“Failed experiment”

Tony Abbott thinks “minority government” has “failed”:

On what criteria? In doing what the Liberal Party likes, sure – but there are very many of us in the electorate who’d see that more as a point in its favour. Has it been crippled by indecision? No, it’s passed plenty of legislation – the perception that the Liberals are doing very well is a result of the easy run they get in the commercial media and the now-compliant ABC. In Parliament itself, where Rupert can’t help them, they’ve been regularly trounced.

The thing is, “minority government” (a silly term, because of course a majority is always required to pass anything) simply means that the parliament does not enforce the lie that more than half of the country agrees with one party on a majority of issues. If Labor has more than 50% of the seats, then on some issues the minority position will get up because Labor has the votes it won by appealing to voters on another issue. Likewise if the Liberals have more than 50% of the seats. If one party has a majority in its own right, it can (and they do) treat parliament with contempt. It doesn’t need any of the rest of them – they’re irrelevant. Issues are decided, not on the floor of the House, in the open, but in backrooms where only the party and lobbyists are represented.

The present makeup isn’t exactly ideal – with several lone, unconnected members, it’s unwieldy; and the numbers are, because of the single member electorate system, not particularly democratic.

We do need a more representative parliament – one where different perspectives in the community are represented in accordance with their support. There probably should be a few Fundies First MPs, to speak for the fundamentalists. At the moment, they get their perspectives pushed by the two biggest parties, effectively using your vote (if you voted Labor or Liberal) to push their religious cause on the rest of us. They should be forced to stand on their own feet, and see just how much of the community agrees with them.

And of course, based on their proportion of the vote last time (11.76%), there should also be 17-18 Greens MPs, elected in their own right and without having to hope the Liberals preference them in a seat. (If the Liberals hadn’t done that, then there would be, seriously, nearly 1.5 million Australians without any representation at all in the House of Representatives. That is a ludicrous situation.)

Proportional representation, or a milder form of it like multi-member electorates, is what we need to have a real democracy in which everyone’s votes really do count equally. The fact it would lead to no party having complete control of the Parliament is a feature, not a flaw.

What’s wrong with a Parliament that closely matches the community? The combination of parties that combine to pass the budget might not be the same combination of parties that form a majority on an environmental issue or a social issue – but isn’t that the way it is in the community? On different issues, we often agree with different people. Why do we need to shove the social conservatives in with the economic conservatives? Why do we need to shove the “government out of our lives” crowd with the “government telling us who we can marry” crowd? Why can’t they all stand on their own feet and see what the community really thinks?

We don’t need a parliament of fixed big parties and the occasional local-issue independents, like we have now – we need a parliament of four or five significant but not dominant parties that represent the various main perspectives out in the electorate and can form different alliances depending on the issue.

That is when we’ll really have given “minority government” (or, to use a more accurate word, “democracy”) a try.

We haven’t even started this “experiment” yet, Tony.

About these ads

122 responses to ““Failed experiment”

  1. Catching up

    Can Mr. Abbott, the Opposition leader tell us how the government has failed.

    The bills are getting passed. The public servants are being paid. Parliament during sittings appear to be working. The government still has the numbers on the floor of the house.

  2. jordanrastrick

    Abbott’s line is just a meaningless self serving soundbyte, but I have to take issue with a lot of the substance of this post.

    No, it’s passed plenty of legislation – the perception that the Liberals are doing very well is a result of the easy run they get in the commercial media and the now-compliant ABC.

    Yesterday the (Sydney) Sun Herald’s whole front page was covering the internal Liberal party rifts going on at the moment. The day before, when I pointed out how heavily the SMH was running with this story, I’ll note the Australian also had it (slightly less prominently, same photo of Turnbull confronting Entsch) on their front page.

    Is this a “compliant media” who are going easy on the Opposition?

    The fact it would lead to no party having complete control of the Parliament is a feature, not a flaw.

    A fundamental problem here is that its easier to oppose measures than support them; in a more representative parliament with MPs voting less cohesively, fewer bills get passed. Some people actually like it that way, but I’m not convined it leads to better government.

    We don’t need a parliament of fixed big parties and the occasional local-issue independents, like we have now – we need a parliament of four or five significant but not dominant parties that represent the various main perspectives out in the electorate and can form different alliances depending on the issue.

    As well as always studiously ignoring repeated arguments by me and others that there are advantages and disadvantages to more representative systems, I dont think you’ve ever answered why the magic number of 4 or 5 Greens sized parties strikes the right balance. The top 5 parties in Australia at the moment don’t do much of a better job reflecting my opinions than the top 2. It seems to me that since you happen to have views aligned closely with a party that would do well under a system that’s exactly that representative, you fancy it to be the democratic optimum. Why not 20 parties, or for that matter just 150 MPs each with their own individual platforms? Since you’re trying to sample 15 million distinct sets of political opinions or so, surely the more diverse parliament is, the better.

  3. “The thing is, “minority government” (a silly term, because of course a majority is always required to pass anything) simply means that the parliament does not enforce the lie that more than half of the country agrees with one party on a majority of issues.”

    How about we start calling it a ‘plurality government’? Or even better yet, just a ‘governement’? !

  4. “Is this a “compliant media” who are going easy on the Opposition?”

    It’s pretty mild. I don’t think this stuff has much electoral impact at all. It might if it were sustained, but it probably won’t be.

    “A fundamental problem here is that its easier to oppose measures than support them; in a more representative parliament with MPs voting less cohesively, fewer bills get passed.”

    I suspect that on most issues where there’s majority support for change, the MPs who represent the voters on the majority side would be able to get legislation passed.

    “It seems to me that since you happen to have views aligned closely with a party that would do well under a system that’s exactly that representative, you fancy it to be the democratic optimum.”

    Not really – I’d prefer to vote for a progressive party that wasn’t obsessed with the environment.

    If we’re talking Greens-sized parties, we could probably support seven or eight. Whatever your position, there’d be one a lot closer to it than with just two.

    “Since you’re trying to sample 15 million distinct sets of political opinions or so, surely the more diverse parliament is, the better.”

    I think a balance is reasonable – two is too few, dozens would be too many. You need them to be big enough to actually have some kind of structure and responsibility for their previous actions. Point is that there should at least be distinct parties in the various big groupings like social conservative/economic progressive, social progressive/economic conservative, social/economic progressive, social/economic conservative. The system we’ve got involves far too many people being unrepresented – not just Greens voters, but also groups like Fundies First.

    I’m not suggesting a 15 million-member Parliament. A proportionally-elected 150 member one would be fine.

  5. It seems to me that since you happen to have views aligned closely with a party that would do well under a system that’s exactly that representative, you fancy it to be the democratic optimum.

    But a system that delivers a party 11.76% of seats in parliament after they win 11.76% of the popular vote is is the “democratic optimum”, by definition. I don’t think we need to ascribe ulterior motives to anyone supporting this, because it isn’t controversial (or, at least, shouldn’t be).

  6. Well, you can’t blame Tony.

    I’m sure he’s been telling his side that he’ll have the nation back to the polls inside 18 monthd and the coalition will rom pit in on the back of a govt that has been unable to get legislation through the house.

    At 12 months, we have a govt that has passed more legislation through the house than the Howard govt did in its first 12 months.

    Tony’s plan is looking a bit shaky and he’s also a leader with a majority of one. The leak against Turnbull was certainly an opening salvo by the pro-Tony forces getting nervous about the “morass of indecision and paralysis” in the Coalition that they fear is undermining Abbott.

  7. “Is this a “compliant media” who are going easy on the Opposition?”

    Well yes. The media focus on disunity in the opposition is only a symptom of their love of one of their favourite circus story lines. It may well turn out that Murdoch decides that his interests are better served by a different opposition leader, and in that event we will see ‘disunity’ stories on the increase. This should not be interpreted as the media attacking the opposition.

    The real advantage of other types of representation such as the Greens and independents with power is it reduces the ability of the power elites to effect policy to their advantage. This is why Murdoch is pulling out all stops for a majority coalition government, and why his loons demonize the Greens and the two independents. The media of course is the instrument the power elites use to affect and mould public opinion to their advantage, which is why Australia’s richest woman is buying into media.

    In short, the current set up of the government is not in the interests of the power elites so we will continue to see attacks on the current set up in the media.

  8. jordanrastrick

    But a system that delivers a party 11.76% of seats in parliament after they win 11.76% of the popular vote is is the “democratic optimum”, by definition.

    That’s a lousy definition. If there’s only one party running in an election, and they get 100% of the vote, that would match your “democratic optimum”.

    If there are 100 seats in a parliament, no one who votes for a candidate with less than 1% popular support ever gets their views counted. Is that optimal?

    There are definitely good things to be said for more proportional systems. But advocacy that takes the form of “its better because I said so” is unconvincing. Make every piece of legislation an online referrendum instead of having a representative democracy. That’s more optimal, right – because people’s views are more accurately reflected? If you don’t believe such a system is the best, that means you concede a tradeoff is necessary between reflecting popular opinion and other concerns such as pragmatism, stability, and coherency. If you want to assert the ideal tradeoff is a more proportional system, you need to justify why, not just trot out the “its more democratic” non-argument.

    Jeremy,

    I suspect that on most issues where there’s majority support for change, the MPs who represent the voters on the majority side would be able to get legislation passed.

    What if there is no majority side within the Parliament. Say a third of MPs wantsa strong ETS, a third want a weak ETS, and a third wants no ETS. What should be the outcome then? What do you expect the outcome to be?

    Or what if a third want to raise taxes, a third want to cut spending, and a third are just happy to go into debt to finance everything?

    Or what if a third want a negotiated two state solution with the Palestinians, a third want a one state solution, and a third just want to go to war again and evict the entire Arab population from Israel and the Occupied Territories?

    It’s pretty mild. I don’t think this stuff has much electoral impact at all. It might if it were sustained, but it probably won’t be.

    If it fuels internal dissention in the Coalition to the point where they have a leadership spill, ala Rudd and Gillard, it has the potential to have huge impact regardless of how much voters are paying attention to the story.

    If we’re talking Greens-sized parties, we could probably support seven or eight. Whatever your position, there’d be one a lot closer to it than with just two.

    Perhaps. I’ll note that at the moment I have to choose primarily between the Liberals, Labor and the Greens, all of whom have policies I support and policies I oppose. There are plenty of other parties I could choose to vote for, but they’re all even further from representing a consisent policy platform that overlaps with my own views. I woudn’t really expect that to change a great deal under PR, except maybe the LDP might become more popular and weed the more deluded of the Ayn Rand worshipers from their ranks, which would make them a viable fourth option for me.

  9. jordanrastrick

    It may well turn out that Murdoch decides that his interests are better served by a different opposition leader, and in that event we will see ‘disunity’ stories on the increase. This should not be interpreted as the media attacking the opposition.

