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132 responses to “Weekly Election 2013 Roundtable”

  1. Jumpy

    It’s difficult, nay immoral and heartless , to blame Rudd for his affliction.
    He obviously has inherited ( the newly discovered ) arsehole gene.
    It’s an affliction poor thing, like ADHD, not his fault or in his control.
    I just hope and pray it’s covered by the NDIS.
    And more funding for the scientific heroes to find a cure.

  2. zorronsky

    Let’s see how Rudd handles the media and Opposition playing hardball (without the accompaniment of misogyny and a leaking Minister ala Julia’s treatment) now that the gloves are off. If the latest ABC efforts in the production of The Drum and 24/7 News and evening News are anything to go by. Oh and the rumour of a Murdoch softening? Ha ha ha, Yeah right!

  3. David

    The Greens are claiming Milne should be a part of the leaders debates even though she has no serious chance of becoming PM, which is what the debates are for.

  4. wantok

    The media and the opposition have been playing games today and trying to politicise the tragic loss of lives associated with the Home Insulation Program following the release of the Coroner’s findings :


    It is a despicable attempt to damage Kevin Rudd who was PM at the time and try and find a link between the deaths and the federal government although none exists.
    Whilst the Coroner makes findings and criticisms that implicate the Federal Government for the speed of implementation and popularity of the HIP scheme the principle criticism was levelled at the employers who failed in not providing adequate training and not carrying out their statutory Workplace Health & Safety obligations (criminal action against the employers may follow). He was also highly critical of the Qld state government who are responsible for overseeing workplace safety.

  5. Graham Bell

    David @ 3

    Don’t bet on it.

    Despite the resuscitation of Kevin Rudd, there is still so much loathing, disgust, hatred, fear and distrust towards the two main political parties by the electors who are beneath the view of political commentators that all things are possible.

    Even a Prime Minister Katter or a Prime Minister Willkie or a Prime Minister Joyce.

  6. Salient Green

    David @ 3, I can’t find any info as to whether a leaders debate is defined by potential leaders or leaders of parties.
    Have you got a problem with the Greens, as a significant part of Australian politics, being included in leaders debates?

  7. Russell

    Before the last British election the debate was a threesome of Brown, Cameron and Clegg. So a threesome has precedent.

  8. pablo

    Last weekend (June30) Rudd attended the tribute to Yotha Yindi front man Mandapoy Yunipingu the subject of an extended telecast on ABC TV. It was a wonderful rambling fusion of state funeral and indigenous wake roughly steered by resigning federal minister and muso, Peter Garrett. During the lengthy tribute Rudd would have had plenty of time to ponder the unmistakable reminders from indigenous participants of the need for a treaty. They were constant yet there appears to have been little mention of them in national media. God knows what impression they made on PM Kev, giver of the Apology. Could it become an election promise, a restoration of ‘the balance’ as singer Paul Kelly implored last weekend? Over to you Kevin.

  9. John D

    Possum has this interesting analysis of state by state polls and the implications for actual seats won. His conclusion:

    My election simulation produces a similar result 76 seats to the ALP vs. 72 to the Coalition, with 2 Independents.

    You need to follow the link to see how he comes to this conclusion. The big thing is the effect of the strong swing to Rudd.

  10. alfred venison

    there was a five way debate in canada in 2008. one party with candidates in only one province (bloc quebecoise) and the greens leader, with no seat, in parliament was included because they got 4.5% of the popular vote in 2006. btw, the greens were the only party in 2008 to increase its popular vote (6.8%) but they still didn’t get a seat, they got a seat in 2011 on 3.9% of the popular vote. first past the post !

    all leaders should be in the debates, including the nationals leader who for better or worse should have to argue his party’s position himself. he shouldn’t get a free ride on the liberal leader’s performance. and if clive palmer gets a seat he should be allowed a chance to embarrass himself as well. -a.v.

  11. Jumpy

    How about a series of debates?
    ALP and Libs are seeded so they make the semi finals.
    Minor parties hold a qualifier round with eliminations resulting in 2 clear qualifiers
    Q1v ALP,= winner A
    Q2 v Lib, = winner B
    AvB in the Grand Final.

    ( my money would be on Lib v Nat in the GF. Outcome a draw.)

  12. David

    This intervention by Rudd is very dramatic, but it also strikes me as being similar to times in the past when the NSW Labor Right invited, yes, invited, intervention from the federal party and/or reorganisation; first when they were going through de-Langification; once again during the fifties, when they were keen to prove they’d rid themselves of Grouper influence; and finally during the early seventies, when John Ducker proposed intervention into NSW as a counterbalance to intervention into Victoria.

    I expect there will be non-ALP Leftwingers who will slam this a charade, but they’ll do so without understanding that history having placed them outside Labor sort of places them at a disadvantage. I also expect the media to crow about this being a good way to get rid of factions, because terrible factions like the NSW Right have never done anything worthwhile for the party like, say, promote Chifley, Whitlam, or Keating to national leadership.

    (b.) I wonder if this very necessary type of inhouse reform, without which Sydney Labor can’t make a serious effort at the election, was ever on offer to Gillard?

    If they never coordinated anything like this with her, then that goes to show she never had a chance.

    (c.) Peter Beattie did something like this in Qld after corruption scandals circa 2000, and he reaped massive political rewards. Of course he didn’t have the same levels of slime to get rid of…

  13. paul burns

    Is Rudd snookering Abbott over asylum seekers? Really, at his best Kev (and I’m not being disrespectful there, but affectionate) is a delight to watch.
    The Libs must be shitting themselves wondering which of their slogans he’s going to dismantle next. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Mr. Rabbit’s office. Bloodied knuckles from boxing walls, I’d say.

  14. PhilL

    John D @ 9

    I think Possum’s predictions are far too optimistic for the ALP, in particular in Queensland. Rudd may be a Queenslander, but lets not forget the State election results 15 months ago. In NSW, Labor is still very unpopular and so it is in Tasmania where it is likely that there will be a backlash against the sitting State Labor/ Greens coalition:Federal Labor may lose 3 ( may be 4) of the 4 seats it is currently holding there.
    I think some commentary about a possible Labor win ( see Barry Cassidy’s piece in The Drum) overlooks the fact that labor has been unpopular for about three years. In another Drum posting, Chris Uhlmann reminds us that overall the ALP is still perceived as dysfunctional and has indeed deep divisions. How can a party in such a position win seats?
    Before Rudd took over, it was all about ” saving the furniture”, now we hear about a possible win. I think we are getting ahead of ourselves. If we achieve a Senate without a Coaltion majority, the progressive side of politics will have scored a big win. But we are not there yet. There is still a lot of anger and hate against Labor out there, and this is bound to resurface once the”honeymoon” is over. (Wait and see the reaction to the insulation story)

  15. wantok

    PhilL Things have changed quite dramatically in Queensland with the $57,000 pay hike that our pollies must have or they’d be breaking the law.
    All of Newman’s blustering has come down to the fact that he won’t amend a simple piece of legislation to correct this appalling grab for money.
    There are a lot of people throughout Qld who are regretting that they gave the LNP such a massive majority and I don’t think they would do the same again on a federal basis. Having said that, I agree it’s not going to be easy and the Labor party will have to work very hard to retain government.

