Bad poll no surprise at all

A bad poll for the ALP, as you’d expect while their ability to argue their case is hamstrung by the fact that the carbon price hasn’t yet been agreed.

That said, they could always follow my suggestion

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34 responses to “Bad poll no surprise at all

  1. Indeed. If a cost were known then the Liberals and industry groups could start modelling the various price rises of most goods within the economy while Labor plans its enormous new bureaucracy to administer and enforce them all.

    Accountants country-wide could start planning for the new Carbon Activity Statement, which will join the BAS and Tax Return as a mandatory statutory filing for all Australian businesses, and Government actuaries could commence busily tapping away at calculators to determine exactly how much to rebate consumers so that 100% of the cost of the tax will be returned to them. Or 50%. Or whatever number Labor is going with these days.

    Of course the government could abandon this enormous albatross and instead spend a fraction of the money directly investing in promising R&D projects and clearing away impediments caused by vested interests etc – but why do that when you can spend billions more on a complex, intricate, costly and time consuming new administrative structure that will hobble your economy in the short-term (at least) and render you politically unelectable within the year?

    Gillard’s Labor is being exposed as a hollow house of cards, and it will come crashing down sooner than we all think. I give them two months before it’s all over.

  2. “If a cost were known then the Liberals and industry groups could start modelling the various price rises of most goods within the economy”

    And trying to pretend it’s as bad as their exaggerated early claims…

    “Gillard’s Labor is being exposed as a hollow house of cards, and it will come crashing down sooner than we all think. I give them two months before it’s all over.”

    Jesus. Based on… what? Negative polling on a policy that has been announced but not yet released? Carbon pricing schemes exist overseas and haven’t destroyed those countries. And Howard had similarly terrible polling after announcing the GST but went on, after details were released, to win an election. Labor hasn’t started its campaign on the carbon tax proper, and it won’t until it has the details. Then it won’t be fighting with one hand tied behind its back. The ALP just has to hold its nerve.

  3. jordanrastrick

    If they fall before an election, mondo, almost certainly it’ll be along the fault lines of the independents vested interests’, not the anti-carbon price lobby. So that’s pokies.

  4. Jesus. Based on… what? Negative polling on a policy that has been announced but not yet released?

    A fair question – I have gone out on a rather big limb.

    I have to admit that it’s a gut instinct. The Gillbot is polling terribly, the party is polling terribly and the Independents are causing trouble. And now Labor is haemorrhaging voters in an attempt to sell a bad policy that it doesn’t even want (the carbon tax is Greens Party policy).

    There’s just too much pressure building and something’s got to give.

  5. narcoticmusing

    Actually Mondo, the ETS/CPRS/carbon tax/carbon price (semantics?) was a Lib Co policy, then a Krudd policy, then dumped and now… who knows? It is pretty naive to just brand it a Greens policy as if that somehow discredits it.

  6. My apologies Narc – I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was trying to discredit the carbon tax on the grounds that it’s Greens policy. I don’t feel that way about the Greens in general (in fact I voted for them) – but I do happen to believe that this particular policy is a dud.

    What I’m saying is that Labor didn’t want a Carbon Tax, as evidenced by Gillard’s comments before the election, but have now been forced into one as a result of their deal with the Greens. In other words Labor politicians are now being asked to sell another party’s policy – one that they decided to jettison pre-election. It’s hardly a recipe for enthusiastic campaigning.

  7. jordanrastrick

    And the relevant unions are leaving the government completely high and dry. Which is as expected, since their job is to put their members’ self-interest first just as a corporation’s duty is to its shareholders.

    It certainly puts paid to the idea that organised labour is a force for universal and generic political good as opposed to just equitable industrial relations policy. As they rolled Iemma on electricity privatisation in NSW, so I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if they did the same on this one, despite it being obvious political suicide for the government.

    “The ALP just has to hold its nerve.”

    The Greens party room of course has never had backbenchers from marginal seats, so they probably don’t have lot of conception of what it takes for the leadership to keep everyone’s nerves steady in a fight like this.

    If the government falls now to a wavering independent, or a rogue backbencher, or a sick MP, or at the next election they get wiped out in a landslide and Tony revokes the existing scheme, I wonder if the Greens and their apologists will still stand by rejecting the initial CPRS Rudd wanted to get passed the Senate before he started negotiating with Turnbull. You know, that one that was going to be twice as good as any deal that gets on the table in the current environment.