    All of the plausible alternative candidates for the leadership are significantly more moderate than Abbott. How does this fit in to the “Murdoch Tea Party agenda” conspiracy theory?

    I mean yes, the Murdoch papers are clearly biased. But the media’s focus on anything is usually for the most part a symptom of their love of circus story lines, which stems from our love of buying stories about conflicts. Rupert is a conservative and likes his papers to favour conservative parties, without a doubt. But more than anything else, it sells; people like reading misinformed opinionated nonsense and politics as a reality TV show more than sober rational analysis. This is why the Herald runs, to a lesser extent, equally idiotic bullcrap of a more left wing bent; same profit motive, different target market.

  10. Jordanrastrick, what is the Murdoch Tea Party agenda conspiracy theory? I’ve never heard of it. Murdoch is not fussy whether his candidates or more or less moderate. The only thing that counts is how much his influence is represented. If that is better done via a moderate, then so be it.

    Of course the media loves sensation rather than substance and it is what sells. But you are assuming that the media is benign. For example Rupert doesn’t own the Australian for profit, he owns if for influence. Why does he (or any other media proprietor) want influence? Simply to effect public opinion and government policy for their own interests. Murdoch’s constant and attack on the NBN is a perfect illustration of this, as the NBN directly challenges his business interests.

    Getting back to the theme, the weakness of democracy in this country is that government is far more likely to side with the interests of the power elites rather than the interests of the people. This is to a large extent hidden from the people simply because the media is run by those same power elites. The minor parties and independents generally (but not always) are less influenced by the power elites and better reflect the wishes of the people, hence are good for democracy if their influence can be expressed.

    Oh, play school must be on in ten minutes, Abbott’s just pulled the suspension trick in question time.

  11. “Oh, play school must be on in ten minutes, Abbott’s just pulled the suspension trick in question time.”

    And Albanese is calling their bluff.

  12. jordanrastrick

    Murdoch is not fussy whether his candidates or more or less moderate. The only thing that counts is how much his influence is represented.

    This doesn’t make any sense. Either Murdoch’s views align more closely with Abbott’s or with Turnbull’s. If he starts promoting someone with policies that are further away from his own because he thinks his first choice of candidate has less chance of winning, that implies his direct influence is diminished. And regardless of whether he wants Tony, Malcolm, Joe or Other to be PM, extended coverage of Liberal disunity does not do any of them any good; a decisive change in leadership as soon as possible with everyone falling in to line behind the new boss would reap the best electoral results for the Coalition.

    But you are assuming that the media is benign.

    No, I think the media is a cancer. Just for different reasons.

    For example Rupert doesn’t own the Australian for profit, he owns if for influence.

    This is true, in a sense. Although prior to the last couple of years, I’d have rated The Australian as the best newspaper in the country, despite its political colours not usually matching my own especially closely. The current editor’s increasingly hysterical and partisan campaigning is seriously undermining that, although its hard to say whether its winning (or more accurately speaking, losing) the race to the bottom.

  13. I’d have rated The Australian as the best newspaper in the country,

    Yeah, their IT section kicked the buggery out of Fairfax’s lame offerings. ;)

    I know what you mean, I used to read both when the Australian was cheap in Melbourne. Now I barley get time to do the Age crossword. :(

  14. Albanese is a good performer and did a great job. I like watching Greg Combet as well.

    “This doesn’t make any sense. Either Murdoch’s views align more closely with Abbott’s or with Turnbull’s. If he starts promoting someone with policies that are further away from his own because he thinks his first choice of candidate has less chance of winning, that implies his direct influence is diminished.”

    Murdoch couldn’t give a hoot what Abbott’s, Turnbull’s or anyone else’s view is. He only cares how much they’ll bend over to his influence. The only thing that counts for Murdoch is the end goal which is to eliminate competition and to have control and maximum influence over government policy to the benefit of his business interests. All the rest is small change. For example I doubt whether or not Murdoch could care less whether Abbott is against a carbon tax and Turnbull is for it. Irrelevent to him. If Howard won his last election and implemented his carbon policy you wouldn’t have the Australian carrying on about it because it is not the real issue.

    Remember he backed Whitlam (and also helped remove him), and there’s been instances of him backing labor in the past. He’s gone to war (not literally) with governments that threaten his business interests, and this government (and Greens and the two independents) is no exception. It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘views’ or ideology.

  15. narcoticmusing

    J- I cannot remember a time when I considered the Australian to be a paper worthy of respect, regardless of political alignment. It has always been a trash rag primarily due to hiring the wrong people for the jobs – their political editors in particular were appauling – not due to bias (although that is a bigger issue now) but due to not getting even the basics of the Westminister system let alone their role in it. The Herald Sun used to have some guts but now it is just a paper version of TodayTonight/ACA: sensationalist BS.

  16. jordanrastrick

    If our politics are so governed by Rupert’s profit motive, why are our anti-siphoning laws so beneficial to the Free to Air TV stations, despite the fact they often won’t even screen all of football matches and so forth they insist on having privileged rights over? The News Ltd bottom line would benefit immensely from de-regulation of this sector; subscription television services, for sport in particular, are I believe one of the group’s biggest profit drivers in the U.S. and has huge potential for revenue growth here.

    If the NBN is the main game, why are the Murdoch papers focusing their attacks on discrediting that directly instead of banging on about climate change, the BER and refugee policy? Why would Labor be pushing through that particular policy if they could have had media backing on the carbon tax, mining tax, family tax benefit cuts, gambling reforms, parental leave, smoking packaging, etc etc etc etc, by simply not posing a mild threat to Murdoch business interests in the telecommunications sphere?

    If Turnbull is just as good a PM as Abbott so long as he plays ball on areas that affect News Ltd profitability, why doesn’t the same argument apply to Gillard?

    The truth is that the Murdoch press is biased partly because Murdoch is himself more right leaning and lets this preference be known in a vauge and general way, partly because of the particular editors they have in charge of the major papers at the current point in time, and mostly because selling sensationalist, conflict driven “news” is profitable and these papers have established audiences of broadly conservative readers.

  17. “If our politics are so governed by Rupert’s profit motive, why are our anti-siphoning laws so beneficial to the Free to Air TV stations”

    Because they were earlier more governed by the Packers’ profit motive. The FTA stations still have a reasonable amount of power, if less than they did pre-internet.

  18. jordanrastrick

    It has always been a trash rag primarily due to hiring the wrong people for the jobs – their political editors in particular were appauling – not due to bias (although that is a bigger issue now) but due to not getting even the basics of the Westminister system let alone their role in it.

    Newspapers don’t have any particular defined role in the Westminster system, only the implied right to say whatever the hell they want by virtue of the freedom of speech.

    And if The Australian has always been a trash rag, then the same is true of every paper in Australia since at least the 90s.

  19. Splatterbottom

    There is no doubt that the current coalition government is a failure. We are having imposed on us a tax that Gillard promised would not exist under a government she leads. This travesty of democracy has been brought about by Gillard’s lust for power and her willingness to debase herself to achieve that objective. She is now PM and she cares not a jot for the promises she made immediately before the last election.

    Minority government encourages this corrosion of political ethics. It is all too easy for Gillard to plead that she tried to resist, but Bob insisted on having his way with her.

    Electing a majority government means at least that they are accountable for what they do and for the promises they break. There is less scope for backsliding and compromise.

  20. jordanrastrick

    Because they were earlier more governed by the Packers’ profit motive. The FTA stations still have a reasonable amount of power, if less than they did pre-internet.

    FTA television has never set much of the political agenda in Australia. Newspapers and morning radio are vastly more influential. Admittedly, Packer used to have his fingers in enough other pies to wield some clout on this issue, and Murdoch’s interests weren’t always aligned in the opposite direction.

    While I could argue about the problems with our media all day, I’d be much more interested to know how a highly representative parliament is supposed to deal with the ETS/Budget/Palestine trilemmas. Indeed, even the U.S. with its two-parties-but-no-party-discipline system has an almost paralysed legislature at the moment, with a Congress pretty much incapable of forming a consensus on anything. This is actually a pretty accurate reflection of the popular will, in the sense that typically everyone wants to see action on major issues, but disagrees heavily on what it should be; there’s rarely actually anything like a public majority strongly committed to a given approach while an issue is still being debated.

  21. “A failed government” Bollocks!

    Abbott has come to the realisation if he doesn’t try to bring on an election before the government runs its full term he will never be P.M. He will say and do anything to achieve what deep in his own heart he knows, is never going to happen. Turnbull sits in parliament with a Cheshire grin on his kisser, knowing full well he is the anointed one, and will move when he thinks Abbott has dug himself into a hole he can’t escape. The leaked e.mails are the start of the rot. Hockey knows as much and that is written all over his fatuous kisser. Abbott’s performance in parliament this very day, should leave everyone in shock horror of what to expect if God forbid, he became P.M.

    All this talk of Representative numbers in electorates etc etc in analysing the current situation, is nothing but luke warm diarrhoea. This is about Abbott’s ego end of.

  22. Make every piece of legislation an online referrendum instead of having a representative democracy. That’s more optimal, right – because people’s views are more accurately reflected? If you don’t believe such a system is the best, that means you concede a tradeoff is necessary between reflecting popular opinion and other concerns such as pragmatism, stability, and coherency. If you want to assert the ideal tradeoff is a more proportional system, you need to justify why, not just trot out the “its more democratic” non-argument.

    I was starting from the premise that we are retaining the Westminster system. I figured – wrongly, it seems – that that probably went without saying. From there, I simply made what I still believe to be an uncontroversial proposition – namely, that within our current system of government, our parliaments become more “democratic” as the seat allocation more closely reflects the voting. And note that I never said that that would be perfect or even “better because I said so”, as you put it – just more “democratic” in the sense of more closely representing the will of the people.

  23. Electing a majority government means at least that they are accountable for what they do and for the promises they break. There is less scope for backsliding and compromise.

    The Gillard government is accountable in precisely the same way as a “majority government” would be had it gone to an election promising one thing and then done another once elected – that is, it is liable to be voted out at the ballot box at the next election.

  24. There is no doubt that the current coalition government is a failure.

    Certainly no doubt among Coalition voters, at least.

  25. jordanrastrick

    Minority government encourages this corrosion of political ethics. It is all too easy for Gillard to plead that she tried to resist, but Bob insisted on having his way with her.

    Is Nick Clegg also having vigorous non-consensual intercourse with David Cameron? Oh no, wait, of course not, the joke only works because Gillard is a woman! Ha ha. And of course misogynistic jokes only offend politically correct types, so its funny if you employ them when being read by a left wing audience! Kind of like pretty much only Jewish people take umbrage at Holocaust humour, so it would be reasonable to constantly make cracks about Auschwitz when discussing Israeli foreign policy, right? Lets not forget to work in our Hiroshima zingers when Japanese politics is the issue.