    PS: after Rudd’s interview on 7.30 Leigh Sales said that they expected to get Tony Abbott on the next evening but it didn’t happen. I emailed them and was told that he had been invited but declined and they hope to get him on next week: what is it with this guy ?

  16. Jumpy

    what is it with this guy ?

    Never interrupt the enemy when their making mistakes.

  17. Nick Caldwell

    Yes, the LNP are about as popular as necrotising dysentery in Queensland. If the ALP does indeed have the sense God gave geese, they’ll already be preparing the mother of all in-sadness-rather-than anger election campaigns for the state.

  18. Paul Norton

    Possum’s Prophecy from 2010 has held up remarkably well, except for his hopes for the Liberal moderates.

  19. Jumpy

    Nick @ 17

    Yes, the LNP are about as popular as necrotising dysentery in Queensland.

    Do you have any poll results to back that statement up ?

  20. Terry

    One of the key things that has resulted from the return of Rudd, and its impact on the polls, is its impact on momentum. For as long as it was generally assumed that the Liberals would win, various parties were working on teh premise that an Abbott government was inevitably who they would be dealign with after September.

    This is true of industry lobby groups of course, but it also has an impact within government departments: once it is sensed that the Minister in question will not be around for long, key people start to “go slow” on anything they are proposing.

    It particularly impacts upon the media. Journalists have an eye to who they may be dealing with when they are in government, and start to go soft on them while in opposition if they expect them to be in office, and hence dependent on them in the near future. Moreover, with the current climate for journalism jobs, a number have their eyes on media officer positions when the staff numbers are increased after they become ministers.

    It is early days yet, but if the “Ruddmentum” is sustained, I expect more critical coverage of the opposition, as some of these journalists start to contemplate that they may yet be dealign with Rudd, Albanese, Bowen etc. after September. Journalists have a pack mentality, and when they expect a landslide result one way or another, they quickly fall into line behind the perceived winners.

  21. Jacques de Molay

    Former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser campaigning today in Adelaide for the re-election of Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

    Supposedly he’s been copping a lot of abuse from right-wingers on Twitter for it.

  22. Ronson Dalby

    I was a member of the Libs (and YLibs) back in the 70s and early 80s, Jacques, (I left because of Howard – took a major dislike to him even back then) – branch vice-president, delegate to state and federal conventions or whatever they were called. I still look back at a party that, in a general way, was definitely left of what the ALP is today.

    I have no trouble seeing Fraser in the role he’s in these days.

  23. paul burns

    I’m not sure I got this right, but is the Opposition policy on refugee boats now we’ll send the boats back even if it risks a war with Indonesia?

  24. GregM

    I’m not sure I got this right, but is the Opposition policy on refugee boats now we’ll send the boats back even if it risks a war with Indonesia?

    Paul the flaw in your question is that it presupposes its own answer – classic begging the question.

    There is no reason to believe that however much the Opposition’s policy on refugee boats pissed the Indonesians off that the Indonesians would go to war with Australia over it.

    They didn’t go to war with Australia over East Timor in 1999, and this is a tenth order issue to Indonesia compared to that.

    Aside from that if they were really pissed off with Australia they would not need to go to war with us. They could just close off the Sunda Strait and the Bali Strait to shipping out of Australia and deny overflight rights over their airspace to aircraft out of Australia.

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop would be working overtime to see a rapid U-turn in Liberal party policy.

  25. wantok

    paul burns @ 23: this was the coalitions position, it’s all done with ‘winks & nods’ and faceless Indonesian diplomats who talk exclusively to Julie Bishop:


  26. David

    It seems Indonesia is playing ball with Rudd against Aboott and Morrison. The Coalition’s talking point to rebuke all this is pretty sad, IMO; they’re declaring that ‘turning back the boats’ isn’t unilateral action, because you no what was unilateral action? The Labor government’s attempt to end Howard’s policy when they got into power. Unilateral action against the wishes of the Silent Majority, that’s when you use the language of diplomatic incidents!

    Victoria’s state Coalition government is making serious noises about signing up to Gonski-that-isn’t-called-Gonski-anymore. This is surprising. If it happens, then it means Dennis Napthine has decided his own reelection in 2014 is of greater importance than whatever Abbott is up to in 2013.

    Labor’s campaign operation wants to fight across more territory now that their electoral anti-Midas has been replaced by KRudd.

    And about that importance of preferences we were talking about earlier: the Libs are poised to preference Labor in Melbourne, against Green Adam Bandt, in exchange for ALP preferences in the open seat of Mallee, which is now open because of a National retirement. If Rudd takes Melbourne back, and Abbott takes another safe seat off his Coalition partners (the third in Vic in 15 years, I think) then this will be how it’s done.

    There was a good piece behind a paywall about the dynamics of cross-factional coalition building in Labor leadership battles. Deputy senate leader Jacinta Collins is now the only fullterm Gillard loyalist in the party’s leadership team at Canberra (Penny Wong and Anthony Albanese supported Rudd in the decisive fight), because she decided on a whim to oppose Rudd number’s man Senator Kim Carr in the sudden ballot for that job that occurred once Wong ascended to the position left open by Stephen Conroy. Collins, btw, is a social conservative Catholic Rightwinger, pro-life, anti-gay marriage. The Victorian Carr is an oldschool Leftwing Marxist fellow traveller, albeit a realistic one.

    She beat him with a super majority; presumably all the other Gillard deadenders voted for her, plus a bunch of Rudd backers gave her their votes, too.

  27. Giles Of Green Anthrax

    Rudd got he wanted from his trip to Indonesia which was a headline Indonesian statement that they oppose tow-back.

    But it will not shift votes.

    Coalition voters do not care if Asylum seekers drown, could not care less if it is woman and children drowning, and indeed would support a policy of mandatory drowning of Asylum seekers.

    The Coalition statement of they are Indonesian boats so not our problem provides welcome fig leaf moral cover for the macabre anticipation of gruesome satisfaction in watching brown skinned people die on TV at our hands.

    By the by, Ray Hadlee and Scott Morrison have an uncanny similarity in vocal intonation and delivery – sustained and unrelenting hostility – which makes me thing that Morrison, Thatcher-like and a marketing professional, has deliberately cultivated it.

  28. Brian

    Rudd changes the rules for electing the leader. Also at the SMH.

  29. Jumpy

    What is it with ALP politicians having different surnames to their spouses ?

  30. tigtog


    What is it with ALP politicians having different surnames to their spouses ?

    Why shouldn’t they?

  31. Russell

    “”The reforms I announce today will give more power to everyday members of the Labor Party. They will ensure that power will never again rest in the hands of a factional few,” Mr Rudd told reporters in Canberra.”

    How many ALP members are union members? In W.A. we have a campaign going on by one major union to sign up enough of its members to the ALP that they will be able to control it. So would this change mean that the party became even more a union party, because I thought the idea was to broaden the party to the wider (non-union) community.

