/a( and growing) in servicing debt to spend on worthwhile things?
    ( Please don’t tell me ALP have ever tried to reduce this debt or the payments this incurs. Or ” blackholes ” Swan has never realised even one budget he has delivered, every time blown terribly )

  78. jules

    Have you got a mortgageOh noes – debt!1111!

  79. jules

    Anyway. Saying “what about debt” as if the words have some meaning doesn’t hide the fact that Abbott can’t be bothered doing the actual work. He has no policies and wants government without having to do any.

    Whatever your political allegiance this should be a massive red flashing light. The person everyone assumes will be the next PM can’t be arsed keeping on top of little issues like BHP’s reasons for closing Olympic Dam and a Federal Court judgement that seriously criticised a potential minister in his government. And who knows what else.

  80. jumpy

    It’s actually quite liberating having paid off the mortgage knowing that Monday,Tuesday and a piece of Wednesday is now earning money.
    If I hada opted for a less-flash home I woulda been able to afford more things.
    Funny eh ? Guess I was young and naive back then.

  81. jumpy

    He has no policies and wants government without having to do any.

    Oh, here’s their plan (PDF), recommended read for you.

  82. jules

    @82 so going into debt when you got that mortgage was to some extent, a good idea.

  83. jumpy

    @84
    No, not really, should have stayed renting the modest house and invested the difference+ rates( and various repairs). Compound interest on that and a better off financial position I’d have.

  84. jumpy

    Sorry for the offtopicness.
    I’d like to get attitudes toward Senators being Ministers even though they’re not directly elected by the people. Seems like any old party man/woman can be a Minister under the current system.
    I don’t like it (heh).