    So yes, we get it, SB, you’re a provocoteur – verily, the Socrates of your generation!

    Now that we’re all done being enlightened out of our stupefied progressive views by your witty allusions, I’d like to state for the record I actually do find the consistent employment of the rape metaphor for the Brown-Gillard political arrangement pretty fucking offensive, and more to the point breathtakingly unoriginal, not even remotely funny, and employed without irony by actual virulent misogynists so frequently that you’d think the people who are “only joking” would have decided its not worth associating themselves with the meme anymore.

    Electing a majority government means at least that they are accountable for what they do and for the promises they break. There is less scope for backsliding and compromise.

    True.

  26. “If the NBN is the main game, why are the Murdoch papers focusing their attacks on discrediting that directly instead of banging on about climate change, the BER and refugee policy? ”
    I’ve stopped looking at The Australian over the last month or two, but prior to that you could guarantee there’d be two or three articles per day banging on about the evil NBN. They are attempting to discredit the other policies you mention because it is all about discrediting the government, not the policies per se.

    Re anti siphoning laws, I don’t know enough on media regulation to comment but as Jeremy mentions, up until a couple of years ago any government in power had to satisfy with both Packer and Murdoch which would be like having your wisdom teath pulled out without an anisthetic. I’d say the main game at the moment would be protecting the Foxtel money cow. In the saturday post in the excellent Failed Estate blog he opinions that the takeover of Austar by Foxtel is all about getting control of content on the NBN.

    “If Turnbull is just as good a PM as Abbott so long as he plays ball on areas that affect News Ltd profitability, why doesn’t the same argument apply to Gillard?” It does. Why do you think Bourke’s population strategy document that came out a couple of weeks ago said nothing about population? The main difference is that Gillard is leading a minority government and Murdoch has a lot more trouble getting his hands on the Greens and the two independents. Hence the vociferous campaign against them (it should be fun post July 1st). Getting rid of Gillard would be likely to rid a minority government. The NBN in hindsite was pretty brave policy politically, but put up while Labor were in opposition so it’s ramifications were probably a lot more vague then. But also it was the factor that pushed the independents over the line and enabling labor to stay in office.

    “The truth is that the Murdoch press is biased partly because Murdoch is himself more right leaning…”. It is true that Murdoch is right leaning, but if a left leaning party was prepared to bend over for him more than a right leaning party he wouldn’t hesitate to support them. As I said previously, it’s all about power and influence and ideology comes a distant second.

  27. uniquerhys

    If we make it to July 1, then Abbott is screwed. Greens take the balance of power in the Senate and that won’t change with a fresh election. This is why he’s doubling-down on the “failed government” twittery. Try getting bills passed with Bob Brown actually *does* have the veto pen. Gillard is at least trying to make it work. Abbott’s ego won’t let him. But Turnball’s might.

    I think this is the reason for the increased media chatter about coalition disunity. Murdoch’s minions are testing the public’s perception of Turnball to see if it is worth putting him back in as the “moderate centre of the road saviour” just prior to the next election.

  28. SB, the attack on the government re. breaking a promise to me just doesn’t seem credible. Firstly both parties had a policy for pricing carbon in the 07 election and there was barely any mention of it in the media then. Secondly, everyone knew that labor were going to bring in a policy on pricing carbon in the last election, so they certainly have a mandate for pricing carbon.

    So the beef seems to be not because the government is bringing in policy to price carbon, but that it is doing it via a carbon tax rather than a cap and trade system. If that is a given, then the Government is being belted over the head not because of whether or not it is good policy, but because it is deemed good tactics politically. On that basis the argument is disingenous.

  29. Jordanrastruck “Indeed, even the U.S. with its two-parties-but-no-party-discipline system has an almost paralysed legislature at the moment, with a Congress pretty much incapable of forming a consensus on anything. This is actually a pretty accurate reflection of the popular will, in the sense that typically everyone wants to see action on major issues, but disagrees heavily on what it should be; there’s rarely actually anything like a public majority strongly committed to a given approach while an issue is still being debated.”

    You missed out the most important ingredient here. It is not the will of the people who decide how a government operates, it is mostly the power elites. That is certainly true in the US where the public have very little say in what goes on. Over here it gets complicated by the fact that the US itself have a big say in policy and how Australian governments run.

  30. “What if there is no majority side within the Parliament. Say a third of MPs wantsa strong ETS, a third want a weak ETS, and a third wants no ETS. What should be the outcome then? What do you expect the outcome to be?”

    I’ll ignore for a minute that I don’t think Australians’ views would divide into three parties much better than they do into two, and if we had PR I suspect we’d end up with more parties so this trilemma wouldn’t arise in that form. But say it did.

    The outcome should be either no change or whatever the parties can negotiate. If Australia is evenly divided between those three positions, who should win? Should any one third dominate the other two? I don’t think so. If such a parliament refused to endorse any change, why is that a problem? Why is that anything other than precisely what should happen?

    There should only be change if it’s supported by a majority of Australians. (With the sole caveat when a minority is being discriminated against; the majority does not have the right to take anyone else’s basic human rights away.)

    “Or what if a third want to raise taxes, a third want to cut spending, and a third are just happy to go into debt to finance everything?”

    As above.

    “Or what if a third want a negotiated two state solution with the Palestinians, a third want a one state solution, and a third just want to go to war again and evict the entire Arab population from Israel and the Occupied Territories?”

    They need to persuade a majority of Australians to their view if they want change.

  31. narcoticmusing

    Here, here Jordan.

    I recall many of us sounded out our disgust at the Gillard = ‘Bob Brown’s Bitch’ sign for the same reasons which those who don’t get it continued not to get. [sigh]

  32. Splatterbottom

    Jordan I wasn’t using a rape metaphor. Obviously Gillard consented – she didn’t resist at all! She merely used the circumstances of her not having attained her majority to excuse the betrayal of her vows to the Australian people. Sadly her lust (for power) was too strong and her virtue was a casualty of this sordid deal.

  33. “Betrayal of her vows”? Please. Just an everyday Howard non-core promise or perhaps one of Abbot’s “Don’t believe everything I say” promises.

  34. jordanrastrick

    I’ll ignore for a minute that I don’t think Australians’ views would divide into three parties much better than they do into two, and if we had PR I suspect we’d end up with more parties so this trilemma wouldn’t arise in that form.

    So you’d think under your system there would be an even greater of divergence of opinion within the parliament than in my example – say seven parties with distinct, mutually incompatible policies? It seems to me like that makes my argument stronger.

    The outcome should be either no change or whatever the parties can negotiate.

    As I said, in the lead up to the last election, concerning the actual CPRS:

    The pair of them got their way: Abbott wanted a weaker scheme or none at all, Brown wanted a stronger scheme or none at all, so we were landed with the natural reconciliation of those two views – no scheme at all, and an agreement to keep arguing about the issue.

    You’re in favour of the process leading to this outcome, then?

    Say for the sake of argument the Senate at the time Abbott became leader could be split into about five equally sized factions:

    A) The Greens + parts of Labor Left, in favour of a strong ETS
    B) Most of the ALP, in favour of a moderate ETS
    C) Some of Labor Right + Moderate liberals, in favour of a weak ETS
    D) Liberal right and Nationals, in favour of no ETS
    E) Senators too busy trying to outlaw sex or what have you to really hold an opinion on the manner – Fielding and presumably some others.

    This isn’t actually accurate, but its close enough. It is abundantly clear that A, B, and C taken together were in a majority. But they couldn’t between them come to any compromise on how strong an ETS should be. So are you suggesting the most democratic outcome is for no ETS to be put in place – which reduces to D getting their way, despite “some ETS” being favoured by a clear majority, and “no ETS” being a long way from the logical midpoint view of ? Given the importance action on of climate change, I for one am glad we’re not living in your system.

    Oh, wait.

    If such a parliament refused to endorse any change, why is that a problem? Why is that anything other than precisely what should happen?

    I personally prefer to see parliaments pass legislation from time to time.

    There should only be change if it’s supported by a majority of Australians.

    Really? You actually mean this? So despite your previous protestations, you do in fact support government by referendum – no measure can pass until 51% of the population will vote for it?

    [Regarding fiscal policy] As above.

    Great! California, here we come! I hope any public servants in the audience this don’t mind getting paid in IOUs instead of money.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/18/california-threatens-to-p_n_686952.html

    Oh, no, we’re talking about a Federal government rather than a State one, aren’t we? That’s a relief; no possibility of default after all. Hyperinflation is so much cooler – I mean, we can sell souvenir 10 Trillion Australian Dollar notes to collectors from countries whose economies haven’t collapsed. Huzzah!

    [Regarding Israel/Palestine] They need to persuade a majority of Australians to their view if they want change.

    The analogy in this case was actually supposed to be with the Israeli parliament. Since it rarely delivers governments prepared to even make a pretence of committing to a serious peace plan, I guess the sacred status quo must be preserved. And if you’re a Palestinian living in the West Bank or Gaza… well, you’re just shit out of luck. Until you can get 51% of Israelis to agree to your suggested settlement and have them all not change their minds for the 10 years or so it would take to carry out, you don’t get to have real elections. Or import stuff. Or move freely around your own homeland.

    Maybe if I break it down with an even more extreme example, I can get a concession to the sometimes necessary evils of majority government?

    Say its discovered an asteroid is going to hit Earth in two years time . Freemason Ruler of the World Barack Obama decides, like a good democrat, to hold a global plebiscite in which the three main alternatives scientists have devised as viable solutions are presented to the public for their consideration.

    The options are:

    1) Plant a whole bunch of hydrogens bombs in the core of the rock and blow it to pieces.
    2) Build a whole bunch of underground bunkers for everyone to hide in
    3) Construct a giant spaceship for everyone to evacuate Earth to a recently discovered habitable planet orbiting Alpha Centauri.

    There’s only time and resources to do one of the three.

    It takes 5 months to organise the election. The results come in:

    Nuke the fucking thing: 33%
    Hide underground where we’ll probably starve to death anyway: 33%
    A spaceship – definitely, for sure a very feasible plan: 33%

    Now, according to you Jeremy, is the correct course of action for Supreme Leader Obama to spend another 5 months holding another election? Or just hold up his hands and say “well there’s no 51% majority consensus position to be had – guess the only fair and democratic option is to do nothing?”

  35. uniquerhys

    “Virtue”? “Betrayal of her vows”? Since when did the Australian people get married to Gillard? My wedding invite must have been lost in the mail. SB, you are deliberately using loaded language that has been used historically to belittle women who don’t conform to patriarchal norms. Of course you are using rape metaphors you ugly little troll.

  36. uniquerhys

    babsontask: IOKIYAC – It’s OK If You’re a Conservative. Look that up in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of SB next to it.

  37. Splatterbottom

    Kinda like “Being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry”, eh unique?