    I prefer Westminster cabinet style government to the presidential model so this change doesn’t impress me. If the person chosen to be leader can’t do the job well when they become PM, then try someone else.

  32. Katz

    I agree Russell.

    Rudd’s proposals are a return to the unreconstructed, megalomaniacal Rudd of 2008-2010.

    This is the Grocery Watch of political leadership.

  33. Jumpy

    [email protected]

    Why shouldn’t they?

    Who suggested or inferred they shouldn’t ? certainly not me.
    It just seems that the practice is far more prolific in that group that almost any other I can think of.
    ABC media people is another but I admit there is a crossover with those two groups.

  34. David Irving (no relation)

    I give you Peta Credlin, Jumpy.

  35. tigtog

    Jumpy, politics and media (not just around the ABC either – KAK?) are two careers where name recognition both publicly and professionally is a crucial aspect of career progression. Academia is another. It’s part of most career paths to a certain extent (I know at least one divorced woman who had conventionally changed her surname when she married immediately after university who nonetheless kept her ex-husbands surname for professional reasons when she married again 20 years later). I don’t understand why anyone who has “built a name for themselves”, as the saying goes, would change that name and lose that recognition factor. Many of us who don’t have any public recognition factor decline to deploy time, energy and money on the surname-change paperwork shuffle simply because it seems pretty pointless, after all.

    I hadn’t even realised until your question prompted me to google it that Sophie Mirabella did change her surname when she married in 2006. No wonder I had the sense that she zoomed in from nowhere – I only vaguely remember being aware of her as Sophie Panopoulos. Presumably as the incumbent MP of a safe seat she felt that she would have plenty of time to overcome the name-change recognition problem, and that the social conservative portion of her electorate would appreciate the gesture. I wonder whether she would have done it were she still a working barrister?

  36. Paul Norton

    Further to tigtog @35, when Catholic conservative commentator Miranda Devine was married she was mortified when her employer (which was then, as now, News Ltd AFAIK) insisted that she continue to be known by her birth name to maintain the name recognition factor, rather than doing the good Catholic thing and taking her new husband’s name.

  37. Moz is supposed to be working

    [email protected] What is it with ALP politicians having different surnames to their spouses ?

    Like The Greens, their politicians have moved with the times and no longer look back fondly to the days when women were chattels. These days they can vote, even. Isn’t that remarkable?

    The only women I know who change their names tend to do it after having children and being ground down by multiple instances of “that can’t be your child, it has a different sire-name”. No shit sherlock, I’m not its father. How remarkable that you should be able to notice that but not the fact that the child addresses me as “mum”. Repeat ad nauseum.

    What’s interesting is a number of friends where it’s gone the other way – Mr Whatsit has changed his name to match Dr Whosit because changing her name would screw up an already fragile academic career. And think of the children!

  38. Jumpy

    How generous of you but no thanks. She always reminds me of the Shawn Mullins lyrics in Lullaby

    ’cause even her smile
    looks like a frown
    she’s seen her share of devils
    in this angel town

    @35 & 36
    Thanks, that would explain some of it. Actresses and Business Women for the same ” name recognition ” reasons.
    Moz @37
    Well then, because of you tone, I give you Lee Brown/ O’Gorman/ Rhiannon or even Doris Bagshawe

  39. Jumpy

    your tone

  40. Nickws

    How many ALP members are union members? In W.A. we have a campaign going on by one major union to sign up enough of its members to the ALP that they will be able to control it. So would this change mean that the party became even more a union party, because I thought the idea was to broaden the party to the wider (non-union) community.

    Russell, okay, so you were posting this soon after the news broke, I understand that, but your conflation of Rudd going for something that’s actually much closer to the UK Tory leadership election model than what British Labour does for its contests (!), with vague allegations of union block conference stacks, that’s a non sequitur.

    No doubt it sounds pleasing to Liberal ears, though.

  41. Brian

    Shorten has reached agreement with Tasmania on the Better Schools new funding arrangements, aka Gonski.

    Victoria is still a possibility. In Qld I believe that Newman simply won’t spend more Qld’s money on schooling, apart from politicking over the issue, which might in fact be secondary.

  42. Nick Caldwell

    “Calm down” — Tony Abbott.

    Tones’ inability to handle a persistent line of questioning from a journalist is quite something.

  43. Moz in Oz

    OK Jumpy, you’ve lost me completely. As far as I can tell you’re referring to a single individual with that list, and she’s 62… she has lived through the times when women were pressured to change their names. Doesn’t change my point about the women I know who’ve changed their names, and the backward-looking types who struggle with women who don’t.

  44. Jumpy

    Yeah Moz, @43

  45. Russell

    Nickws – I have never voted for, and can’t imagine ever, voting for the Liberal Party. I have stopped voting for the ALP in W.A. because they are just beyond the pale.

    You can Google up stuff about my vague allegation

    I don’t know what the answer is re getting a wider sample of the community to join the ALP, but I don’t see Rudd’s proposal as actually getting more community input into the leadership, but possibly delivering it into even more concentrated hands.

  46. Russell

    Brian, interesting ….. Giddings was saying she wouldn’t agree because of the regulations/conditions giving some control to Canberra. She now says “Tasmania wanted to ensure … that there is ongoing consultation with the states over the regulations that will govern the reform process. ” Has someone backed down?

    I like the little anti-Canberra kick at the end of the press release: “The Government will work closely with principals, teachers and school communities to determine how these additional funds should be spent because ultimately they know what is best for their kids.”

  47. Nickws

    Russell @ 45

    You can Google up stuff about my vague allegation

    Ah, it’s not vague at all; it’s the WA branch of the MUA bignoting itself as being more powerful than the national executive of the ALP, i.e. the body that can easily intervene to prevent any ruckus in state conference.

    My advice to you is not to believe the propaganda of any union that says it’s genuinely, realistically committed to rolling the dominant factional alliance in its state branch. That stuff is kabuki theatre. In fact, it’s called an ambit claim in IR. : – )

    I don’t know what the answer is re getting a wider sample of the community to join the ALP, but I don’t see Rudd’s proposal as actually getting more community input into the leadership, but possibly delivering it into even more concentrated hands.

    I reiterate—Rudd’s proposal sees the union movement structure having no formal vote in this process. It sees national conference having no formal vote. That makes it the same as what Conservative and Liberal parties in Britain & Canada do, it’s actually quite different than what the labour parties over there do (surely there will be Left critics who will raise this point).

    Of course it seems individual members of all affiliated unions across the country will be able to vote, as per their rights to vote in those states that already let ordinary subbranch members vote in preselections.

    If you want to rabbit on about a mass of union bosses being bound to pervert this process, because LOOK AT THE HORDE, then knock yourself out. The ideological culture war is over that way {points to, I dunno, conservative think tanks, perhaps odd Rightwing Greens; but at least they’re not actual Liberals}.