  8. “Of course the government could abandon this enormous albatross and instead spend a fraction of the money directly investing in promising R&D projects and clearing away impediments caused by vested interests etc”

    Mondo, I’m not sure how you clear away impediments caused by vested interests without making alternative technologies competative with coal, and the only way I can see of doing that is to put a price on carbon.

  9. I think I need to see an eye and/or brain specialist. Every time I see a picture of Ms Gillard now it morphs into Margaret Thatcher.

    As a Greens voter, it’s extremely difficult to defend the carbon tax because no one understands it. I meet very few people in my daily life – Libs, ALP’ers or Greens – who have anything positive to day about. The government is failing to explain it thoroughly. Calling it a ‘carbon tax’ is a disaster.

    Although it cost a fortune, perhaps Howard did have the right idea when he sent out booklets and fridge magnets to explain his (unpopular) policies.

  10. “I think I need to see an eye and/or brain specialist. Every time I see a picture of Ms Gillard now it morphs into Margaret Thatcher.”

    The only difference being Gillards tenure as P.M. will be much shorter than Maggie’s. She will soon be gone, tis a shame her picture at parliament house, will always remind the party faithful of what an abject failure she was.

    I hope they return Rudd before it’s tooooooo late. The carbon tax will have little influence on her demise, her attack on the recipients of social welfare and Villawood, are going to bury her. It’s over.

  11. jordanrastrick

    I’d suspect lynot to be making this stuff up for teh lulz if he didn’t have a track record of more serious statements.

    I hope they return Rudd before it’s tooooooo late. The carbon tax will have little influence on her demise, her attack on the recipients of social welfare and Villawood, are going to bury her. It’s over.

    I don’t know what which shows a less accurate understanding of political reality – the notion that switching back to Rudd would actually have a positive impact on the ALP’s electoral fortunes, or that its the harshness to people on welfare and to refugees that’s the biggest threat to Gillard’s career. Unless of course you mean to imply that Labor’s “abandonment of its base” is going to lead Adam Bandt to cross the floor on a confidence vote, which I must say wouldn’t shock me entirely from the Greens.

  12. narcoticmusing

    It is hard to imagine how things could get worse with the Libs in power… although the thought of Abbott as PM makes me cringe.

  13. jordanrastrick

    It is hard to imagine how things could get worse with the Libs in power…

    No serious action on climate change whatsoever – for at least as many terms as the Libs are in power and the moderates can’t roll Abbott and co (which would likely be so long as they keep winning elections).

    Support for the unsustainable status quo in the Murray Darling.

    Temporary Protection Visas restored; processing moved to Nauru once more; boats “turned back”, whatever that means.

    No Mineral Resource Rent Tax.

    Less chance of any reduction to middle class welfare; service cuts more likely instead.

    No reform of the current absurd arrangements in Federal funding for high schools.

    Legitimacy for the views of people like Senator Bernardi on Islam.

    Should I keep going?

    Honestly Narcotic I thought you had a bettter imagination than that…

  14. ” Unless of course you mean to imply that Labor’s “abandonment of its base” is going to lead Adam Bandt to cross the floor on a confidence vote, which I must say wouldn’t shock me entirely from the Greens.”

    That’s exactly what I mean, you’re good.

    Villawood is going to be the biggest issue that is going to sink Gillard, BTW not from a bleeding heart perspective. I don’t know what lofty circles people on this blog move in, but the (A dirty word I know) tradesmen I know,(being in the building trade for forty years) as disgusting as this is to me, want the refugees sent back on the boats they came here on, or taken out past the territorial border and sunk. I’m not kidding.

    Rudd should be reinstated if he still wants the job as the leader of the opposition, after the next election. Reality, now there’s a fine word, plenty of that of late I don’t think.

  15. narcoticmusing

    Jordan, hmm… I’m not sure there will be a difference.

    We’ve had no serious action on climate change from the ALP – they’ve already had a term and didn’t get anything done. They then promised more of nothing and then turned around and said they will do something afterall – but only the same as what they already failed to achieve last time, which, took their entire last term to fail at and will likely be a repeat. So, that’ll be two terms of no serious action on climate change from ALP.

    Murray Darling basin – ALP haven’t done much in real terms – the recent rain has done a lot, but the ALP haven’t provided much more than washed up half truths that they can take credit for rain.

    TPVs – have you been listening to our wonderful Immigration Minister’s solution to the recent violence at Villawood? Wolf in sheeps clothing and all that. Offshore processing – ALP suggested versions of that too; and I’m not really sure any of their processing ‘solutions’ are improving anything. ‘Turning back the boats’ – yeah, whatever that means.