  38. narcoticmusing

    Because conservatives are so good at apologising, admitting when they are wrong and keeping promises SB?

  39. Bah – how many lefties referred to Howard as Bush’s “Bitch”? How many lefties complained about the effigy of Howard on hands and knees in front of Bush on a leash? I didn’t see anyone here making a fuss.

    But now that similar “sexual” imagery is used against Gillard she gets the “stop belittling women” defence. What hypocricy . What a betrayal of the concept of female equality.

    If SB wants to use sex metaphors to describe Gillard’s submission to Brown then that’s fine – it’s a free country. Plus, the point he made is valid: Gillard is using the minority government as an excuse for her breaking of an election promise. The only person to so far mount a cogent rebuttal of this is Buns, who has correctly pointed out that Gillard will be as accountable for this act as any other politician would be.

    But if the polls are anything to go by her day of reckoning is coming.

  40. As a leftist in good standing, I’m sorry about the historical treatment of women, refugees, indigenous, gays and lesbians, the environment, etc, and do what I can to improve conditions for them in the future, point out recidivism where I see it, and try to make amends for whatever wrongs I personally may have done in the past. Even if that means going back on ill-thought or obsolete promises I made in the past. What about you SB? What are you sorry about?

  41. jordanrastrick
    i am reminded of a cheesy film i saw last week where the pirates try to elect a king but each one votes for him / herself
    it is amazing how much power one can wield if one is willing to negotiate..
    i daresay your dim view of democracy is more informed by dumb denialists like the abbott than the “lets be bi partisan on absolutely everything” (howard era) labor or “lets negotiate everything” (present day) greens
    in a more balanced democratic system (and without newsmedia backing), abbott’s purely oppositional politics would be seen for the mindless parroting it is.. and ignored like it should be

  42. Splatterbottom

    Unique: “As a leftist in good standing, I’m sorry about the historical treatment of women, refugees, indigenous, gays and lesbians, the environment, etc, and do what I can to improve conditions for them in the future, point out recidivism where I see it, and try to make amends for whatever wrongs I personally may have done in the past.”

    This explains a lot about your sniveling guilt-ridden whining which is so typical of the modern leftist. Having been so tough on their own “wretchedness” lefties move quickly to self-righteous vilification of others who do not share their self-loathing. They beat themselves up that they might feel smugly superior to their fellow citizens. By degrees they come to hate their own civilisation and their fellow citizens who do not share their feeling of collective guilt.

    Their feelings of moral superiority allow them to strut their hubris by taking offence> every opportunity. We have a classic example of that in this thread. Even more ridiculously they feel that their enlightened self-awareness brings with it the magical ability to end poverty, leave no child left behind, bring about world peace and save the planet from an invisible trace gas for the benefit of the unborn billions yet to come.

    “What about you SB? What are you sorry about?

    I am sorry for my own sins of omission and commission. There are enough of those without the need to feel sorry for what others have done. I spend my days trying to be a better person. Every act of kindness is a little bit of love we leave behind.

  43. mondo rock

    Their feelings of moral superiority allow them to strut their hubris by taking offence> every opportunity. We have a classic example of that in this thread.

    I disagree SB. I think that what you saw in this thread was no more sinister than a standard attempt to silence an opposing voice through personal smear.

    It’s like injecting “racism” accusations into a frank discussion of Obama’s performance, or raising “anti-semitism” in the context of criticisms of Israel. They’re trump-cards to be played when things aren’t going your way.

    It’s not a left/right thing: it’s just a cheap and lazy way to claim victory in a debate without actually addressing the points being raised by your opponent.

  44. SB “save the planet from an invisible trace gas for the benefit of the unborn billions yet to come…”

    I’m wondering why you would use the adjective invisible to describe C02. Does this mean if C02 were yellow or some other colour and you could see it you’d support climate change? Or does it mean that if it is invisible it’s actions as a gas are lessened in some way?

  45. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans: “I’m wondering why you would use the adjective invisible to describe C02.”

    To highlight the imbecilic deceptions of morons who portray English power stations belching thick black smoke in their dishonest propaganda.

  46. “We don’t need a parliament of fixed big parties and the occasional local-issue independents, like we have now – we need a parliament of four or five significant but not dominant parties that represent the various main perspectives out in the electorate and can form different alliances depending on the issue.”

    Yes, brilliant idea Jeremy — then we can be just like Italy with its 61 changes of government since 1945….That system’s working so well for their economy.

    Pure genius.

  47. narcoticmusing

    Di-hydrogen Monoxide is also an invisible gas, with a vapour point so low it can cause sever burns at relatively low temperatures, it has a high latent heat capacity and is colourless and odourless in all of its states. It is also a leading cause of death around the world, particularly in its liquid state even at benign temperatures.

    Carbon dioxide however is quite visible when it sublimes from solid to gas; we know this as dry ice and the entire reason we use it is because this visible effect (woo mist woo).

    Sure, spread the particles out enough and you can’t see them, but spread the particles of iron out enough and you can’t see them either…

  48. jordanrastrick

    The internet swallowed my first response. Lets try again.

    Bah – how many lefties referred to Howard as Bush’s “Bitch”?

    I never did.

    How many lefties complained about the effigy of Howard on hands and knees in front of Bush on a leash? I didn’t see anyone here making a fuss.

    I wasn’t “here” at the time in order to make a fuss. While I’ll admit to being more partisan and a Howard basher in those days, I was always strongly opposed to this kind of bullcrap. I probably didn’t do as much as I could to criticise it – although I never really had any direct contact with the kinds of people who employed this rhetoric.

    But now that similar “sexual” imagery is used against Gillard she gets the “stop belittling women” defence. What hypocricy . What a betrayal of the concept of female equality.

    If people are not consistent in criticising such imagery, of course that makes them hypocritical, but it doesn’t make wrong.

    Its true that fringe elements of both sides of politics are guilty of this stuff. But it seems to have more mainstream acceptability, at the moment at least, amongst the right. Crean, Beazely, and Latham never to my knowledge appeared at one of the Socialist Alliance rallies where there were effigies of Bush or highly derogatory signs about Howard. Abbott not only did so, he consistently refuses to distance himself even one inch from the language, which he could do perfectly easily without detracting from his anti-carbon arguments. And this stance lends legitimacy to all the actual nutjobs who really do have a twisted attitude towards Gillard because of her gender.

    If Labor are still any good at this negativity business themselves, they will run really heavily on this point in the next campaign. Not just the images sign itself – “the off the cuff moment” – but the subsequent scripted “gospel truth”: Its important we don’t get too precious about these things. It will, hopefully, destroy Abbott’s support amongst women, as it should.

    If SB wants to use sex metaphors to describe Gillard’s submission to Brown then that’s fine – it’s a free country.

    Like pretty much everyone defending any sort of douchebaggery on the internet ever, you are conflating two very distinct questions – whether SB has a right to free speech, which of course he does, with whether it is reasonable, polite, productive, decent, tasteful or intelligent for him to make the remarks.

    I support the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to hold their “God Hates Fags and Loves Dead Soldiers” rallies. But I don’t support the rallies. In fact I find the message disgusting and am certainly not going to self-censor my disgust in the name of preserving their right to free speech, because I understand what free speech actually means.

    Plus, the point he made is valid: Gillard is using the minority government as an excuse for her breaking of an election promise. The only person to so far mount a cogent rebuttal of this is Buns, who has correctly pointed out that Gillard will be as accountable for this act as any other politician would be.

    I haven’t tried to rebut this point because I more or less agree that this is a serious problem with minority governments generally, which I would have thought was obvious from everything I’ve written here (and is consistent with what I’ve said on other threads).

    Its perfectly possible to be correct and rude at the same time, or for that matter civil and wrong.

    I disagree SB. I think that what you saw in this thread was no more sinister than a standard attempt to silence an opposing voice through personal smear.

    There’s nothing personal about it whatsoever, and its not a smear. SB thinks its funny to constantly make the exact same allusions to misogynistic violent rhetoric. I think its stupid. I don’t think SB is a particularly misogynistic or bad person, and I haven’t said that he is. I don’t think his intentions are especially awful. I just think he should show more judgement and maturity in what he writes from time time to time, just as he has attacked things I’ve written in the past as “stupid”/”arrogant” etc without imputing them to my general character.

    It’s like injecting “racism” accusations into a frank discussion of Obama’s performance, or raising “anti-semitism” in the context of criticisms of Israel. They’re trump-cards to be played when things aren’t going your way. It’s not a left/right thing: it’s just a cheap and lazy way to claim victory in a debate without actually addressing the points being raised by your opponent.

    In light of the fact I was objecting to the tone of SB’s rhetoric whilst agreeing with the substance of his point, if this is directed at me, it makes no sense.

    Sometimes, attacks on Obama really are racist, attacks on Israel really are anti-semetic (I’m sure SB would agree with this one at lest), and attacks on Gillard really are misogynistic. Often they’re not, and people without a real argument fall back on these as objections.

    Their feelings of moral superiority allow them to strut their hubris by taking offence> every opportunity.

    I rarely take offence. You provide plenty of opportunity, SB – you set out to be offensive to a left wing audience, because it amuses you to do so. But largely I take what you write in perfectly good humour, recognising that it is largely tounge-in-cheek.

    However your consistent and serious defence of Abbott over “Bob Brown’s Bitch” is a pissweak copout, and I view your ongoing attempts to milk the line for pointscoring in that context.

    I’m wondering why you would use the adjective invisible to describe C02.

    “Trace” is equally spurious. He uses the terms because deep down there’s apparently not much more substance to his views on the topic than the talking points of the scientifically illiterate; they may be meaningless but they are at least easy to memorise.

  49. uniquerhys

    “This explains a lot about your sniveling guilt-ridden whining which is so typical of the modern leftist.”

    What you call “sniveling” and “whining”, sane people call “compassion” and “empathy”. Jesus called – he’d like to remind you that compassion and empathy are not sins.

  50. SB what difference would it make if it was an English power station belching thick black smoke or a power station in the Latrobe valley belching thick black smoke?

    Your argument is ad hominem.

    To highlight the imbecilic deceptions of morons who portray English power stations belching thick black smoke in their dishonest propaganda

  51. “Yes, brilliant idea Jeremy — then we can be just like Italy with its 61 changes of government since 1945….That system’s working so well for their economy.”

    Yeah, we’d become Italy. Italy’s problems were all due to their smaller parties. And since the abandonment of PR, it’s been a vast improvement – hooray for the thoroughly corrupt and pretty much undeniably criminal Berluscocracy!

    By the way, what’s wrong with changes of government? “Government” is just a majority voting together – why should it be the same majority on all issues?

  52. “By the way, what’s wrong with changes of government? “Government” is just a majority voting together – why should it be the same majority on all issues?”

    Nothing wrong with changes of government Jeremy — but not every 15 months or so on average.