  48. Russell

    Nickws, your advice seems a bit dodgy … we have read for years about the steadily declining membership of the ALP and Libs, and now we read about a campaign to stack the W.A. branch of the ALP:

    “In the past 12 months, the number of MUA members who are also Labor members has increased more than fivefold to 850, up from 150 a year ago. This means one in four of the 3500 members of the ALP is now aligned to the MUA.”

    That was in April – do you know what the numbers are now? Presumably these will be the members who would be voting for the leader of the party. Given what we see go on over Senate pre-selections – a fairly nasty business of union dealing and double-crossing – I’m not sure why you’re so sanguine that this branch-stacking campaign is unimportant.

  49. Brian

    Russell @ 46, when I heard Giddings’ protests earlier I thought, she’s only got to Google the Better Schools site to know what she’s talking is crap. I have no idea what the real reasons were, but they could have been about the potential impact on their share of the GST, which I hadn’t heard before.

  50. Russell

    Brian – you seem to have a very low opinion of Premier Giddings.

    You say that “I have no idea what the real reasons were ..” yet you’re now prepared to believe that just one of the three that she gives might be valid – because that one isn’t a criticism of the deal that was being offered.

    Why would she make this up: “Tasmania wanted to ensure … that there is ongoing consultation with the states over the regulations that will govern the reform process.” ?

    Why isn’t the most obvious explanation acceptable to you – that state premiers don’t see why Canberra should be able to impose requirements via school plans on their state schools?

  51. Brian

    Russell, I don’t have any opinion on Premier Giddings. This is from the Better Schools site:

    Education authorities will have the flexibility to adjust the funding they allocate to schools according to local need, but these decisions will need to be transparent and accountable. Information on the distribution of funding will be available on My School, so parents and the wider community can see that public funding is being provided to schools based on the needs of the students attending that school. (Emphasis added)

    I recall that in Queensland’s case Garrett said that there had been 57 consultations with the state at a time Newman was claiming that the whole thing had been sprung on them. I assume there had been a similar pattern of consultation with Tasmania.

    The main thing is that they have now signed up.

  52. Lefty E


    AFPs behavior over Slipper and Ashby seems highly compromised and worryingly politicized . We need a federal anti police corruption watchdog, just as we have in the states.

  53. Lefty E

    This really is important: an exception to normal parliamentary expenses practice was made for Slipper’s $900. Abbott got to repay 10 TIMES AS MUCH ($9000) for example. And thats before we even start on why the much more serious charges surrounding Ashby have not been moved on.

    As Kingston concludes

    The AFP is compromised when it comes to investigating politicians. Always has been, always will be. Federal politics needs an independent body to investigate alleged political corruption, as in ICAC in NSW and the CMC in Queensland

  54. Terry

    The question of what is the appropriate weighting of treade union influence over Labor Party decision making is by no means a uniquely Australian issue. In the UK, Ed Miliband has announced plans to reform party voting rules to reduce power of union-dominated factions, leading to much criticism from trade union leaders.
    This sounds vaguely familiar?

    Ed Miliband had better check there are no videos of him swearing at Chinese translators, and that he has always been nice to airline cabin staff.

  55. Brian

    Lefty E @ 53, there is a smell about that one without doubt. Kingston also points out that the expenses concerned were not part of the Ashby complaint. Those were found to be baseless. They then went further back in history for something to pin on Slipper, which should have been covered as routine administration, if there was a problem.

  56. Brian

    On party reform, Tingle points out today that Rudd’s reforms will ultimately have to run the gauntlet of a Party conference. If the ALP is defeated there is a fair chance they won’t get up.

    Also she says Rudd squibbed doing anything about how senate candidates are selected in the NSW intervention.

    It seems in the UK Miliband wants a system of registered party supporters, as well as members. And a system of primaries in selecting candidates:

    In his second major reform he will propose US-style primaries for parliamentary and mayoral posts in which registered supporters, as well as full party members, are able to vote.

    The AFR also places ALP member numbers in the context of football clubs. At about 35,000 there are 10 AFL clubs with more members.

  57. paul burns
  58. Sam

    At about 35,000 there are 10 AFL clubs with more members.

    AFL membership gets you a season’s ticket to see 11 home games.

    ALP membership gives you the right to attend monthly branch meetings in a cold and draughty hall where you get to hear the Secretary read the minutes and correspondence, debate motions which if passed will be ignored by the Party, and hand out how to vote cards on election day to punters who are at best indifferent and at worst hostile.

    There is no comparison about which one is better value.

  59. paul burns

    ALP membership.
    But then again, I don’t like sport.

  60. alfred venison

    the same as what Conservative and Liberal parties in Britain & Canada do, it’s actually quite different than what the labour parties over there do (surely there will be Left critics who will raise this point)

    i’ll jump. actually, the left party in canada is the ndp (new democratic party) not the liberals. its pretty weird & varied in canadia, this summary is from wiki articles.

    every ndp biennial convention is a leadership convention, if members vote for it. at ndp conventions unions allocate 1/3 of delegates and members 2/3. ballot is “exhaustive ballot”: low scoring candidates at each round of voting withdraw and endorse one of the high scoring candidates until there are two candidates left.

    liberal party
    delegates at the liberal party leadership convention are elected by (1) riding (electorate) associations, (2) women’s associations, and (3) young liberal clubs. Each electoral district was allocated 100 points, with points in a district allocated in proportion to each candidate by the number of first preference votes received. hundreds of other ex-officio delegates are automatically awarded delegate spots at the convention, including liberal mps, senators, riding (electorate) association presidents, past candidates and members of provincial or territorial association executive boards. only liberals who join the party at least 90 days before the delegate-selection meetings could vote for delegates. voting takes place over a week and is preferential ballot, online or by phone.

    conservative party
    Each of 308 ridings (electorates) has 100 points which are distributed among leadership candidates by proportional representation according to votes cast by party members in the riding.

    green party
    convention every 4 years. ballots are mailed to “members in good standing”. one member one vote, proportional ballot system

    bloc quebecois (also a left party)
    one member one vote. proportional ballot at which members list 1st, 2nd & 3rd choices only.

  61. Brian

    Independent schools have signed up to ‘Gonski’. That’s another 1,050 schools and 562,000 students.

    Mr Shorten says he is working to “close some of the deals” before the July 14 deadline, but again stressed that the Commonwealth would not offer any more money.

    “I’m optimistic that we can achieve quite a lot between now and Sunday,” he said.

    “I remain optimistic that I can keep having the same constructive dialogue with the National Catholic Education Commission, with the Victorian Government, with the Territory, with Western Australia and with Queensland.

    “I don’t know how to give up.”

    Mr Shorten said federal funding to independent schools will flow through directly to those schools regardless of whether the relevant state government has signed up or not.

  62. Terry

    Rudd is holding a special caucus meeting on July 22. If this meeting is to discuss more than rule changes for electing an ALP leader, then it will most likely be about election strategy. Given the problem he has with one of the 102 caucus members leaking a later date if he mentions it at that meeting, there is a theory that he will use this as an announcement to go early, August 24 or 31.

  63. Ambigulous

    But couldn’t he discuss election strategy in caucus, and avoid specifying a date? I reckon he’ll go later.