    No Mineral Resource Tax – well with all the concessions given, and Swan saying there now isn’t a mineral boom in the forward estimates, maybe we won’t have it anyway. Besides, it was meant to be a super-profits tax we already have mineral resource taxes…

    No reduction in middlce class welfare, service cuts instead – already flagged by the ALP/Swan in their ‘tough’ budget in order to get things back to surplus. They aren’t considering reducing middle class welfare but have flagged lots of service cuts, particularly to welfare recipients.

    Any ‘reform’ to private schools will be in the private schools favour, you know that – the ALP won’t “fix” that.

    There are plenty of individual nutters in both parties, having the party elected doesn’t legitimise those individual views.

    Look, I don’t want the Libs in power any more than you do – but I see little benefit in the stagnation approach of this current government. The only good things they did was when Rudd was there, since then it has been all BS.

  16. jordanrastrick

    That’s exactly what I mean, you’re good.

    Villawood is going to be the biggest issue that is going to sink Gillard, BTW not from a bleeding heart perspective.

    Perhaps I misunderstand Lynot, but those two points seem to contradict one another. Is Gillard going to be sunk over Villawood because she’s too left wing or too right wing? Or is it both, in which case you can hardly advise her to change tack in one direction?

    I don’t know what lofty circles people on this blog move in, but the (A dirty word I know) tradesmen I know

    I know a few tradesmen. My Godfather is one.

    There are of course plenty of people, tradies and otherwise, who would be happy to sink the boats. I think disgusting is too mild a term, but such people have a right to vote; and in a democracy, if you simply ignore or dismiss the strongly held opinions of a very sizable portion of the electorate, don’t expect to get your way on anything for very long.

  17. narcoticmusing

    Again, the issue here is the representation of it – I watched the news report on this on 7 and it is obvious why people want the boats just sunk. The report didn’t once mention why people might protest or resort to such acts of desperation; no, it was all just images of explosions and condemnation. The tradies might change their view if they were informed.

  18. jordanrastrick

    We’ve had no serious action on climate change from the ALP – they’ve already had a term and didn’t get anything done.

    The Senate wouldn’t pass the CPRS bill in as presented in any number of forms. But yes, everyone accurately perceives that to be Labor’s fault – not Bob Brown’s, or Tony Abbott’s, or Steven Fielding’s.

    TPVs – have you been listening to our wonderful Immigration Minister’s solution to the recent violence at Villawood? Wolf in sheeps clothing and all that.

    Coalition policy is TPVs for everyone. Labor is considering TPV-like mechanisms for people convicted in Australian courts of lighting things on fire. Is there really zero distinction between those two policy positions in your mind?

    No Mineral Resource Tax – well with all the concessions given, and Swan saying there now isn’t a mineral boom in the forward estimates, maybe we won’t have it anyway. Besides, it was meant to be a super-profits tax we already have mineral resource taxes…

    For rationality’s sake Narcotic, you’re normally one of the most balanced commentators here. These are all just taken carte blanche from the most incoherent Green’s talking points. Of course getting $8 billion from the miners isn’t as good as getting $20 billion; but do you really think $0 is just as good? Seriously? If so, WHY? And we don’t currently have any MRRT except for offshore petroleum. That’s the entire point FFS.

    No reduction in middle class welfare, service cuts instead – already flagged by the ALP/Swan in their ‘tough’ budget in order to get things back to surplus. They aren’t considering reducing middle class welfare but have flagged lots of service cuts, particularly to welfare recipients.

    The comparison isn’t between what a Greens government would do and the current ALP government. Its between what’d we’d end up with under Tony Abbott vs Julia Gillard. This seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding.

    Any ‘reform’ to private schools will be in the private schools favour, you know that – the ALP won’t “fix” that.

    Of course, yes. By flagging a change to the current system, Garrett is just tricking the Independent Schools Association into attacking him, because he thinks it’ll be fun. Actually he plans to make things worse than the current arrangement while taking all the political damage associated with making things better.

    Sseriously, where does this culture come from? If you score the progressiveness of the parties on a scale of 1 to 10, giving the Greens say 8, everyone who tends to vote for them seems to round everything less than 8 down to zero. 7 out of 10, 1 out of 10, its all the same right?

    May as well vote for One Nation, then! Pauline Hanson couldn’t possibly be any worse for immigrants than the evil incarnate that is Chris Bowen, right? Hey, let’s elect Family First, since Julia Gillard’s stance on gay rights issues is precisely equivalent to theirs.