    How much do you think would be achieved in that environment and how much does it cost to hold an election ?

    If we had many minor parties forming govt as you suggest, there’s every chance that our political system would become as unstable and corrupt as Italy’s, if no-one can achieve anything without getting other parties onside, the possibility of corruption is increased as pork-barrelling to ‘buy’ support would become the norm.

  53. Gavinm “…the possibility of corruption is increased as pork-barrelling to ‘buy’ support would become the norm.”

    Is not pork barrelling and corruption of our political system through buying support already the norm? Isn’t it made worse by the two party system? I mean Abbott’s opposition to plain cigarette packaging illustrates this in all it’s nakedness. This stuff is usually hidden away from the prying eyes of the public by a corrupt two party system both of whom are on the payrolls of big business and a compliant media.

    And doesn’t the inclusion of a smaller party such as the Greens reduce the effect of pork barrelling by big business considerably? An example of this could be seen with the Greens knocking back the earlier ETS system in the senate, an ETS system that had become corrupted, meaningless and a waste of space by the pork barrelling that you described.

  54. jordanrastrick

    While Italy’s electoral system has changed under Berlusconi, it is still apparently proportional.

    “Government” is just a majority voting together – why should it be the same majority on all issues?

    Because, as I keep pointing out but you keep studiously avoiding, issues are interconnected. Parliaments can and do easily support a “cut tax” measure, followed by a “raise spending” measure, and then a “balance the budget” measure. The three taken together are logically incoherent, but that doesn’t stop distinct coalitions of 51% voting for each of them separately. What is the parliament’s “true democractic will” in this case? It doesn’t have one. There is no correct answer.

    There is, in fact, no mapping from individual preferences to a coherent collective preference that isn’t flawed in at least some well-defined mathematical way. Its a famous result.

    What this means is any democratic system is going inescapably to be somewhat irrational. Its a question of how much irrationality you’re willing to tolerate. Party discipline here is strict, and generally the willingness of minor parties and independents to compromise with the majors high, because our politicians understand that the Australian electorate has a low tolerance for Italian style politics. If a Parliament is dysfunctional, it gets decisively altered at the next election.

  55. mondo rock

    Hi Jordan

    Before I address the points you’ve raised I just want to offer some genuine feedback that is not intended to be nasty or provocative but as an honest piece of criticism: your posts are often too long to read. Obviously you are free to ignore me as you wish, but I often skip your posts due to their excessive length since I am at work and don’t have the time to read so many words.

    Others may disagree, but I just wanted to raise this as my experience – for what it’s worth.

    As for the substance of your post, well ok – if others here want to be offended by SB’s relatively mild language and focus on that instead of what he’s actually arguing then that’s their right. It’s a transparent red-herring, and I would hope that SB ignores it totally and continues to write with style and personality, but they’re free to waste their time if they wish.

    I won’t be joining you though: to me it is a cheap, hollow and illusory moral victory. SB does the same thing when we discuss Israel, so I don’t dispute that he deserves it thrown back in his face, but the Chinese do have a saying about two Wongs . . . .

  56. jordanrastrick

    Is not pork barrelling and corruption of our political system through buying support already the norm? Isn’t it made worse by the two party system? I mean Abbott’s opposition to plain cigarette packaging illustrates this in all it’s nakedness. This stuff is usually hidden away from the prying eyes of the public by a corrupt two party system both of whom are on the payrolls of big business and a compliant media.

    Australia is consistently found by international studies to be one of the least corrupt nations in the World.

    Special interests have disproportional influence in every political system invented so far. We’re remarkably well off with respect to how relatively little we are affected by this, although in absolute terms of course there’s always lots of room for improvement.

    And doesn’t the inclusion of a smaller party such as the Greens reduce the effect of pork barrelling by big business considerably? An example of this could be seen with the Greens knocking back the earlier ETS system in the senate, an ETS system that had become corrupted, meaningless and a waste of space by the pork barrelling that you described.

    The Greens aren’t fans of big business, so they do act as somewhat of a balance against the excessive influence of big business on politics. However they can and do support poor policies that favour those special interests that are part of their own constituency – in NSW for instance, on OH&S laws or the solar panel scheme (state ALP equally guilty on those fronts.)

    As a general rule, small parties are not a cure for corruption, whether hard or “soft”. There are no strong reasons to believe they should be, and no solid empirical evidence indicating they are – in fact it seems the contrary could be the case, although there are many confounding factors in trying to make cross-country comparisons.

  57. Splatterbottom

    Unique, the feeling “compassion” and “empathy” behind the left’s ultimate wet dream the communist states is a species of evil. In fact it is neither compassion nor empathy. Rather it is the sin of pride – “look at me, I’m here to better your pathetic little life! I’m a leftist hero!” In fact the best ideas of leftists inevitably end up with poverty misery and death. Communism has killed more people than any other ideology in history. Look where “compassion” and “empathy” got the aborigines. Instead of being integrated into society and offered the benfits of a modern lifestyle they were sentenced to a dysfunctional stone-age existence in the desert. This hasn’t helped them much, but it sure made the intelligentsia of the time feel very very good about their “compassion” and “empathy”.

    “Sorry” is an irrelevant term when it comes to the actions of others. It is not a matter of being “sorry” that pathetic leftists fell over themselves to support the Soviet empire even as it was in the midst of its murderous reign. They should be reviled for being fuck-witted turds (Lee Rhiannon are you listening?). The really compassionate thing to do is to learn from this and apply extreme skepticism to any idea put forward by a leftist.

    The way to a better world is personal. It is when each person lives their life in a better way. Trying to create a better world through better social structures and is fraught with danger. Charging a bureaucracy with ensuring distributive justice is a sure route to disaster. Inevitably commissars will syphon away the benefits, which in any case will be greatly reduced. The outcome is certain – poverty misery and death for the ordinary folk at the expense of the ideologically pure. Such are the dreams of bestial leftists.

  58. You’re right Gordicans, pork-barrelling here is pretty much the norm, even in our system, which as jordan says is far more disciplined than the Italian one, but I reckon if we suddenly had governments having to negotiate with a number of parties, we would see them buying support to pass legislation on a much larger scale than now, if only because you would have opposing parties trying to buy that support as well, with the promise of pay-off when they come to power.

    We saw a taste of that with the independents here.

    Italy’s system is a shining example of exactly why there shouldn’t be a large number of parties sharing power.

  59. “Australia is consistently found by international studies to be one of the least corrupt nations in the World.”

    Depends on how corruption is defined. I’m sure this is correct if it were measured on brown paper bags with cash being handed to politicians before business can be conducted.

    But I’m sure that for example BHP and Gina Rinehart etc. threatening to bring down a government via very deep pockets and a big advertizing campaign just before an election doesn’t fall under the definition of corruption used by the international studies you refer to. These actions however are just as insidious and corrupt the political process just as much as brown paper bags do. Donations to political parties also would not fall under the standard definitions of corruption but are just as corrosive. My contention is that smaller parties and independents have the potential to reduce this effect.

    By the way Jordanrastruck, I can recommend (if you didn’t hear it) an excellent interview on last nights Radio National’s Late Night Live on a topic we discussed a couple of weeks ago re. memes and genetics. It’s exciting new research in this area that has Dawkins etc. in a lather.

  60. jordanrastrick

    Before I address the points you’ve raised I just want to offer some genuine feedback that is not intended to be nasty or provocative but as an honest piece of criticism: your posts are often too long to read.

    Its true, I tend to go on at too much length, especially as I will reply to a lot of different points at once (not helped by the fact that about half my posts get held up in moderation). Cutting down on overall “word count per argument” would require taking the time and effort to edit properly and probably isn’t going to happen. But I can certainly afford to break different responses into separate comments, and reduce the number of points I reply to so I’m more focused on the ones I really care about .

    Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

    if others here want to be offended by SB’s relatively mild language and focus on that instead of what he’s actually arguing then that’s their right.

    As I’ve pointed out before, I not long ago spent the bulk of a 150 comment thread trying to seriously engage SB’s position on climate change with a minimum of name calling. I think I’m one of the people most willling to consistently engage with the substance of what he says.

    But the point about “BBB” crossing the line of acceptability, and its effect on the tone of discourse, is a real one. It makes for a different context than when SB is just spewing generic insults about the stupidity of lefties. If he chooses to keep referencing it, its worth noting, for the record, that he’s being a dick. It doesn’t mean I plan to make a habit of writing an essay about his choice of words every time he makes a comment.

  61. I enjoy reading SB’s use of language and his his adherence to dogma. I’m confused however about his argument that because carbon dioxide is invisible this somehow has an affect on the science of climate change.

    Gavinm, some interesting thoughts: “…we would see them buying support to pass legislation on a much larger scale than now, if only because you would have opposing parties trying to buy that support as well, with the promise of pay-off when they come to power. We saw a taste of that with the independents here.”

    Sure, the independents sold their support to the government, but this is for the great benefit of their electorates. It is in no way comparable to business pork barelling which generally is not in the public interest. For example John Anderson (ex Nats leader) representing an energy company and donating to government to effect decisions to sink coal seam gas fraking mines through the pristin Gloucester Tops in NSW. This clearly is a corruption of the political process against the public interest, and much of public policy is run in this country is run in this manner and against the public interest.

    “Italy’s system is a shining example of exactly why there shouldn’t be a large number of parties sharing power.” There are other examples in Europe that have had minority governments running very successfully for many years. Equally, these could be used as an example of why there should be a large number of parties sharing power. Perhaps the defincies of the Italian parliament is due to other factors.

  62. Splatterbottom

    Jordan, I usually have some point to make, but sometimes I am so frustrated I resort to colourful language to express it. In the case of my recent comments to unique, the really interesting point is about individual responsibility. I think there is a real right/left divide on this issue, although i don’t know where you would stand on it. You, as you appear to be somewhat of a technocrat, probably don’t mind a bit of social engineering. I think that the real change should happen at the individual level.

    When it comes to colourful language I try to be equal opportunity about it. Gillard shouldn’t get a pass. After all she will go down in history as the girl who rat-fucked Rudd while he was too busy worrying about the Chinese.

    Gordicans, I answered your invisibility point in an earlier comment.

  63. jordanrastrick

    Sure, the independents sold their support to the government, but this is for the great benefit of their electorates. It is in no way comparable to business pork barelling which generally is not in the public interest.

    Its completely comparable. Pork barrelling in local electorates is not in the overall public interest; its in the interest of the residents of that particular area. They are just as much a special interest group as any business; any policy which gives them an inequitable share of taxpayer resources is to the overall detriment of society, as much as a tax concession of the same size for a big business.

    There are other examples in Europe that have had minority governments running very successfully for many years. Equally, these could be used as an example of why there should be a large number of parties sharing power. Perhaps the defincies of the Italian parliament is due to other factors.