  64. Terry

    I’d like him to go later. Depends on how much he trusts the caucus. My source for this is a Canberra press gallery type.

  65. Ambigulous

    You didn’t have dinner with The Sphere, did you Terry?
    Finished way too early.

  66. Terry

    No, well below The Sphere in the pecking order. And it wasn’t Richo either.

  67. Terry

    I wonder if The Sphere has blackballed Latho from being part of the Nine Election team this time around?

  68. Russell

    “Pyne is correct” say Anne Twomey and Cheryl Saunders.

    “she’s [Giddings] only got to Google the Better Schools site to know what she’s talking is crap”. Apparently not – I think we can trust Twomey and Saunders. I always thought it more likely that the government’s website was cr*p.

  69. Brian

    Russell, Twomey and Saunders are lawyers, not educators. If you have to come to a yes-no answer then they are right. But we are working in the context of moving to a national system of schooling and a local needs-based funding system which is equitable across educational systems and the country.

    As such it allows significant discretion at state and school level.

    Some of their criticisms are arguments that have been lost in a bipartisan move to a national system that allows significant individual school autonomy. I think the design of the ‘Gonski’ implementation is surprisingly flexible.

    Giddings, as premier, probably has limited time to wrap her mind around what’s going on. I said in an earlier post that many higher echelon departmental officials don’t have the time or perhaps the specialist knowledge to understand what’s going on. Premiers and state eduction ministers even less so unless they have a particular interest. Garrett in this context was impressive.

    In the circumstances I was possibly a bit harsh and Giddings no doubt had understandable fears, but probably based on ignorance. I hope it’s all good now!

    BTW I’ve also said I don’t necessarily agree with moving to a national education system, and I definitely have concerns about the model we are being offered. But short term there is a need to be pragmatic and go with the flow if you can’t change it.

  70. Brian

    BTW the stuff on the Better Schools site is quite well written and less careful, guarded and convoluted than you usually get with material written by public servants. That’s on a quick view.

    It’s not “crap”.

  71. Russell

    Right. Giddings is ignorant, and so is Barnett (who was previously an impressive education minister), their higher echelon departmental officials don’t have the time or perhaps the specialist knowledge to understand what’s going on, Twomey and Saunders aren’t educators, Garrett is impressive, and the governments PR website is well-written.

    We’re not discussing the needs-based funding system which everyone agrees on, but on the grab for control of the administration of schooling which the government has tied up with it.

    Saunders and Twomey confirm that it is a grab for increased control: “the new laws, regulations and related agreements signify unprecedented federal power over schools at a far more detailed level than previously”

    That fool Garrett is quoted :”But former schools minister Peter Garrett insisted before he quit the ministry that it was not shift in power: “In fact our plan specifically requires state governments to increase the decision-making powers of local school principals.” Our plan REQUIRES state governments ….

    Perhaps I’ve read too much Andrew Norton but I agree with him that it’s not a bad thing to have different state systems that are able to try new things and learn from each others’ progress, rather than have Canberra decide how education is going to go right across Australia. As Saunders writes:

    “each school authority, including the participating states, must have an “implementation plan” setting out “activities, programs and initiatives” in relation to which the federal minister may give “directions”. The legislation makes it clear that this is a unilateral and not a co-operative exercise.

    The states are concerned because this legislation makes major inroads into their primary responsibility for the running of schools and collaborating with each other on joint policy objectives. It also overrides what they argue is their experience and local knowledge in running schools and their capacity to deliver services more effectively than the Commonwealth. And it weakens the opportunities offered by a federal system for particular states to experiment with new initiatives in response to new ideas and to respond to local needs”

    There was an article in the Communist Party’s august journal The Guardian by Anna Pha in which she wrote of the ideology the govenrment has wrapped up with Gonski:

    “give principals the power of a CEO
    to hire, fire, promote and reward teachers and
    other staff, and to manage budgets for recurrent
    and minor capital expenditure. State schools
    will gain autonomy similar to that of private
    schools, paving the way for their privatisation.
    They will be encouraged to raise additional
    funding through corporate partnerships and
    from parents and other sources.”

    Sounds like Robert’s nightmare vision of the LNP policy! There’s another article on The Conversation today about a new report which critiques the ideas that inform Gillard’s policy: “This agenda, which is informed by market-based notions of choice, competition, accountability and standardisation, has been replicated unsuccessfully by a number of Western countries, none of which are high performers internationally,” the report said.

    “These policies are based on an argument that schools, like businesses, should thrive depending on their ability to meet or create consumer demands. This leads to providing autonomy to local schools, enhancing choice for parents, and the provision of more information, so that consumers can drive out the bad schools and support development of good schools. While this approach may seem logical, it has a number of issues.”

    I don’t accept the argument that ‘short term there is a need to be pragmatic and go with the flow if you can’t change it.’ By not agreeing to $300 million W.A. has been offered $900 million. By not being pressured by the government’s stupid deadlines the state governments will hopefully be able to put the terms of the regulations/conditions up for negotiation, rather than just signing up to Canberra control of the education system.

  72. alfred venison

    wow, you’re really into this, westerner. kudos for sticking to your guns. i think gonski is indicative of shift in the country towards a more unitary state and away from a federal state. i think that’s regrettable as i am a federalist through and through. -a.v.

  73. paul burns

    the Communist Party’s august journal The Guardian

    Fair crack of the whip, Russell. If there is a Communist Party journal in Australia its Green Left Weekly, and that’s absolutely more democratic socialist than communist.
    Bloody rightwing drongo who has no idea what either communism, socialism or leftwing liberalism really are.
    But I’m really glad to see the new Guardian has got your nose out of joint. Now you realise what we felt like reading rightwing garbage from the Murcoch Empire year after year.
    And just little online left wing rag gives you apoplexy. Didums!

  74. Russell

    Paul, your comment is wrong on many levels. Follow this Link

    I might accept a lot labels, including confused, but rightwing isn’t one of them. I certainly feel quite a bit left of the ALP – the party which boasts of being a low-taxing government. Lord, I still think that universities should be free!

  75. Tim Macknay

    Paul, Russell isn’t confused or making it up. There is in fact a newspaper called The Guardian, sometimes handed out in the street in WA, which is a staunchly doctrinaire Marxist-Leninist publication. Last time someone gave me a copy, it identified itself on the cover as the newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia. It is completely unrelated to the English publication sometimes known as the Grauniad, which has recently added an Australian wing. I’m not sure if it’s available outside WA though, or if the said Communist Party is the same entity Paul Norton used to be associated with.

  76. Russell

    I could have left the quote from The Guardian out, but I sort of liked including it together with my reference to Andrew Norton – does this not signify catholic tastes in blog-reading?

    Alf – I thought of you recently when reading a subscription mining industry database/blog – they are sooo glad to see Kevin back. They think he is, and will be, much more anti-union than Julia. Even if the ALP lose the election they want Kevin there so the Senate won’t block any Abbott IR rollbacks.

  77. Tim Macknay

    I guess Russell’s link cleared up any confusion.