    Is it only because I’m an ex-mathematician that saying “A – B is small, therefpre A = B” bugs me so much?

  19. narcoticmusing

    For rationality’s sake Narcotic, you’re normally one of the most balanced commentators here.

    For me, I suppose I find the niggling of all this nuance too irritating. We’ve gone from pretty clear policy positions to pretty bloody Right. The point I was making was the constant reaching to the right. Yes, the TPVs for everyone is different but to introduce them at all is to validate the concept and undermine your negotiating position to not have them at all. What we should’ve heard is some sympathy for their plight. I get the zero tolerance to people committing crime, fine. But it is their job to ensure we have accurate commentry or else there is no reason to not implement TPVs for all.

    Garrett does not have the guts to take on the Independent schools lobby – they’ve already demonstrated that with their wonderful website. Unless you think he’ll manage it better than he managed insulating houses.

    So, yes, I probably am being a little irrationale today but in my defence, Gillard really is bugging me that much and I’ve only had exposure to commercial TV news the last week – but nothing from the Greens (not on the news), so no I didn’t take their speaking points :)

  20. narcoticmusing

    I may also be suffering from serious crashing due to alleged over consumption of chocolate over the long weekend.

  21. ” I think disgusting is too mild a term, but such people have a right to vote; and in a democracy, if you simply ignore or dismiss the strongly held opinions of a very sizable portion of the electorate, don’t expect to get your way on anything for very long.”

    My point exactly. Moreover, the facts is, Gillard has not only ignored her base, she has alienated them with her diatribe on social welfare, waxing lyrical on the work ethic, and making it quite plain being unemployed is not only a drain on government coffers, but something to be ashamed of..

    This is being aided and abetted by the pseudo latte left so amply described by SB., who I don’t normally agree with. The last election was tight, you don’t need a PhD in mathematics to work out a few thousand/hundred? votes here and there will see the end of this government.

    I will go out on a limb here and wait for the usual diatribe ref reality, poor political judgement etc , and state, if they returned Rudd to the job they may still be able to avoid the electoral drubbing they are about to get at the next election. I’m sure some one in the Labor party can tell her she is not looking well, and needs to retire.

    It is not a question whether Gillard is too far to the left or right, it is a matter of the perception people have of her confidence and ability to do the job. The people I speak to believe she has neither and comes across as a P.M. that has chosen the wrong party. Notwithstanding her roots and past history. Maybe the silver service, being waited on hand and foot, muddled her mind on who she is there to represent. Yes everyone, I already know.

  22. narcoticmusing

    Agreed Lynot – while I’m not sure putting Rudd back in will save them at the next election, I’d certainly vote for the ALP led by him over the ALP led by Gillard. But I doubt they ever will because he led the party, the current ALP prefers to direct the leader – and that is why she fails. It is obvious she isn’t leading.

    Jordan – My apologies if I frustrated you playing the Devil’s Advocate yesterday, but my point was that everything the ALP did/can achieve is so easily dismissed that they can’t sell it to the masses convincingly. If they don’t get some real policy implemented and soon, they won’t stand a chance against the Libs. It’ll just be another do nothing ALP like what Bracks was perceived (note it was a perception, not necessarily true – that being said he left a whole lot of crap he should’ve fixed) to have given in Victoria.

  23. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “Sseriously, where does this culture come from? If you score the progressiveness of the parties on a scale of 1 to 10, giving the Greens say 8, everyone who tends to vote for them seems to round everything less than 8 down to zero. 7 out of 10, 1 out of 10, its all the same right?”

    This important proposition illustrates the difference between a balanced approach to politics and the cynical nihilism of the fanatic. The latter approach is all about about power. It damns all other positions. It’s method is shrill and divisive and leads to arbitrary and contradictory trade-offs to ensure the retention of power.

    The balanced approach looks outcomes, at what is possible within the system. It’s method is about finding common ground rather than wedging and vilifying opponents.

    These patterns of behaviour are present to varying degrees in all political parties. At the moment the Greens are taking the balanced approach quite successfully working towards achieving as much of their program as they can. The ALP on the other hand is all about power and has started vilifying the Greens.

  24. narcoticmusing

    I agree with SB on this – a rating scale just doesn’t cut it for me. I don’t care if say the Greens are 8/10 and ALP is 7/10 if that difference is a fundamental policy for me – it means that they might as well be 1/10. It is about the collection of policies, not about how they rate on some progressiveness scale.