    Germany springs to mind as the most successful, and:

    A) Many years = since 1949. That’s a while, but it falls well short in comparison to the length of functional democracy in Australia let alone the U.S., Britain, or France.

    B) Their parliament in fact uses a hybird system, called MMR. Half the members are straight single member electorate local MPs, elected what’s more by First Past the Post. The other half of the seats are constituted in a way that the house is roughly proportional overall. Since they have only one house of parliament, the effect is actually quite similar to Australia – some local membership and some proportionality.

    I’ve always kind of liked the German system; however it has the purely political disadvantage of being hard to explain and hence to get approval for in a referendum.

    Its worth noting the system is dominated by two parties, the CDU and the SDP (respectively centre left and centre right.) Coalition “minority” governments are naturally common, but one of those two parties always forms a dominant bloc within the government. Since 1990, according to Wikipedia, only five parties have managed to have members elected. This is substantially fewer than Australia, where we’ve had in the Federal parliament over that timeframe representatives from (off the top of my head) the ALP, Liberal Party, National Party, Greens, Democrats, DLP, Families First, and One Nation.

  64. jordanrastrick

    You, as you appear to be somewhat of a technocrat, probably don’t mind a bit of social engineering. I think that the real change should happen at the individual level.

    I’m proudly a technocrat who firmly believes “social engineering” is a lot harder than most people assume, and will tend to have harmful unintended consequences unless done with extreme care. Note for instance my recent objections to Jeremy’s plan to mandate book voucher trust funds.

    When it comes to colourful language I try to be equal opportunity about it. Gillard shouldn’t get a pass. After all she will go down in history as the girl who rat-fucked Rudd while he was too busy worrying about the Chinese.

    I never said she should. And saying she rat-fucked Rudd is accurate, actually somewhat original and humorous, and hasn’t been repeated all over the internet by thousands of spiteful people who have demonstrably pathological attitudes towards women (which are validated when someone as important as the Opposition Leader allows himself to be associated with them.)

  65. mondo rock

    Thanks for the considered response Jordan.

    I can see now that you attempted to engage SB’s points in addition to objecting to hie ‘misogynist’ language.

    Others did not, but you did.

  66. ” Communism has killed more people than any other ideology in history.”

    Ahhhh! Another throw away line by the SB. You really should premise your unmitigated twaddle with a rider like , In my opinion, I think, possibly. just maybe, or I have just pulled that un-founded, with out empirical evidence, not a skerrick of truth, a scintilla of logic statement out of my arse for effect. But you have to say that don’t you SB? We don’t want comparisons made with your idealogical murderers now do we?

    Communism has been around for what maybe a hundred years? Please SB don’t let your paranoid hatred of a system that has never been tried muddle that righteous right wingnut brain you claim is better to analyse, the sh#t from the clay.

  67. Jordanrastruck, perhaps I pork barrelling is the wrong expression. Let me put it another way. The political corruption caused by corporate donations to political parties is on a totally different level to any apparant harm caused by largesse metted out to the voting public within individual electorates. One is appalling and totally distorts governance within this country, and essentially by-passes the voting public’s wishes and interests. In contrast, largesse delivered to marginal seats and seats held by independents usually consists of items such as a new hospital wing, an improved section or road, or a new nursing home, often with benefits flowing to neighbouring electorates.

    You only have to drive through the Hunter Valley the effect of government decision making carried out without consultation to the public, and the corruptive influence of corporate donations to political parties. It is inarguable that independents and smaller parties tend to act more for the will of the people than to the will of large corporations.

    The other aspect to all of this of course is that corporate donations to political parties should be banned pronto.

  68. Splatterbottom

    Lynot: “You really should premise your unmitigated twaddle with a rider like , In my opinion, I think, possibly.”

    Obviously if I make an assertion it is my opinion and it is what I think. In this case though, it is also the undisputed truth. It takes a lot to kill a hundred million people or so, and it took the purest form of leftism to do it, but there you have it. And your only reply is a shit-eyed version of the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy.

    The good thing is that since the 90s we have seen a decline in number of craven intellectuals kowtowing to the god that failed. Sadly, we still have leftists among us but most of them have realised that this purest form of leftism is, in fact, pure evil. These days there is less support for revolutionary action. Instead we are witnessing the death of freedom by a thousand cuts, administered by a million guilt-ridden elitists. The destination is still the same but the route is a little more convoluted.

    Marx failed to understand human nature, failed to understand history and was deeply in love with his own inadequate intellect. As Keynes said Marx’s ideas belong in the sewer of economics. Compare the evils inflicted on humanity by Marx and his disciples with the achievements of the American Founding Fathers. They learned the lessons of history, they understood human nature well enough to disperse power and they produced an exceptional country.

    Communism is truly the road to serfdom. Ask the welfare underclass. Choose freedom instead.

  69. SB Gordicans, I answered your invisibility point in an earlier comment.

    My apologies SB, I missed it, I’ll scroll up and find….oh, here it is. In answer to my question as to why you would use the adjective ‘invisible’ to describe C02 and whether or not C02 being invisible is in any way relevent to climate science you answer:

    To highlight the imbecilic deceptions of morons who portray English power stations belching thick black smoke in their dishonest propaganda.

    Uhhmmm, so because the power stations are belching out black smoke they are not belching out C02? Or do UK power stations belch out C02 and ours don’t? Or are you saying that the whole idea of C02 some sort of weird left wing conspiracy?

  70. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans: “Uhhmmm, so because the power stations are belching out black smoke they are not belching out C02? Or do UK power stations belch out C02 and ours don’t? Or are you saying that the whole idea of C02 some sort of weird left wing conspiracy?”

    Even you should be able to understand the point, Gordicans. The use of scary pictures of power stations belching out carbon particles in this campaign is dishonest. Those power stations have been closed down. They have nothing to do with a carbon dioxide tax. They may have been relevant if we were discussing an actual carbon tax (that is a tax on the emission of carbon) but we are not.

    The fact that you are so easily deceived by this childish propaganda is worrying but hardly surprising.

  71. SB it is you yourself who is using propoganda and a childish argument (oooh wooooh, C02 is invisible! those damn leftist). Even worse you resort to the straw man argument that the photo of a power station in the UK is used in an add. Who on earth gives a flying toss where the photo was taken, or if the power station was decommissioned. It’s an add for godsakes. Your bitterness and hatred of the left has blinded you so much you’ve become a weird Don Quixote dellusionalist.

  72. “Obviously if I make an assertion it is my opinion and it is what I think. In this case though, it is also the undisputed truth. ”

    Wrong on both counts. Your whole debating M.O. leaves no in doubt you think you are right about everything, and your opinions/assertions if you want to call them that, are indeed just that, and like mine, nothing else. There is no proof what so ever, nada, that communism is responsible for most deaths in the world of the ideological numbers game. Marx didn’t fail at anything, his belief system has/had nothing to do with the homicidal murderers you keep referring to in history. Stalin /Mao etc.

    The fact is, and this is a fact. The number of people killed in the name of political ideology be it left/right/ middle of the road or what ever, runs into the millions upon millions. Your assertion that communists have killed more or for that matter less, than other extreme ideologies is complete and utter balderdash.

    As for Keynes please give me a break. As for the exceptional country called
    the U.S. -they’re bankrupt and are yesterdays news. As for the welfare underclass, well who caused that, I wonder?

  73. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans it is misleading and deceptive conduct, pure and simple. This is obviously not a problem for the willingly led astray such as yourself. I know you certainly couldn’t “a flying toss”. You are happy with any deception so long as you get your favoured outcome. Kinda like a lot of climate “science” itself.

  74. Splatterbottom

    Lynot: ” As for the welfare underclass, well who caused that, I wonder?”

    Bleeding heart lefties of course. The sad thing is that they believed they were helping.

  75. Gordicans it is misleading and deceptive conduct, pure and simple.

    I’m interested, SB. Tell me honestly, if it was a photograph of a powerstation in the Latrobe Valley would it still be misleading and deceptive conduct?

  76. The fact is, and this is a fact. The number of people killed in the name of political ideology be it left/right/ middle of the road or what ever, runs into the millions upon millions. Your assertion that communists have killed more or for that matter less, than other extreme ideologies is complete and utter balderdash.

    So so much agree with this. Count up how many people the Americans have killed since WWII.

    And that another two of our brave soldiers have been killed simply because we sold our world’s best light infrantry as mercinaries simply so that c***t Howard could feed his own pathetic self importance and ego and go for a fly on airforce one and big note himself at a barby at and suck some of the presidents red plonk at the Ranch? It just sickens me. The grief of those soldiers families is too sad for words. And for what? He is beyond contempt and not worth an ounce of any one of the 25 year old brave guys who have been killed for no reason.

  77. Catching up

    We must not forget, that millions have died under the Nazi’s, Right wing dictators as well as communism. Many have dies in the middle east under regimes that are not communistic in any way.

    I do not think that Marx or his teachings are to blame for the deaths.

  78. “Bleeding heart lefties of course. The sad thing is that they believed they were helping.”

    I see your muddled attempt at historical fact is only exceeded by your sense of humour. Unlike a lot who comment here SB, I know when you are/or must be trying to take the piss. I mean no f$%k@! can really expect even the most gullible dolt, to believe your nice flowery bullsh^& stories.

    You should try and go to the notorious Sandpit where you can compete with a group of bullsh&% artists, who will give you some keen competition.They like your good self, actually do believe their own rhetoric. I am on to you.

  79. “And that another two of our brave soldiers have been killed simply because we sold our world’s best light infantry as mercenaries simply so that c***t Howard could feed his own pathetic self importance ”

    Indeed, In bloody deed. The war in Afghanistan like Vietnam will take lots of our children, and in the end for nothing. Our governments will leave the blood of our children on the waste of Afghanistan, like Iraq and Vietnam before it. Sad and as usual, it will be mostly the sons and daughters of people who by now, should know better. This aided and abetted by a toady compliant media, that not only promotes those wars but the leaders who carry on the fine tradition of sophistry to justify them.

  80. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans, “carbon pollution” is black particulate like soot. If the concern is carbon dioxide, why not say so? Why crap on about “carbon pollution” and show ugly pictures of black smoke? The fact is that modern power stations like Latrobe valley produce white steam, not black soot. So yes, a more accurate advert would be to show a picture of Latrobe with a big cross through it.

  81. Bloodthirsty Lefty Fallacy strikes again!!!

  82. lynot, don’t go too heavy on SB, he’s sensitive and good guy and keeps us honest via his own tilting at windmills and who hasn’t got windmills? We are richer for his presence because he is kind and friendly and cuddely and hates us and everything we stand for. It’s a blessing. Usually the sort of hatred for a particular tribe he expouses to the left is the same hatred his parents expressed to him…it’s not a cognetive thing. Shame he doesn’t understand science or it would be more fun.