  78. Tim Macknay

    BTW mods, nothing controversial in my moderated comment. Just backing up Russell’s claim about The Guardian (not the Grauniad).

  79. GregM

    Paul [email protected] The Guardian, the Worker’s Weekly is the name of the organ of the Communist Party of Australia , formerly the Socialist Party of Australia, aka the Stalinists. It has wonderful articles such as “Lenin on Australia Still Relevant” with a quote from Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume19, pages 216-217 (which makes pretty good reading by the way, and is as true now as it was when it was written) about the ALP in the1913 Australian election.

    Do not confuse it with the Guardian of the UK, Australian Edition, a recent interloper which is the newspaper of lefty bien pensants.

    As for quality journalism I think that the CPA product has the edge but then even the Green Left Weekly is better than the UK Guardian.

  80. Terry

    The author of the quoted article in The Guardian may have been demonstrating “revisionist and liquidationist tendencies“.

  81. Russell

    Terry – that takes me back: during my China years I would start each day with The People’s Daily and my dictionary – didn’t do much for my conversational Chinese!

  82. alfred venison

    yes, i agree, university should be free, and billionaires ought to endow research scholarships, instead of casinos or media that run interference with climate change responses. -a.v.

  83. alfred venison

    the j. d. packer chair of mathematical probability. -a.v.

  84. Jumpy

    I think university education should be free too.
    But only for students that, after completion, perform a vital service society.
    Some of the courses available ATM should not.

  85. Terry

    It takes me back too. 20 years ago I used to live around the corner from the now National Secretary of the CPA. I wish I was still in contact with her, as she would have plenty of stories about the many past lives of Senator Rhiannon.

  86. paul burns

    Ah. Grovelling apology Russell for having it wrong on so many counts. An obscure Communist paper from WA. Perhaps I should be better informed, but you can understand how I got it confused. I guess. Twenty grovels.
    That quote of Lenin’s on the ALP is famous.
    Meanwhile back in the real world, ICAC or the SMH meander on:

  87. paul burns

    psst. which obscure word put me in moderation? For future reference so I don’t use it again.

  88. Terry

    Maybe it was Green Left Weekly?

  89. GregM

    Paul @85, I think it must have been “didums!”

    But it could have been:

    Fair crack of the whip (a Ruddism bound to set any spamometer off)
    Communist Party
    Green Left Weekly
    democratic socialist
    Murcoch Empire (sic)

    Your post was very rich in possibilities.

  90. Russell

    It can’t have been didums, because it’s diddums.

  91. GregM

    Must have been drongo then.

  92. Sam

    Terry 84

    That would be the Combined Pensioners Association?

  93. Terry

    I think this post needs a Norto contribution if we are to discuss CPA and CPA (the sequel).

  94. Ambigulous

    No, Didums was a notorious Trotskyite renegade traitor. Coulda been that.

    GregM, wouldn’t the PM say “fair suck of the whip”?

    OK, I’ll suggest a Norto topic:

    The PM wants to revisit “the Accord” without according it that name. To what extent did the widespread acceptance of ‘the Accord’ depend on the public support given by Laurie Carmichael – and other prominent CPA union officials [?].
    Can this support be attributed to Bob Hawke’s relatively cordial relations with such officials, dating from his presidency of the ACTU?
    Or did the ‘militant’ union officials sense that the era of militancy was already waning?

    (I reckon there’s a thesis or two in the area.)

  95. Obviously Obtuse

    Two things I’d like to add about education. I’ve read an education academic who stated that Gillard would have liked to take over state government education, but she recognised it wasn’t politically possible. He thought it was fairly obvious given the manner of the recent reforms and I agree. (No link, sorry)
    I’ve also read that state education departments cannot cope with the size they have become. NSW for example, administers far more schools than they were originally intended to, and principals have been inundated with department emails during term breaks. Often this correspondence is paper shuffling, arse covering stuff.
    So, to me the question is, how would a federal primary and/or secondary education department deal with this problem of size? I don’t know the answer.

  96. Terry

    One difficulty with Accord Mark Rudd is that NO ONE hates Kevin Rudd like a trade union official (with the possible exception of Christine Milne). Whereas Bob Hawke was clearly one of the clan – Keating was always the hate object for union officials in those days.

    Other issues:
    (1) in the early 80s, industrial action could genuinely bring Australia to a standstill. I am no longer sure that is true.

    (2) the unions used to maintain significant research offices at that time – I do believe a young Dougie Cameron may have been an AMWU researcher back in the day;

    (3) there was always the threat of “Thatcherism” in the air as the progeny of overly militant unionism and failure to support a Labor government.

    The other problem may be the caliber of the union leaderships themselves. I am struggling to think of anything a leading union official has had to say over the last three years on any subject other than the Labor leadership or how many delegates they should have at the ALP National Conference. As if on cue, Tony Sheldon threw in his thoughts on that subject yesterday.

  97. GregM

    GregM, wouldn’t the PM say “fair suck of the whip”?

    Ambi, the Ruddism for that is “Fair suck of the sauce bottle”

    He toyed with “Fair suck of the saveloy” but decided not to go there.

  98. alfred venison

    i think everyone should be supported to uni level study of anything they’re attracted to. monetary remuneration will attract enough to law, economics and accounting. if you want more nurses and teachers and fewer art restorers then pay the nurses and teachers as much as lawyers, economists and accountants. -a.v.

  99. GregM

    i think everyone should be supported to uni level study of anything they’re attracted to.

    Macramé? Homeopathy? Chiropractic? Ptolemaic astronomy? Alchemy? Intelligent Design?

    Not with my taxes, thank you very much!

  100. Russell

    Alf – can I quickly add to your proposal, that you then have a good progressive income tax, so those that have profited so handsomely from their education do in fact pay back the cost of it (and more).

  101. alfred venison

    a progressive income tax should be the bottom line for any civilization worthy of admiration. -a.v.

  102. alfred venison

    let me more clearly put my point. people should be supported to study anything however obscure or arcane that is taught at a university not just what is “useful to society”. -a.v.

  103. Ambigulous

    Fair dinky-di #97,
    that’s one fair suck for a man,
    one giant, you know, negativity for personkind.

  104. Ootz

    ….. perform a vital service society.

    “useful to society”

    Apocryphal postmodern memes, as in …. social constructionists view knowledge as constructed as opposed to created?

    On one hand, Rudd promised to re-examine university funding cuts. On the other, Mr Abbott signalled a hands-off approach to the university sector.

  105. Ootz

    ….. perform a vital service society.

    “useful to society”

    Apocryphal postmodern memes, as in …. social constructionists view knowledge as constructed as opposed to created.

  106. Ootz
  107. Brian

    Russell @ 71 I thought I made it clear I was speculating about Giddings. I didn’t say anything at all about Barnett and WA.

    I really don’t want to argue the case about how much power has been centralised. To do so would require me to read the legislation, which I don’t have time to do.

    Significant centralisation occurred under Gillard with NAPLAM, Myschool and the National Curriculum. A curriculum document is really a policy statement and as such is a powerful determinant of behaviour at the institutional level.