  25. jordanrastrick

    I agree with SB on this

    Are you sure about that? He seems to be endorsing my view that compromises and pragmatism are important, but then trying to argue that the ALPs attempts to hold on to power (which is the ultimate form of pragmatism for any political party) somehow actually indicates fanaticism… I don’t know, its kind of confusing. I suspect he means to say that compromises which achieve good outcomes are good and compromises which achieve only the appearances of good outcomes are bad. Which is all fine and dandy, except most voters’ thoughts on complex policy issues are largely wrong, so when you are compromising with the people who elect you you can’t rely on policy realities alone. Perceptions matter.

    It is about the collection of policies, not about how they rate on some progressiveness scale.

    If you think a MRRT, CPRS, NBN etc are bad policies, narcotic – when compared to the status quo, of course, not some hypothetical improved version of them that you’d implement if you were Empreror of Australia – I’d like to hear it.

    On refugees, I won’t say much for the time being except to say that Labor, Liberals and the Greens all suck, and its because they are dealing with a fundamentally hard problem – the failures of the international refugee system. The Australian Defence Association guy on Q&A the other night really nailed the issue actually, although what he said about it is only the tip of the iceberg. I personally have a policy that I think could achieve great outcomes for pretty much everyone involved within the constraints that exist, but its not trivial and I’d expect people would need a lot of convincing.

    At the moment the Greens are taking the balanced approach quite successfully working towards achieving as much of their program as they can. The ALP on the other hand is all about power and has started vilifying the Greens.

    This is somewhat true SB, but its critical to note that the Greens successes are built entirely on of those of the Labor party. They voted down Rudd’s CPRS in a move of either completely foolish idealism, or base electoral cynicism (“we’ll convince all the progressive voters we’re purer than the ALP”) combined with bad political miscalculation (“it’ll definitely get easier to pass a stronger CPRS as time passes”). Now they happen to be in an extraordinary position of influence, but only because of the fluke of the hung parliament. And while I grant they are working pragmatically towards many of their key policy goals (on carbon, the NBN, mining taxes, education, pokies etc etc), that essentially means moderating them slightly toward the ALP position and then letting Labor do the heavy lifting of selling the policies to the other 80% of the electorate.

    The entire program is founded upon on a Labor government being in power. If Abbott were PM, at most the Greens would be able to veto some of his more objectionable policies in the Senate; they would not be able to set any sort of legislative agenda.

    The result? The Greens get progressive primary votes, because they’re “getting stuff done” within the context of compromising with the ALP. The ALP however gets only scorn from the same voters for “getting stuff done” within the incredibly more difficult framework of compromising with the Greens, then Independents, and the electorate. The Greens don’t have to sell out and pursue power (i.e. broad electoral support), because they can just take a share of the power that the ALP has sold out to obtain.

    Its all fun and games for Greens MPs – just like being a member of the Labor Left, but able to make public, scathing criticisms of Labor policy and get offended when Labor tries to push back, to boot.

    However the 50% of parliamentarians who are broadly left leaning having all their disagreements in public, whether on matters of substance or symbolism, is politically terrible. The Coalition and the ALP have rules about party discipline for good, pragmatic reasons, not because they enjoy the Machiavellian buzz they get from it all. When you argue about things in public, people focus on the argument, even if its only about 3% of things and you actually agree on the other 97%. Hence a Greens/Labor coalition will always appear weaker and more directionless than the monolithic coalition of the right wing, which has just as many internal disputes but sensibly is keeping it all behind closed doors for now.

  26. narcoticmusing

    Jordan, you’ve named 3 future policies that haven’t been implemented (NBN has at least begun, the others haven’t even got through parliament yet, much like the ‘health reform’ policy so many people voted for).

    I don’t mean to sound so cynical Jordan; really, I want to be convinced. I agreed with the stimulus package, I agreed with the pink batts scheme (despite the balls up of its management), I agreed with the apology.

    Much to people like Jeremy’s chagrin, I voted ALP most elections – I saw it as a lesser evil and being realistic that to keep Lib Co out, I had only one vote. The last election was the first time I didn’t vote ALP (Lefty can sigh with relief). I’m far more realistic about the political landscape and the difficulties in passing legislation on a good day than most. Yet, I feel fatigued with the Gillard government.