  83. Splaterbottom, coal burning power stations spew out C02 which is a greenhouse gas. Which bit of that don’t you understand, or are you completely thick?

  84. “lynot, don’t go too heavy on SB, he’s sensitive and good guy and keeps us honest via his own tilting at windmills and who hasn’t got windmills?”

    The whole debate started with the “Failed experiment” of a minority government and as per usual, has been high jacked into the left versus right bun fight. A bit of revisionist history of an ideology long past, and a sprinkling of pure bollocks to steer the debate away from the fact this is about Abbott’s holy grail, the lodge.

    I hate it when people wax lyrical about the bleeding obvious, and then have the unmitigated gall to deny their own ideological skeletons. I have actually had debates with right wingers who actually are convinced Hitler was a socialist.The jury is in, global warming exists and is man made, what the deniers think matters not a jot. It is now in the hands of the scientists where it should have started and remained. This is far tooooo important for the layman to decide.

    I despair.

  85. I hate it when people wax lyrical about the bleeding obvious, and then have the unmitigated gall to deny their own ideological skeletons.

    quite right (or correct). Usually when someone is expressing an extreme right wing view like SB or an extreme left wing view it is something to do with their childhood, indoctrination and tribalism. Discussions about important topics such as climate change should be devoid of left/right and I’m amazed that left/right even enters into a topic of such importance and species extinction (not that the right has ever cared about species extinction).

  86. and I should add the left doesn’t care much about species extinction either. Even our kind host Jeremy expresses as much in an earlier posts in this thread when he comments:

    Not really – I’d prefer to vote for a progressive party that wasn’t obsessed with the environment.

    For the life of me I don’t understand how one can be obsessed with the environment too much. Not unless your horizon has never extended beyond bitumen and a shopping mall.

  87. Catching up

    According to Mr, Pyne, the Coalition save the government and the PM from embarrassment when they moved a confidence motion in the Speaker yesterday.

    Mr. Pyne and Mr. Abbott added that someone had to lead.

    Mr. Pyne forgot to add. that just before Mr. Baldwin was named, the Opposition Leader was also named. It was a very noisy session with the speakers warnings being ignored, especially by the Opposition.

    When Mr. Baldwin was named, the usual procedure took place with the government whip demanding he leaves the house for 24 hours. As usual the Opposition voted against this motion, leading to the Speaker threatening to resign.

    I do not believe that the Speaker will agree with the Opposition assessment of the situation.

    At the most, the Opposition fixed a situation which they caused in the first place. Good on them.

    I believe that the Opposition and Mr. Oakeshott should be thanking the PM that they are not looking at the government being able to lead in their own right.

    “So when the second most important thing happened yesterday, my heart skipped a beat.
    Harry’s near resignation was barely uttered out of his mouth when Tony Abbott quickly realised his error and stood up to pass a motion of confidence.
    I sat fixated. You see, if Harry was to go, and if the ALP was able to install Slipper in to replace Harry, then parliament moves from 72 – 72 to 74-71. And that is without the independents.
    So it was no surprise to see Harry getting support for Abbott. Mind you here is the man that has been trying to say the current government is unworkable and we should be heading to an election: here he is and he is basically given a parliamentary crisis which he could have played on, and he declines to take the offer.
    Mind you if indeed a Coalition MP became the new speaker, Abbott would have less numbers when he needs to call a division. Not that any of his MPs turn up for those it seems.
    So Abbott when faced with Harry’s game of chicken, chickened out.
    Lets get this straight. Harry could have EASILY ousted Baldwin for one hour if he wished to. He chose to go for the 24. There was no problem in a previous session when Pyne I believe was named for 24 hours as that was on the last sitting day. But on a Tuesday, there was no way Abbott wanted to lose a vote.
    I had all things running in my mind. When Mr Abbott rose to offer confidence, I was expecting Harry to say.
    ‘So you trust me? You have 100% confidence in me? Is that what you are saying Mr Abbott? Good. I name the member of Paterson again’
    But he did not. Not this time anyway. Abbott now needs to control the level of rowdiness or this will come to a head again and Harry may just decide it is not worth his while to be there if the opposition refuse to acknowledge him and us watching and listening with respect due.”

    http://ashghebranious.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/minority-government-my-arse/

  88. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans: “Count up how many people the Americans have killed since WWII.”

    Whatever it is it is not close to 100m. Same applies to your assertions, CU. Hitler wasn’t even close.

    “And that another two of our brave soldiers have been killed simply because we sold our world’s best light infrantry as mercinaries simply so that c***t Howard could feed his own pathetic self importance and ego and go for a fly on airforce one and big note himself at a barby at and suck some of the presidents red plonk at the Ranch?”

    Strange as it may seem to you, alliances are in the strategic interests of the parties thereto. The soldiers died serving their country – a concept leftists don’t get. If their country is a Western democracy the instinctively despise it because Western democracies are wicked colonialists and the root of all evil.

    “Splaterbottom, coal burning power stations spew out C02 which is a greenhouse gas.”

    My point is that they don’t spew black sooty carbon like the one in the advert.

    Also my views aren’t “extreme right wing”, which would rather be supporting some fascist form of government. In fact I support individual liberty, representative government and the rule of law.

    Lynot: “The war in Afghanistan like Vietnam will take lots of our children, and in the end for nothing.”

    The Vietnam war ended badly because the Western forces were stabbed in the back by leftists. The people of Vietnam have paid the price – 35 years of murderous leftist tyranny. I hope you are proud of that. Or does being leftist really mean you never have to say you’re sorry.

    “The jury is in, global warming exists and is man made”

    The jury hasn’t seen the evidence yet. The “scientists” won’t release it because they are scared they might be proved wrong.

  89. SB if Truman had supported Ho Chi Mihn in 1945 when he asked for support for an independent Vietnam, protected from both the Chinese and the French by the US then neither Vietnam War would have happened, and alot of pain would have been spared for everyone involved.

  90. In fact I support individual liberty, representative government and the rule of law.

    Except in the case of anyone accused of terrorism, where youre strictly authoritarian and really couldn’t give a toss about the law. You’re happy for anything whatsoever to be done, whether legal or not, provided it is done by the USA in the name of fighting terrorism.

    The Vietnam war ended badly because the Western forces were stabbed in the back by leftists. The people of Vietnam have paid the price – 35 years of murderous leftist tyranny. I hope you are proud of that. Or does being leftist really mean you never have to say you’re sorry.

    Are you sorry about the one million Vietnamese that died? Sure doesn’t sound like it. Seems like you wanted the war to go on. One million dead not enough for you, huh? How about you ask the Vietnamese people themselves. I think you’ll find they don’t share your views. You probably don’t give a shit about that, right?

  91. Splatterbottom

    Jules you are right about that. Unfortunately the US did not want to cross the French.

    Buns, the Vietnamese people I know wanted to fight for their freedom. After the war their families were slaughtered by the new leftist regime. The great Australian racist lefty Whitlam left the refugees to drown on the high seas:

    “I will not have those fucking yellow Balts with their religious and political prejudices against us.”

    Truly Whitlam is the cunt of ages.

  92. mondo rock

    Honestly, this whole Rightard obsession with whether CO2 is visible or not is the biggest load of shit-headery I’ve seen.

    There was a recent ad that depicted Carbon Pollution (which obviously can refer to excessive CO2 output) as black baloons coming out of appliances. I’m sure you all saw it.

    Where were the pinhead brigade back then? Why weren’t Timmy and Andy squealing about lies and propoganda – after all, the ad deceptively made it appear that carbon pollution came in black baloons?

    The answer is that everyone obviously understood that the baloons were a representation of carbon pollution – they were not meant to be a literal depiction of it. Yet the fucktards are out there now screaming “government propoganda” like hysterical chickens just because a Carbon Tax ad dared to show smoke coming out of a chimney stack.

    Oh my God. What a bunch of utter, utter dickheads.

    SB – you should be ashamed of yourself for joining this pathetic little meme.

  93. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, I don’t like propaganda much at all, but dishonest propaganda, like the ad in question and the use of the term “carbon pollution”, is loathsome. Also, you know I have been correctly identifying the proposed tax as carbon dioxide tax as such since it was first discussed here. (That was back when some people seriously posited that it wasn’t a tax!)

  94. All propaganda is dishonest tho, on some level.

    Right now the bullshit is so thick you can’t see thru it.

  95. mondo rock

    So now, in addition to the utterly indefensible use of stock photos in a television commercial, it’s also “loathsome propoganda” to use the phrase carbon pollution as shorthand for carbon dioxide pollution is it SB?

    Well obviously. I mean, if people realised it was really CO2 pollution we were seeking to combat, instead of carbon pollution, it would make an enormous difference to public support for the proposed tax. What a game changer that would be.

    I think it’s time for a bex and a good lie down mate. You really shouldn’t let Australia’s far-right opinionistas suck you into such a transparent pile of bullcrap.

  96. Splatterbottom

    “Carbon pollution” already has a specific and well known meaning as illustrated in the picture of the decommissioned Battersea power station in the adverts. I don’t apologise for preferring accuracy over spin. What’s your excuse?

  97. mondo rock

    “Carbon pollution” already has a specific and well known meaning as illustrated in the picture of the decommissioned Battersea power station in the adverts.

    That’s just complete and utter bullshit SB.

    The term ‘carbon pollution’ doesn’t have a “specific and well known meaning” outside of Global Warming, and claiming otherwise just highlights how empty your criticisms really are. Before AGW appeared the public had never heard of “carbon pollution”, there was just “pollution”.

    I’d be surprised if you could find even one reference to carbon pollution in mainstream literature where the author was not talking about CO2 pollution. Doesn’t it concern you that you need to invent transparent crap in order to sustain this idiotic line of attack?

    I’m no fan of the carbon tax either, but focusing on completely pointless semantics and hysterically beating them up as “government propoganda and lies!!” is a particularly inspid way to attack it.

  98. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, this point is tax per se, but about the ridiculous spin around it. In the 60s carbon pollution was a big issue, and due to well-founded public concern, measure were taken to drastically reduce carbon pollution. That is a totally unrelated issue to the current problem.

    It is beyond stupid to use a picture of a big scary smoke-belching power station that was closed long ago to deal with an issue entirely unrelated to climate change. It is hardly surprising that a misleading and misdirected scare campaign backfired. Carbon Cate was an added bonus in all of this. No doubt her reputation will be enhanced in the ethereal elitist circles she inhabits. For the rest of the country she has become a punch line.

  99. narcoticmusing

    My point is that they don’t spew black sooty carbon like the one in the advert.

    So now anything invisible is automatically harmless? And any attempt to represent it and/or to help us detect or understand it – a lie, it is a fallacy?

    Hmm… I suppose you think LPG has a rotten egg smell because it is harmful. It is colourless, odourless and harmful. We often represent it with squwiggly lines, but that is of course us just lying – there is no gas there because you can’t see it. Or maybe is is all just magic.

