They get that the next election’s two years away, right?

The cynical playing to stupidity in this new Liberal Party TV advertisement is somewhat depressing:

But the waste of money this campaign represents is also amusing, since no matter how much Liberal supporters refuse to accept the results of the last one, the next election is still two years away.

Apparently the Liberals are desperate to capitalise for as long as they can on the poor polling the ALP is enduring while it gets the details for the carbon pricing policy sorted out, in the hope that by the time the legislation is enacted and people find out how ridiculous the Coalition’s scaremongering really was, it’ll be too late.

They’re going to have to keep this up for two years, though – and their lies are going to look increasingly silly as reality catches up with them in the meantime. And I don’t share the Liberals’ contempt for the Australian voters, their confidence that we’ll refuse to update our fearful views even when the evidence to the contrary is right before us.

(I hope Labor’s keeping a good record of the Coalition’s present bullshit that it can compare devastatingly against the reality in 2013.)

Or maybe they’re trying to prompt Labor into doing something utterly stupid, like turfing another leader mid-term. As if Labor really could be dumb enough to follow the advice of its enemies… again.

UPDATE: Oh, I see – Abbott does think he can somehow get us to vote now, on the scare campaign, before we even get the detail of the government’s plan:

Mr Abbott will lodge a bill to force the government to a plebiscite on the carbon tax in a move which, if successful, could force Julia Gillard to junk the tax or go to the polls to seek a mandate.

Because of course once the carbon price is in, he’ll be forced to try to scare people about a very non-scary reality. Much easier to kill it now, while voters are fearful of a plan they’ve not yet seen, but that they have been told by the most powerful media organisation in the country WILL DESTROY US ALL.

PS I don’t recall Tony supporting a plebiscite on WorkChoices before the Liberals passed that legislation.

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176 responses to “They get that the next election’s two years away, right?

  1. monkeytypist

    Without wanting to get too focused on a process story, this is a clever step by the libs. This is the classic example of a campaign that relies on “free media” exposure – given its content, the “callback” nature, etc. the press love to cover the ad, which means they are repeating the libs’ key messages to a much wider audience. It’ll get played heaps on TV news, without the Libs having to pay for ad space.

    It’s the sort of thing that may well lodge in voters’ heads and shape their memories/perceptions when it does come time to an election.

  2. “It’s the sort of thing that may well lodge in voters’ heads and shape their memories/perceptions when it does come time to an election.”

    Yeah but it does depend what else happens ion the meantime. I’d agree its worth it on balance cos of the extra value it’ll get at the moment.

  3. “It’ll get played heaps on TV news, without the Libs having to pay for ad space.”

    Do you think it’ll last that long? It’s nothing more than a few childish insults. Can it really have that much staying power?

  4. narcoticmusing

    I heard it even got some airtime on a leftist blog, can you imagine? 😉

  5. Somehow I doubt that it won them any votes.

  6. 10 more days until the balance of power in the Senate changes hands and the climate deniers are toast. Desperation … smells like lemon.

  7. monkeytypist

    “Do you think it’ll last that long? It’s nothing more than a few childish insults. Can it really have that much staying power?”

    No not really – but nothing in political news coverage has much staying power, if you’re not an avid politics watcher. It’s more sort of a “create a memory exercise” – around election time, when the libs start running the same lines again, people will say “oh I think I remember hearing something about that. That was bad”.

    I’m not saying it definitely will make a huge splash – it could disappear without notice. But think how much it would have cost to produce the ad compared to the amount of media discussion about it and views/listens that it’s generated. I’d say it’d most likely be a good return on the libs’ minimal investment.

    And as for the childishness – the simplicity is a strength for the ad. It’s asking people “remember how you felt when” – these memories persist much more strongly than memories about a particular thing. Most of the time you remember your reaction to strong words better than you remember the words themselves.

  8. jordanrastrick

    But think how much it would have cost to produce the ad compared to the amount of media discussion about it and views/listens that it’s generated.

    This is the key point. An attack ad like this run two years out from an election would normally be a huge waste of money. But I think every nightly news outlet ran this as a headline, in fact some of them used it as the first story?

    The multiplier effect on the Coalition’s investment from all this pissweak ‘reporting’ is very large. Quite a savvy play by whoever thought it up.

  9. Splatterbottom

    The plebiscite is a great idea. This is precisely the situation where democracy demands it. Gillard is now doing what she promised not to do immediately before the election. She is doing it notwithstanding that a large majority of the population don’t want it. The Greens don’t give a toss about democracy. They are intent on shoveling their radical leftist shit down voters’ throats and are perfectly happy to stamp their totalitarian jackboots on the peoples’ faces by participating in this rape of democratic principle.

  10. Paul Howes’ bets his house on Gillard taking ‘us’ (for a ride) to the next election. How can he be so sure? One has to question where these people’s loyalties actually lie and I’d bet my house on it, (if I had one) that it lies with Washington, who don’t care who is in government here, just as long as it’s someone who would never ever suggest anything as outrageous as a RSPT. (resource super profits tax)

    Gillard’s polling is going south and if it continues at its current rate of plummet will be about 2% in two years time. But powerbrokers within the ALP will never give the Ruddster a chance because his threatened reforms give Washington the complete jitters. They would rather see Abbott as PM, indeed MUCH rather see Abbott.