    As for the arguing in public – cabinet solidarity is a necessary evil to enable cabinet (and shadow cabinet) to have honest open debate between them without the media contorting it. I think it is a good thing in the context of a dishonest, tabloid-esk, media that cares more about a quick buck than any true discussion (although I also welcome polly’s having the nards to cross the floor when they really believe in something). Nevertheless, that isn’t the issue with the Greens and ALP – there is no public arguement getting them in trouble due to the absence of cabinet solidarity. The ALP are just outright demonising the Greens. There is a big difference between disagreeing with a policy and tarring an entire party, who is currently helping you stay in power and was the first one to say they’d stand beside you.

    If you go to a party and tell everyone there shitty things about a mate that isn’t at the party to defend themselves and who stood by you when times were tough for you, people will think you are an asshat. Simple. That is not the same as some in house argueing or cabinet solidarity.

  27. narcoticmusing

    Jordan – I thought my post qualified in what way I agreed with SB btw… it wasn’t unqualified…

  28. jordanrastrick

    Jeremy, sorry to be a pain, but could you fix the missing slash from the blockquote tag issue in my previous comment?

    Narcotic, while you qualified your agreement, I honestly didn’t understand fully what you and SB were in agreement about other than “we don’t like what Labor’s currently up to.” You seem to not like Labor for different reasons although obviously there are similarities in that you both think attacking the Greens achieves nothing (even though that’s practically all SB himself ever does the rest of the time around here….)

    If you don’t like the obvious over-simplification of politics into a one dimensional left-right spectrum – and I certainly don’t – I’ll gladly discuss each individual issue on its merits, in which case in nearly all of current major policy debates we still have a situation where the ALP position tends to lie somewhere between that of the Greens and the Liberals (because voters and politicans typically think in that one dimensional way.)

    If you go to a party and tell everyone there shitty things about a mate that isn’t at the party to defend themselves and who stood by you when times were tough for you, people will think you are an asshat.

    One, the Greens have every opportunity to defend themselves; they’re quieter and have less friends at the party so naturally have a smaller audience, but the debate is totally out in the open.

    Two, the Greens have not stood by Labor when times were tough. Times were tough for Labor when Kevin Rudd wanted to pass an important and complex piece of environmental legislation through the Senate. The Greens screwed them, and did their best to systemically mislead voters into thinking the CPRS would have been worse than nothing, which has sabotaged the credibility of any future imperfect compromise scheme as well. Jeremy, as far as I can tell, still believes this piece of outrageous spin to this day – it was his position at the time I first started commenting here and he has never retracted it despite my incessant harping on about it :P

    The Greens did not direct any preferences at all in the NSW election. Certainly the ALP government and most of its members did not deserve to be retained, but directing no preferences at all implies the Greens had no opinions to offer its voters, in any seat, that the local Labor candidate was better (or worse) than the Liberal candidate or the Family First candidate. In the upper house, this could have mattered; thankfully the Greens beat Labor and hence Pauline Hanson to the final position, but there were plenty of very plausible scenarios in which Greens votes would have exhausted and allowed fringe right lunatics to get in over Labor. Why? Because regardless of the merits of individual candidates, the Greens didn’t want to risk damage to their own brand by association with any of the failings of the Keneally Government. Fair enough, but it was the pragmatic decision, not the principled one.

    All The Greens have done for Labor in recent times is grant confidence to the incumbent federal government of Julia Gillard, against an alternative of most conservative major party leader in decades, in exchange for taking their input on critical policy matters (including, funnily enough, carbon pricing). This was a mutually beneficial arrangement in which the Greens got the better deal (influence disproportionate to their electoral support, credit amongst voters). Its not the Greens “standing by” Labor at all.

    Of course Labor don’t stand by the Greens, either; they issue media statements and direct preferences etc etc based on their own electoral interests. And they may have misjudged some of their statements about the Greens lately, even though what SB calls “vilifying” actually corresponds to a few out of context, ridiculously pissweak statements that mildly differentiate Labor values from the ones of most Greens voters (progressive inner city professionals). You know, those values SB himself holds in complete and utter contempt.

  29. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “He seems to be endorsing my view that compromises and pragmatism are important, but then trying to argue that the ALPs attempts to hold on to power (which is the ultimate form of pragmatism for any political party) somehow actually indicates fanaticism… I don’t know, its kind of confusing.”

    There are bits of the ALP’s attempts to hold on to power which go well beyond pragmatism and deep into the realm of cynical nihilism. Like taking decisions that their own words are so cheap that they mean nothing when it comes to keeping promises. Some of these promises sounded ridiculous at the time, like the citizens assembly, or like thought-bubble policies designed to win over particular voters as with the East Timor refugee processing centre.