    ALL power stations (indeed anything that uses combustion of fossil fuels) will expel CO2, CO (carbon monoxide – also invisible and thus on the invisible = harmless logic it too must also be harmless) AND pure C (just a basic by-product of incomplete combustion) – note that whenever you see a yellow flame (eg a lighter, a candle, etc) you are rigging the combustion equation in favour of incomplete combustion and thus, if you had enough of them, you too would get that black smoke look – but lets not let that interfere with our sensationalism of something that was used simply to represent combustion of hydrocarbons! :)

  100. mondo rock

    It is beyond stupid to use a picture of a big scary smoke-belching power station that was closed long ago to deal with an issue entirely unrelated to climate change.

    Using an image of a polluting power-station in an advertising campaigning for action to mitigate the impact of pollution from power stations is beyond stupid eh? OK SB, whatever you say.

    I actually agree that using incredibly wealthy actors to back the new tax was stupid, and symptomatic of a broader malaise afflicting the pro-carbon tax crowd.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that the “the ad is full of lies!!!” meme is pathetic.

  101. “The Vietnam war ended badly because the Western forces were stabbed in the back by leftists. The people of Vietnam have paid the price – 35 years of murderous leftist tyranny. I hope you are proud of that. Or does being leftist really mean you never have to say you’re sorry.”

    Bollocks! The west involved itself in a nationalist war, communism had five fifths of Fanny Adams to do with it. Pictures of children dieing under clouds of napalm bombs may have just have has something to do with the end of the war, not moaning leftists. Saying it ended bad for the west is/ has the equivalence of running out of Zyclon B at Dachau for the Germans/Nazi’s. I remember the Walter Cronkite reports, you do not. That is obvious, you know nothing of the Vietnam conflict. Confine your comments to Hansel and Gretal you real area of expertise.

    Global warming is a reality. It will soon be undeniable and the wingnuts will look like the Philistines they are.

  102. Catching up

    I have just realise that we have a new definition of what is a lie.

    A lie is anything we do not agree with.

  103. Catching up

    “It is beyond stupid to use a picture of a big scary smoke-belching power station that was closed long ago to deal with an issue entirely unrelated to climate change. ”

    Really, I think it was meant to be a picture of a power house. It was not named or needed to be.

    Last century USA and Europe rid their land of acid rain which was destroying their forests.

    We stopped the hole in the ozone by banning what was used in refrigeration and pressure cans. The hole is beginning to decrease.

    What is different from what we are doing now.

    Man does have influence on what occurs on this world. There is little that we do that does not cause changes in nature.

    It is ridiculous that cannot change anything.

    What will be true, if we do not act quickly, it will be too late for us to bring about change. The harm we do will last hundreds of year.

    As being a clear gas that cannot see, I remind you we cannot see
    or feel oxygen, but if it is not in the air, we will die.

  104. Catching Up, this so called hole in the ozone layer is in fact just a thinner area of ozone. Its not really a hole at all!

    Anyone who mentions the “hole” in the ozone layer is a liar and an alarmist, involved in a dishonest and orchestrated scare campaign.

    Oh no, the sky has a hole in it! Run chicken little, run! ;)

    In any case, and whatever you call it, the thinning of the ozone layer was part of a natural cycle caused by solar flares and a rare planetary alignment, which man cannot possibly effect.

  105. jordanrastrick

    FWIW, I agree in part with SB – the imagery of smoke-belching coal plants is dishonest in the context of a debate on the Australian energy sector, on a par with the use of terms like of “trace”, “invisible”, “odourless”, “essential to life”, etc to describe C02 practiced by the other side.

    “Carbon pollution”, on the other hand, is fine. I don’t think it conflates particulate emissions with c02 in any one’s minds except those who are determined to dream up the presence of propaganda. “Carbon dioxide pollution” is unwieldy; I also think the word “carbon” gained currency to be slighly more encompassing and acknowledge that Methane (CH4) is also a significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas.

    Anyway, before this thread was derailed into Yet Another Slanging Match Over Climate Change, when I was still waiting for Jeremy to mount a more serious defence of his views on the electoral system…..

  106. narcoticmusing

    Surely “wealthy actors” (millionaires) have as much of a right to comment on the carbon tax as wealthly mining magnates (billionaires). It is not lies to use an image to represent combustion of fosil fuels in a completely visual medium that shows what combustion really looks like (yes, combustion does do that). What is misrepresentative would be to pretend/claim that because you can’t see anything coming out, it is harmless or insignificant. Indeed it is what you can’t see that is FAR more harmful than what you can see.

    Duncan, if you honestly believe that CFCs had no impact on the ozone concentrations in the atmosphere then you have been misinformed. To be overly simplistic, ozone survives as an unstable molecule (O3), constantly striving to disassoiate into the more stable O2. CFCs act as a catalyst and create a chain reaction favouring the dissociation that O3 already leans towards. It is very basic (first year) chemistry. I concede solar flares played a part, but only in exacerbating this very easily demonstratable chemcial reaction and easily measurable/detectable CFC levels (thank you gas spectrometry) in that part of the atmosphere (unlike some very dodge reports that suggested the CFCs didn’t get to there, but the evidence they used was simply ‘cos’).

  107. narcoticmusing

    I would also suggest that a ‘thinning’ in the ozone lzyer or a ‘hole’ in the ozone layer is symantics – you speak as if it is some solid barrier in the first place – the issue was the effectiveness of the filter. If I have a jumper (ie things eg heat/air already pass through it but some is trapped which keeps you warm) and I then wear a section of it down so you can see through it vs cutting a hole it in – is there much difference? The effect is more heat than intended gets out and you get cold.

  108. “Duncan, if you honestly believe that CFCs had no impact on the ozone concentrations in the atmosphere then you have been misinformed.”

    Uh…..I thought it was pretty obvious that i was taking the piss, NM.

  109. narcoticmusing

    My apologies Duncan, it wasn’t obvious to me, but then I am yet to have my morning coffee. Something I ought to remedy.

    /tiphat

  110. Surely “wealthy actors” (millionaires) have as much of a right to comment on the carbon tax as wealthly mining magnates (billionaires).

    They have a ‘right’ narc – nobody questions that – it’s just that when you’re trying to convince ordinary Australians to take a hit to the hip pocket in order to save the environment I don’t think it’s tactically wise to use wealthy actors to do so.

  111. Unfortunately without something to signify the satirical intent, these days its often difficult to tell the difference between an extreme political or social idea and a parody of it

  112. Catching up

    “Oh no, the sky has a hole in it! Run chicken little, run”

    Hole or thinning, it let more heat from the sun through, leading to an increase in sun cancer.

    The measures taken has led to a reversal of the situation. I believe it was a surprise that the matter has turned around so quickly.

    Arguments get very flimsy when one has to ditch all science and data to support arguments.

    As time goes on some things we believe are found to be untrue or on the wrong track. (eg. the cause of stomach ulcers). That is why scientist keep reviewing and retesting.

    This is not the same as ditching all science. After thirty or more years, 90 odd percent of the world scientist are are still coming up with the same answer.

    A scientist make their reputations by discovering something new. Do you not believe that this is what drives them more than money.

    I am sure there is enought matters for scientist’s to research without making things up.

  113. “ordinary Australians to take a hit to the hip pocket in order to save the environment I don’t think it’s tactically wise to use wealthy actors to do so.”

    Except the Govt has stated time and time again that the poor and middle class will be compensated Garnaut has recommended this as well. Who will be taking a hit to the hip pocket? People who’ve invested in coal I’d imagine, people that the Liberals have to protect? Think I’m being unfair? Well our new Liberal govt in Victoria have delayed the closure of Hazelwood (the filthiest coal burning power station in the OECD) and given the go ahead for a new coal fired power station to be built in Vic..

    Seems to me that this anti-carbon tax campaign being spearheaded by the Liberal/National coalition is just like the anti Resource Super tax spearheaded by the Lib/Nats and the richest people in the country.

  114. duncan1978

    No worries NM. I reckon there should be a special font to indicate parody.

    “Unfortunately without something to signify the satirical intent, these days its often difficult to tell the difference between an extreme political or social idea and a parody of it”

    Too true jules, look at SB for example. Sometimes i suspect he is really a lefty who just likes revving people up!

  115. Yeah me too (sometimes) Duncan.

  116. mondo rock

    Seems to me that this anti-carbon tax campaign being spearheaded by the Liberal/National coalition is just like the anti Resource Super tax spearheaded by the Lib/Nats and the richest people in the country.

    I think that’s a pretty fair observation Rob.

    But I also think my point still stands. Even if the Carbon Tax won’t hit the hip pocket of the average Australian there is a perception out there that it will.

    As such I think using Blanchett to push it was bad strategy.

    And that’s to say nothing of the hypocricy of someone with a personal carbon footprint 20 times bigger than the ordinary Australian lecturing us about the need to make sacrifices to save the environment.

  117. narcoticmusing

    Jules you nailed it. Duncan’s parady was a little too good…

  118. uniquerhys

    Poe’s law strikes again. Extremism is indistinguishable from parodies of extremism – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

    I’ve sometimes thought that SB is a parody, perhaps even Jeremy’s sock puppet parodying right-wing nuttery. But SB is too consistent – the mask never slips. I think he’s more likely to be Peter Phelps, who for some reason was able to get an SB-style smear job published on ABC’s The Drum today: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2742686.html

  119. Catching up

    “And that’s to say nothing of the hypocrisy of someone with a personal carbon footprint 20 times bigger than the ordinary Australian lecturing us about the need to make sacrifices to save the environment”

    Mondo, are you sure of that. I suggest you do some research before making such statements. This lady has spent years in supporting the environment and made her home as environmentally friendly as possible. Yes, she has to fly to do her job.

    Where ever possible she has installed renewal energy and water saving devices.

    Her footprint could be smaller than yours.

    Even some wealthy people are capable of doing the right thing, especially those who come from a poor background.

  120. I think he’s more likely to be Peter Phelps, who for some reason was able to get an SB-style smear job published on ABC’s The Drum today: http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2742686.html

    Holy moly. That’s some paranoid shit right there.

  121. Phelpsy, I mean. Not uniquerhys.

  122. “And that’s to say nothing of the hypocricy of someone with a personal carbon footprint 20 times bigger than the ordinary Australian lecturing us about the need to make sacrifices to save the environment.”

    I wonder what her carbon footprint is compared to other multi-millionaires? My carbon footprint is massive compared an Indian in India and I wouldn’t mind betting smaller than a comparable Australian.

    ” there is a perception out there that it will.”

    Yeah, there’s that, helped along by trollumnist and other stretchers of the truth, Gillard really needs to put more effort into selling her tax, currently Abbott is winning (I think) but that will change I reckon, it’s only a matter of time before Abbott is found out (I hope).

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s