Monthly Archives: November 2010

RSPCA on the Victorian Election – three days late.

The RSPCA breaks down the Victorian parties’ animal welfare policies – and sends out the email announcing it today, three days after the election.

Liberal voters who care about their four-legged friends might be a little disturbed to discover what they’ve voted for.

Victorian election settles politics once and for all

With the news that the two conservative parties in Victoria may, when counted together, have scraped over the line and won a bare majority of seats in the lower house, lefties around the state are abandoning their entire political philosophy in droves.

“I had thought that the provision of decent public services was more important than tax cuts”, said Claudia Rizzo, sipping her latte in a cafe in Brunswick Street. “But the news that up to six percent of Victorians who voted for the ALP four years ago switched to the Coalition has changed my mind. I’m leaving the Greens forever and becoming a Young Liberal.”

Another Greens supporter living in Cranbourne, one of the more than 10% of people throughout the state not living in the inner city who supported the party once again on the weekend, despite the swing to the conservatives, was resolute.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from elections in Australia, it’s that the side that wins slightly more than half of the vote (or doesn’t, but manages to get slightly more than half of the seats) is entitled to get its way on everything from now on. The side that won’t have a majority of MPs for the next four years is irrelevant and all its voters should now back the winning side.”

“I can’t believe I used to believe in the rule of law!” he added. “Thank God that a Baillieu parliament is going to take over from the courts and shatter the separation of powers.”

James Martin, who supported Labor in 2006 but this time voted for the Liberals because “the Liberals promised to help first homebuyers”, was looking forward to finally being able to afford to buy a house. Like many younger Victorians, he has found it increasingly difficult competing against investors already in the market, who use their equity as existing homeowners to push prices out of reach for those who aren’t. The Liberals’ superficially attractive and extremely expensive promise to cut stamp duty appealed to him: “Vendors are going to pass on the savings to buyers at auction, right?”

Polemicists from media organisations that had spent the last term of government pretending that the state was disintegrating into anarchy humbly thanked the tiny proportion of swinging voters who’d temporarily switched sides, for confirming that they were right about everything.

“This result just goes to prove what I’ve been saying,” said Rupert Smith, Australia’s leading conservative commentator. “It’s a ringing endorsement of all of my personal political opinions, which a few thousand swinging voters have clearly now adopted on behalf of every citizen of the state. Read my Wednesday column where I’ll tell you what you’re going to do next.”

The Liberal spokesperson was jubilant. “In a time when voters were already sick of an eleven year government, and we’d warned them that fifteen years was pretty much unprecedented in modern Victoria, we were able to marginally increase our vote to about half! Well, when you include the National Party as well! Frankly, the almost half of the state that still disagrees with us must be ashamed of themselves.”

Similarly, the spokesperson for the National Party was elated. “We got almost half the Greens’ vote, but we get ten seats and they get none! Isn’t our electoral system wonderful! Now they can shut up and stop trying to protect the land on which our constituents depend while we help big corporations ravage it.”

The mood at ALP headquarters seemed to be one of utter embarrassment. As one former frontbencher said: “If only we’d known that the right-wing view of the world was correct, we could have saved ourselves so much time and money! And the state! We really hope the Liberals can forgive us for denying them the power that is rightfully theirs for so long.”

Last, and certainly least, the Greens, who had initially been telling reporters that a rise in their vote since the last state election was actually something they were pretty happy with, eventually came clean and admitted that “more than a tenth of Victorian voters is practically nothing when you contrast it with the most optimistic projections our opponents used to try to scare people” and promised to go away forever.

“Kevin Andrews is right,” said their spokesperson. “Lefties don’t deserve to exist, let alone be represented in Parliament in accordance with our numbers.”

“We’ve learned our lesson now. Please accept our apologies.”

Go ahead and complain, please

Talking of buyers’ remorse – check out this New York Times story about the online shonky business that thrives the more customers complain.

It’s the kind of well-researched, well-written, eloquent journalism we don’t see enough of in this country.

(Via @Colvinius.)

UPDATE: Google responds.

UPDATE #2 (8/12): A week later, and things have gone rather badly for Mr Borker.

Buyers’ remorse

Quick question: who voted for Labor last time but the Coalition this time? I’d be fascinated to hear your rationale.

PS: It’s okay, you can use a pseudonym – I understand if you’re feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse this morning.

UPDATE (Sunday evening): Ah, no-one’s admitting it. I can’t say I blame you. (I mean, for being quiet about it. I certainly blame you for putting the rest of us at the mercy of the damn right-wingers again.)

Penny Wong is at least advocating for principle

A quick note of congratulation and support for federal ALP Minister Penny Wong. I have been fairly critical of her previous unprincipled failure to publicly stand – and vote in parliament – for equality. I understand how strict Labor is with its MPs, and how little real freedom they have with their votes – but their ultimate responsibility is still to the electorate, not the Labor caucus.

Which is why I am so pleased today to see that she’s bravely stood up and said, hang the consequences, I am going to publicly support full equality.

Except if the Labor Party decides against it and there’s a vote in parliament: Wong’s still not said she’d vote in Parliament according to her principles if the party ordered her not to.