    Your comments on the Greens are true enough, but they do seem to be playing the game better than the ALP in terms of looking coherent and achieving their objectives. This may be because they are better placed to do this as a minority partner in the coalition. Nevertheless they do come across as less cynical and less confused about their goals than the ALP.

  30. jordanrastrick

    Tony Abbott would almost certainly have had to change a number of policies from what he pledged in the election to win the confidence of the lower house, SB. And every indication is that we was more than willing to do so in the negotiations with the independents. As he should have been, given the circumstances, and given that Abbott is a pragmatist and not a demented idealogue.

    Would you have preferred that neither major party leader be ever prepared to compromise on any single issue that they’d made any kind of statement on in a campaign? That’s really pragmatic. This would mean that, so long as the parties actually continue to ever say anything, any hung parliament means a fresh election each and every time, until one of the majors has a clear majority. Which in turn means that voting for a non-major party candidate in the lower house is guaranteed to never have any major effect on policy. Hooray.

    Politicians sometimes have to “break promises” (i.e. change their minds about things they’ve said they’ll do do slightly more frequently than once every 3 years).

    For instance, Gillard and Swan are sticking to their budget surplus commitment at the moment despite what its costing them, and despite unforseen issues like the natural disasters.

    If al-Qaeda were to nuke Sydney tomorrow, do you think it would be appropriate for the government to hold back on disaster relief in order to continue to keep that promise? Perhaps they could wait until the next election to get a fresh mandate from the electorate about how to allocate budget resources to the problem?

    Of course you wouldn’t make that argument, even though its just as much a promise as the one on carbon pricing. Idiots will always harp on about politicans and their promises – and its tedious whether people are doing it do Rudd or Gillard, Abbott or Howard – as if they could perfectly forsee every action they would take in a three year term and communicate it all to an electorate (in which case, it seems like we hardly need to form an actual government; every election could just be a referrendum.)

    You’re not an idiot, and while your trolling is amusing, it gets tiresome when it starts to feel like you might actually be buying into your own splatterings.

  31. narcoticmusing

    Very good points Jordan – I would also add that it shouldn’t just be comprismise in order to appease an independent – there should be some capacity to listen to the public more than just once every 3 years. The examples I’d give of course are the anti-war protests and workchoices protests – both the largest in Australian history and both disregarded with a nonchalant arrogance only Howard could so easily muster.

  32. Splatterbottom

    Jordan what does Tony Abbott have to with anything I said? I was comparing the ALP with the Greens. Do you have some sort of rule that every time I comment on government parties I must also bash Abbott? My comments in this thread are entirely serious, and presented in a calm manner. How is that trolling?

    And how on earth could I be construed as attempting to be amusing anywhere on this thread? You haven’t really addressed the points I made. Just to be clear, my main point is that the ALP has behaved cynically and appears to have come up with positions that seem to have been dreamed up moments before they were announced. Some of them appear to be populist appeals to particular groups as though they are knee-jerk reactions to the latest polls.

    In addition there is the contrast between her strange attack on her coalition partners and the Greens measured response.

    Your response looks a little unhinged. I did not say that politicians should never break promises although, for some strange reason, you chose to attack me as though I did. Why don’t you explain to me what nuclear holocaust necessitated the dropping of the Citizen’s Assembly proposal? The reason it was dropped is surely that it was a silly and ill-considered proposal.

    You carry on about the carbon tax, yet I didn’t even mention it. Taken alone it would not be such an issue. Taken together with other things the Government has said and done I get the impression that it is less concerned with having a coherent and well thought out agenda than with shoring up its poll ratings.

  33. jordanrastrick

    SB, I retract the allegation that you are trolling. Its often hard to tell with you, because you love to be over the top to provoke; sometimes when there’s just an honest disagreement it seems like you’re being provocative instead of just misguided :P

    Like taking decisions that their own words are so cheap that they mean nothing when it comes to keeping promises.

    This is false, and (in conjuction with your history of attacking Gillard about broken promises) is at the core of my problem with what you’ve said.

    The Labor government clearly does not believe its promises mean nothing. If they did, they would walk away from difficult to achieve ones like bringing the budget into surplus on such a tight schedule.

    Just to be clear, my main point is that the ALP has behaved cynically and appears to have come up with positions that seem to have been dreamed up moments before they were announced. Some of them appear to be populist appeals to particular groups as though they are knee-jerk reactions to the latest polls.