    Back in the 1950s states ran universities. Commonwealth funding and you might say a move to a national system came with, from memory, the Martin Report under Menzies.

    After sputnik, the feds entered the school market with a program of funding secondary science blocks. In 1968 this was followed by secondary school libraries, which is where I came in. At that time schools had their paper clips supplied by education departments, purchased centrally. In our office in Brisbane we had to write the orders for the purchase of books and other materials for each school.

    Services to schools during the 1970s and 1980s which covered most of my time were provided at the school (eg. guidance services), district, regional, state and national levels. An example of the latter was the Australian School Catalogue Information Service (ASCIS) which, truth be known, began with a conversation at a conference in Christchurch in Jan 1981 between me and an Assistant Director General from WA who was married to a teacher-librarian over a cup of tea. He talked to his DG and called a meeting of all states when he got home. The states ended up setting up a trading company, which they jointly owned. It was the brain-child of a Milo Minderbender type from NSW.

    I believe it still exists as SCIS, but was taken over by the Curriculum Corporation, which was established as a joint company along ASCIS lines.

    The centralisation is no surprise. It really started with Dawkins in the late 1980s. At the same time there was a devolution from the state level. While I was there we moved from 6 regions to 13 in Queensland and schools were given more operational autonomy. We had a system of Co-operative School Evaluation and Review, co-operative between the school and the inspectorate, with a full review every three years. It’s likely that this planning is now fully devolved, and being picked up at a national level. During the 1980s a lot of devolution of funding went on, for example the school became fully in charge of ground maintenance. At the time a funding formula was being worked out which needed to take into account the size of the grounds, climate, topography etc. That would be just one component of the school funding.

    The people in Planning Branch knew vastly more what was going on with the formulas, because they created them and divvied up the funding pie. Directors general and ministers would have had a vague idea in most cases, which is the kind of ignorance I’m talking about. Obviously these formulas had to be ‘ground truthed’ in a way and varied over time. I’m sure the same will go on with Gonski, which has been piloted in something called the Partnerships Program. That has billions in it, but was due to end, one reason why moving to Gonski is important, ie to maintain what has already been tried and evaluated, if I understand it correctly. That’s also why Pyne runs around saying there was no new money in Gonski.

    States are still very much in the game of running and providing services to schools and I imagine that will continue. In Qld in the new ‘independent’ schools the principal will be contracted to the Director General of Education and the state will continue to own the buildings and grounds. That’s what the document seemed to say.

    We will also retain our ‘school based assessment’. External exams are anathema in Qld and the norm everywhere else. In recent times there has also been a thing called a “curriculum audit” which I think comes from the district level.

    What I’m saying is that for decades we have been moving towards a national system while devolving greater autonomy to schools. But you need to get into the detail to have a sensible conversation about it and as time goes by I for one know less and less having lost direct personal contact when my wife gave up teaching a couple of years ago.

    I still think Saunders and Twomey are newbies in the business and what they’ve said isn’t all that illuminating.

    That’s way more than I intended to say and not to be encouraged because of our comments policy! Philosophically you can argue the toss, but eventually you need to come to terms with shorter term realities.

  108. Brian

    Grattan talks about the state of ‘Gonski’ negotiations.

  109. Brian

    Ootz @ 105, it’s noticeable as illustrated in that second link that the MSM are choosing photos of Abbott with a very worried look on his face.

  110. Brian

    Kevin Rudd at the Press Council.

    I heard a fair bit of it and thought he did pretty well. Hockey reckons it’s all piss and wind, but his sneer is not a good look against the Ruddster’s earnest engagement.

  111. wantok

    I also saw Rudd at the National Press Club and it was refreshing to hear a politician speak clearly and answer questions frankly. I’m not surprised that Abbott is looking worried, the small target strategy worked well while the Labor Party was engaged in internal fighting but now that we are seeing unity and policy direction the coalition need to regroup with a new strategy.
    It seems that the coalition are committed to waiting until the election date is announced before they unleash their costed policies, start engaging in debate and reveal their vision for Australia: risky strategy to leave it so late in my view.

  112. alfred venison

    rudd also said something in his first pass on lateline i think it was that makes me think he’d be a friend of libraries. he spoke inter alia about the importance of well stocked research libraries with deep collections. i know when i was at uni i benefited greatly from a well stocked research library with journal collections that went back to 1800 and earlier in some cases. -a.v.

  113. Terry

    Annabel Crabb reckons that Rudd is in it for the long haul, and those grumblings from the AWU and the Shoppies about what he is going to do to the ALP may have some substance. The fact that Richo is now getting defensive is a sure sign that something is on.

  114. Liz

    Yes, Terry. Labor is in the highly uncomfortable position of having a leader they loathe. Well good on Rudd, if he stops Abbott from getting up. But, I do find this all grimly amusing in a despairing sort of way.

    In other news, Rudd shows what a patronising fool he is when it comes to disability issues. That’s right Kev. Pat the poor little cripple on the head.


  115. Terry

    Liz, is it “Labor”, or some of the privileged factional incumbents? Some of those folk would rather lose power as long as they retain their sinecures. And most of them are male, as you would no doubt be aware.

  116. Liz

    I’m not privy to all the manoeuvring and whispering that goes on, Terry. What I am aware of, is that they didn’t turn to Rudd until their situation was desperate. There’s an awful lot of backbenchers who would know they’d lose their seats with Gillard.

  117. Chris

    Liz @ 114

    From that linked article:

    I often joke to shocked friends who witness these incidents that it’s because I have the kind of luscious hair you see in shampoo ads. Or because I’m just so f***ing adorable.

    In reality, it’s because I’m a disabled person.


    Still, we celebrated. We know what an important reform this is. Advocates and politicians alike have fought long and hard. We all deserve a pat on the back.

    But no-one deserves a pat on the head.

    I don’t dispute that people find this behaviour patronising, however, I wonder how much of it is to do simply with disabled people’s heads often being a lot lower down (because they are in a wheelchair) rather than someone being condescending towards them. Does the pat on the head happen to disabled people who are tall and standing? Do they get a pat on the head, or a pat on the back as the author would like.

  118. Chris

    I think part of Rudd’s public popularity is because of his unpopularity amongst some sections of the ALP, both inside and outside of the parliamentary party. For example he was seen as battling the power of the factions even though that led to the downfall of Rudd mk1.

  119. Liz

    Chris, sure it’s done in an unthinking, lazy way. That’s the point. Think about what’s it’s like to be patted on the head. Then you wouldn’t do it because it’s disrespectful. But, disabled people are treated with a lack of respect constantly. Rudd should be better than that, especially launching Disabilitycare, which is all about disabled people living full lives that they’re in control of. Patting the cute crip is the opposite of that.

  120. Terry

    I wonder if the moment has come to stop navel gazing about what is wrong with our own side, and to focus on Abbott and the LNP

  121. Sam

    I wonder if the moment has come to stop navel gazing about what is wrong with our own side and to focus on Abbott and the LNP

    That reminds me of an old joke.