Still, from an ALP Minister, that’s a significant step forward. Let’s hope the Greens can bring her the rest of the way.

Serious cracks are appearing in the dam wall of discrimination. I look forward to the collapse.

More effective advocacy

I’m a bit annoyed with myself, actually. Although I spent ten hours in the rain yesterday handing out Greens HTVs, I didn’t point out anything particularly useful to prospective voters. What I should’ve been saying is things like “What are the Liberals going to cut to pay for their prisons and stamp duty promises?” and “Annoyed with Labor over poor public transport? Let them know by voting Green – the Libs are even worse!

Sod the environment – there were much punchier things we needed to be arguing.

The infuriating thing is that Labor did run a negative campaign – but on irrelevant stupid crap like Baillieu’s background. They should’ve run one on the late costings, and the piss-poor explanation the Liberals have given for how they’re going to fund their terrible policies. Far too many people appear to have voted Liberal without thinking about that.

Fellow Victorians, prepare for serious pain if the News Ltd party – disingenuous election-day editorial notwithstanding, the Libs owe a lot to Rupert for four years of utter bullshit about the state of Victoria – gets over the line.

Painful remembering

I like it better when the Liberals are not a reasonable chance of winning with a list of truly appalling policies we’re going to have to endure for the next four years.

What the hell were the Labor voters who switched to the Liberals thinking? You get that where Labor is crappy with public services, the Liberals are even worse?

Remember the Kennett years?

Apparently you’ve forgotten. What a painful remembering this looks like being.

Victorian Election 2010 – why a Baillieu government is worse than the status quo

So – it looks like it could be a close one. And whilst the Greens’ task in concentrating enough of their vote in a single electorate to win a seat in the lower house looks like a tall order, it’s not impossible. And every vote, even in a “safe” electorate, counts towards the upper house vote (where they are in with a very good chance) and funding for next time – do the big parties really deserve the support that comes with your first preference vote?

If the big parties piss you off, but you vote for one of them anyway, why would you expect them to change?

Ted Baillieu – good news for real estate agents and private prison contractors; bad news for everyone else.

And where I was fairly blase about Ted Baillieu for a long time – he’s hardly the worst or most objectionable Liberal leader in history – the promises he’s been making throughout the campaign have been consistently awful. In particular, clumsily smashing around with the sentencing system and policing to placate badly misinformed tabloid newspaper readers (which will cause REAL harm, and increase the threat of serious crime), and squandering huge sums of public money on cutting stamp duty in order to make buying a first home even more difficult for young people (because first homebuyers will still bid each other up the same amount: the difference will be the investors, who’ll now have more equity in their existing properties with which to beat those trying to enter the market).

Thus, based on the limited changes he’s planning to make, a Baillieu victory tomorrow would be a real step backwards – particularly for many of the most vulnerable people in our community. And Labor winning a majority in its own right would simply guarantee more of the same. Obviously the Greens aren’t going to go from no lower house seats to government in their own right – but I’ll be hoping they get the balance of power so neither big party can run roughshod over the state for the next four years.

I’ll be doing my part to help the Greens, handing out HTVs at a booth in Wantirna from the moment the polls open to the moment they close. We shall see what happens.

PS: If there’s a problem with your enrolment, you’ll still be able to vote if you show up with proper ID.

Would you have locked this old man up?

Those calling for the abolition of suspended sentences (or voting for it via the Liberals on Saturday), a question: would you send this 72 year old man to jail for this tragic accident?

[72 year old] Fawkner man Ari Kiratli killed a truck driver when he failed to slow down and jumped a stop sign at the corner of Epping and Craigieburn Road in Wollert, north of Melbourne, last year.

Kiratli’s wife suffered a serious brain injury in the crash.

The court heard the elderly driver was not speeding, but had been distracted by an argument with his wife when he drove through the intersection.

He received a wholly suspended jail sentence of two-and-a-half years – an option that would not have been available to the judge if suspended sentences were abolished.

Would you have locked this old man up? To what end?

PS ABC? You couldn’t find a picture of, if not Wollert, at least a road in Victoria?

The above image, for example, is of the actual intersection mentioned in the story, taken from Google Street View. Surely a better illustration than traffic in Queensland somewhere.

UPDATE: And Channel 7, you just reproduced the ABC’s irrelevant image? Really?

Children of gay parents NEED TO BE SAVED

Some quick questions for David Van Gend, arguing that we must discriminate against gay people in law because if they have children (fatuously dismissing the fact that many do already) those children will be deprived of a parent of one gender or other, and this is their “most elemental right and deepest need” – do you think governments should outlaw divorce? Should children with abusive parents be left with the abusive parent so as not to deprive them of a parent of that gender? Should single mothers be forced to re-wed promptly?

And, most importantly – on what freaking basis do you allege that children “have a right” to a mother and a father, given the vast numbers who do not have both, and yet (as you acknowledge) turn out fine?

Still: kudos for actually running an argument in defence of your illogical position. Even one with such massive holes in it as this. It puts you one step ahead of pretty much everyone else advocating for your side.

UPDATE: One final question – do those who hold the view that “children have a right to a father and a mother” think that courts should be forbidden from sending parents to jail, because it’s depriving a child of something to which they have a “right”?