    Yes. But bad policy calls as knee-jerk reactions are not the same as broken promises.

    Why don’t you explain to me what nuclear holocaust necessitated the dropping of the Citizen’s Assembly proposal?

    The Greens and the independents wanted to do things differently. Thats a different circumstance to the one in which Labor governs in its own right.

    If the government says “this is what we’re doing on climate, because that’s what economic and scientific expert opinion recommends”, they’re panned, by you amongst others, for not consulting with the electorate and all the usual special interest groups about their (utterly uninformed/nakedly self-interested) opinions on whether climate change is really real and what the effect will be on the economy and what they think of the modern peer review process etc. When they do propose a broad based community discussion and consultation on the idea – and I’ll note that convening randomly drawn members of the electorate to fulfil certain functions of government has an incredibly long and respectable history in democracies, including our own judicial system – they are lampooned for, uh, not telling everyone to shut up and imposing “leadership” regardless of what anyone might think. They’re not “explaining themselves to the electorate”, but what this means is that the media is choosing not to report the explanations, because they’re long and boring and have numbers and economics and meterology in them.

    The Timor processing centre was a terribly managed proposal, and extremely made up on the run. But its not a broken promise, its a promise the government can’t fulfill, because the Timorese government have killed the policy.

    Both major parties are guily of this policy as a press release disease; its a symptom of our decaying media institutions and the incessant 24 hour news cycle. Abbotts “I’m unpopular with women? Oooooh raise business tax (what a crash hot idea in the era of offshoring) to pay for parental leave, oops did I say parental, that’s too expensive, lets just go with women only and so further entrench systemic discrimination in the workforce” is a classic example, and there are others.

    You carry on about the carbon tax, yet I didn’t even mention it.

    The Carbon Tax is the only serious broken promise of the Gillard government, the topic of this thread, and the issue you’re always harping on about when you accusing the ALP of not keeping its word.

    If that’s not what you were talking about, I humbly suggest it is encumbent on you to communicate more clearly.

    I get the impression that it is less concerned with having a coherent and well thought out agenda than with shoring up its poll ratings.

    Governments everywhere are engaged in a perpetual conflict with the media to get any positive coverage at all of what they’re doing. Even Barry O’Farrell is starting to feel some heat from the press, over Mike Baird’s portfolio change, the MP on the DSP, etc.

    If public opinion of a government sinks too low, it becomes a self-fulfilling policy – polemicists will read the polls and then write articles day in day out about how at 30% primary vote the party is unelectable. The majority of voters will get used to the idea that the government is doing a bad job in some vague sense, because their only exposure to politics is throught the utterly distorted lens of media coverage. Backbenchers of an unpopular government close to an election will start losing any belief that they can win their seats, and will either become nervous, or resigned, both of which are recipes for poor performance, and hence further criticism. This negative feedback spiral was in stark display in NSW over the final term of the Iemma/Rees/Keneally government (precipiated by a government in power for too long and genuinely messed up from the start on Transport).

    I mean, there are pollsters now predicting Gillard can’t possibly be re-elected. Say what? A day is a long time in politics. Who knows what public opinion on carbon pricing will be like after the scheme has been in place for 2 years? Its certainly fluctuated wildly in recent times in a manner completely uncorrelated with reality.

  34. Splatterbottom

    Jordan: “The Labor government clearly does not believe its promises mean nothing. If they did, they would walk away from difficult to achieve ones like bringing the budget into surplus on such a tight schedule.”

    My argument doesn’t require Labor to break all promises, only the ones that were made cynically. These would be the ones made to specifically appeal to particular segments of the electorate. I put things like the no carbon tax announcement, the citizens assembly and the East Timor processing centre in that category. I just don’t believe she was being sincere in making those statements but made them out of political expediency to cobble together a few more votes in a tight election.

    The argument that other politicians have also done this is trivial.

    “This negative feedback spiral was in stark display in NSW over the final term of the Iemma/Rees/Keneally government (precipiated by a government in power for too long and genuinely messed up from the start on Transport).”

    A better way of saying this is that a rotten government gets bad press. Blaming the media to any degree for Labor’s demise on NSW is missing the point entirely.

    “I mean, there are pollsters now predicting Gillard can’t possibly be re-elected. Say what? A day is a long time in politics. Who knows what public opinion on carbon pricing will be like after the scheme has been in place for 2 years? Its certainly fluctuated wildly in recent times in a manner completely uncorrelated with reality.”

    Agreed.

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