    Why is it better for Labor party members when the Labor Party is in government?

    Because it’s easier to send letters of condemnation to your own side.

  122. Paul Norton

    Ambigulous @94:

    OK, I’ll suggest a Norto topic:

    The PM wants to revisit “the Accord” without according it that name. To what extent did the widespread acceptance of ‘the Accord’ depend on the public support given by Laurie Carmichael – and other prominent CPA union officials [?].
    Can this support be attributed to Bob Hawke’s relatively cordial relations with such officials, dating from his presidency of the ACTU?
    Or did the ‘militant’ union officials sense that the era of militancy was already waning?

    The left unions (including crucially, Carmichael’s AMWU) were induced to support the Accord by the inclusion of social wage and industry policy commitments. The CPA’s “interventionist strategy” developed in the 1970s was invoked in support of left union agreement to an accord that would moderate real wages growth in return for the labour movement being in a position to shape wider social and economic policy. This meant that the entire spectrum of labour movement opinion, apart from the far left, was more or less supportive of the Accord, although left, centre and right unions had different understandings and expectations of the Accord.

    As to Bob Hawke, one of the pivotal moments of the Hawke/Hayden leadership struggle was the ACTU leadership’s decision to stall on reaching an Accord with the ALP while Hayden was leader, in contrast with the alacrity with which they sealed the deal with Hawke. I think it’s probably more accurate to say that Bill Kelty was the key link within the ACTU as the person who cultivated good relations with, on one hand, union officials across the spectrum including Carmichael and Tom McDonald from the communist left, and on the other hand key ALP figures like Hawke and Keating.

    There is, I think, also a lot of truth in the last point. I think that at the time the Accord was signed some of the more thoughtful left union officials were conscious of the limitations of traditional industrial militancy as a means of achieving their goals (especially during the 1982-83 recession under a Coalition government) and increasingly looked to the “democratic class struggle” as a more promising alternative.

  123. Liz

    I know what you mean, Terry. But, it’s interesting that that was rarely argued here when Gillard was PM. Many discussions were all about heaping odium on her for her awful right-wingness, and pining for that wonderful Mr Rudd.

    So, I’ll end up voting for with the Greens or Labor. But, it’s a bit beyond me to ignore the negative when it comes to Rudd.

  124. Chris

    I wonder if the moment has come to stop navel gazing about what is wrong with our own side, and to focus on Abbott and the LNP

    If its just navel gazing then its not particularly useful. But actual reform like has been proposed? That’s worth doing now. The window of opportunity for getting reforms accepted and there’s a good chance that if the ALP lose the next election enthusiasm for reform will disappear as people make a grab for power.

    Gillard threw away the opportunity for real pokie machine reform and its likely that it will never happen as significant sections of the ALP don’t want to really do it, and the prospect of having a hung parliament where the right person has the leverage in the future is pretty low.

  125. Chris

    In my comment above “The window of opportunity for getting reforms accepted ” should have been “The window of opportunity for getting reforms accepted is small”

  126. Sam

    Paul 122

    A lot of people believe that the Accord was the catalyst (if not the actual case) of the precipitous fall in union membership that took off during that time (and has since kept on going). Why join a union when your wages and conditions are determined in a deal between the umbrella union and employer groups?

  127. Paul Norton

    Sam @126, the problem with that proposition is that during the same period there were other developments (structural economic and workforce changes, aggressively anti-union State governments, cultural change in more individualistic directions, etc.) that also impacted on union density. The question then becomes one of identifying the effects of the Accord over and above that of other factors, and also of what other strategies were available and likely to be pursued by Australian unions in that period that might have produced a better outcome.

  128. GregM

    Why join a union when your wages and conditions are determined in a deal between the umbrella union and employer groups?

    But that was the case before the Accord and the industrial reforms that flowed on from it.

    Prior to the Accord wage fixation was the province of the Australlian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission, and what a wonderful mess it made of it.

    The Accord ushered in an era of wage outcomes negotiated between peak employer and union organisations and coordinated by the ACTU, with the AC&AC in a rubberstamping role -and heaven help any union that decided to step outside that model, as the airline pllots found out to their great expense.

    That was followed in 1989, though, by enterprise bargaining of a sort, with the second tier negotiations on wage increases for productivity tradeoffs, supposedly between individual enterprises and their workforces. That was the opportunity for the unions to shine before their members. Some did, some did not.

    Since the 1991 Industrial Relations Act the emphasis has been on enterprise bargaining as the primary vehicle of negotiating increases in pay and conditions and that is supposed not to allow pattern bargaining which might involve umbrella employer and union organisations. The individual unions have effectively had the field to themselves to bargain for outcomes for their members.

    I think however, as Robert has alluded to, there have been massive changes in society and the economy since the 1980s which have rendered the traditional union industrial model less and less relevant so that they have representation mainly in smokestack industries in the private sector.

  129. akn

    Sam @126: that sums up my view. In addition, under the conditions of The Accord, unions and their personnel became managers of labour; unions lost their relevance when they forgot to point out that union membership underpinned even the existence of The Accord. People stopped joining because as they became little more than a type of industrial insurance scheme for individuals in difficulty.

    My last experience of the NSW PSA was complete shit when, as a workplace delegate, I was hung out to dry by an organizer who didn’t understand or care about the issue which was racist staff and practices with the statutory NSW child protection agency.

    I’m not sure why you’d bother joining a union like that.

    Going back a long way I was part of a comprehensive left renewal in the NSWNA in the early eighties. I swore after that experience I’d never get in that deep ever again. But that is what is needed to democratise the unions. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do that. Their progressive period, for those that had one (not the shoppies,ever) is over. Now most of them are rumps of conservative social values and no action.

  130. faustusnotes

    as a workplace delegate, I was hung out to dry by an organizer who didn’t understand or care about the issue which was racist staff and practices

    This was always going to be a problem for the unions in the washup from the New Left movements, regardless of the Accord. The unions are there to protect their workers, and a lot of unions see that role as including a refusal to open up the industry to new sources of labour (especially women and migrants). Unions also don’t exist to facilitate wide-reaching cultural changes that might improve the quality of service provided by their members. They exist to protect their members from a rapacious capitalist class. Which puts them in a bind when the employer is asking the unionized workforce to drop out-dated beliefs in order to improve service quality.

    I don’t think you can blame the Accord for the many and varied failures of the organized industrial old left to throw out their conservative social values. That really depends on how effective the new left has been within specific unions at getting those changes understood and implemented. I would suggest, if anything, that Hawke and Keating were broadly supportive of those social movements and it’s possible that the Accord helped, rather than hindered, the process of carving off those “rumps of conservative social values.”

  131. Jumpy

    Labor sacks Bennelong candidate over corruption claims.

    The dumping of Jeff Salvestro-Martin, a Ryde councillor accused of accepting political favours from a local newspaper, is a setback for Kevin Rudd’s bid to clean up NSW Labor before the election.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-sacks-bennelong-candidate-over-corruption-claims-20130712-2pud5.html#ixzz2YnsTPFl1

  132. tigtog