    Personally, to the likes of Howes, Arbib, etc, whether the ALP are in power or not, matters not a jot, they only care if Washington likes, approves of them and bestows them with much largesse. Aside from it being treasonable, it’s simply pathetic.

  11. SB
    The plebiscite is a great idea. This is precisely the situation where democracy demands it …(cut for length)…totalitarian jackboots…(cut for length)… rape of democratic principle.

    by which he means…
    “It’s not autocratic or dictatorial when conservatives do it!”

    BTW – what is it with conservatives and having long hard things shoved down their throats?

  12. Splatterbottom

    Lykurgus: “by which he means…
    “It’s not autocratic or dictatorial when conservatives do it!””

    How on earth is a plebiscite “autocratic or dictatorial”?

  13. $70 million for an Abbott plebiscite? Bring on the carbon tax and get on with it.

  14. $70 million for an Abbott plebiscite? Bring on the carbon tax and get on with it.

  15. They’re going to have to keep this up for two years, though – and their lies are going to look increasingly silly as reality catches up with them in the meantime.

    I don’t share your confidence that the carbon tax will be such an easy pill to swallow when it is ultimately implemented Lefty. Creating a brand new bureaucracy to tinker with the free-market price mechanism is a risky move that could have potentially disastrous consequences.

    At the very least Labor needs to get this policy in place in the next couple of months coz if you think a scheme like this will have the kinks worked out in less than 2 years you’re dreaming.

  16. The plebiscite is just another Abbott stunt to keep the carbon issue on the boil. As was the visit to Nauru to keep the immigration debate on the boil.

    When you’re a policy free zone all you have are stunts. And having the Liberal public relations machine – otherwise known News Limited – in your corner does his political stunts no harm either.

  17. jordanrastrick

    I don’t share your confidence that the carbon tax will be such an easy pill to swallow when it is ultimately implemented Lefty.

    It all depends on how the compensation is designed. If, as with the previous CPRS, low-to-middle income households actually end up as net beneficiaries for the earliest several years of the scheme, I expect it to have a fair chance at popular supprt. Especially if the compensation comes in the form of “here’s a big noticeable cheque that says Carbon Tax Rebate on it”, given the costs are not likely to be directly noticeable.

    If they’re really smart, they will also use Infrastructure funding to make up for state level underinvestment in power grids, which is driving a lot of the current price rises in electricity that people might otherwise tend to mistakenly associate with the carbon tax.

    It would be somewhat politically cynical of the government to do it this way, but they’d be mad not to.

    Oh, and btw wordpress continues to suck donkey balls. An editor that is hugely bugged in in IE7? Massive fail.

  18. “The plebiscite is a great idea.”

    Borrowing a comment I saw on the ABC comments section … Yes, I fondly remember when the people were able to express their displeasure during the plebiscites on WorkChoices, the GST, and the War in Iraq. All extremely unpopular at the time. Massive demonstrations in the streets against them in some cases. Hypocrite.

    We elect a representative parliament so that we DON’T have to fly back to the polls every other week to decide on this or that policy.

    “They are intent on shoveling their radical leftist shit down voters’ throats and are perfectly happy to stamp their totalitarian jackboots on the peoples’ faces by participating in this rape of democratic principle.”

    Blow it out your ear troll. That’s hilarious coming from a right-wing nut. Read some history. You guys INVENTED totalitarian jackboots!

    10 more days and Abbot is toothless. I take 2.5 months in the pool for when he’s rolled. Any other takers?

  19. Splatterbottom

    Unique: “We elect a representative parliament so that we DON’T have to fly back to the polls every other week to decide on this or that policy.”

    True enough, at least as far as the counter-examples you gave. The difference here (and there is a difference no matter what you read in the ABC comments section – that place where where the blind lead the ignorant down the path of stupidity) is that Gillard cynically lied to the voters immediately before the election. She is now doing what she explicitly promised not to do.

    You might also want to consider the history of the 20th century when talking of jackboots. They were mainly on the feet of communist thugs and their allies as they murdered a hundred million people. Those who support Western democracies will of course be reviled as fascists by the left precisely because the left hates democracy. That is why they are so sanguine about debauching it now.

    If you had any integrity at all you would decry this outrage instead of joining in with the cavalcade of cunts slavering at the prospect of Green hegemony. My tip is that the ALP/Green alliance will legislate its program, the Coalition will win the next election, the Greens will block their legislation in the Senate, a double dissolution will be called and the Greens will go the way of the Democrats. The stinking Green turd, now so pungent in the bowl will be flushed into the sewer of history.

  20. Only 10 more days to go? It will be fun. I wonder how the loons at Murdoch will react once a Greens dominated senate begins its work? They’ll go bezerk.

    I give Abbott a lot more than 2.5 months simply because the only obvious successor hasn’t any support in the party, plus there’s a lot of similar minded right wing loons, climate deniers and nutty Xians in positions of influence in the LNP. He’ll lead them to the next election is my bet.

  21. Gillard cynically lied to the voters immediately before the election.

    Rubbish. If she believed it at the time she said it then it is not a lie.

  22. cavalcade of cunts… The stinking Green turd, now so pungent in the bowl..

    Why the irrational expressions of hatred SB? Bullied when a child were you? Unlucky in love?

  23. jordanrastrick

    is that Gillard cynically lied to the voters immediately before the election. She is now doing what she explicitly promised not to do.

    Forgive my pedantry, but I think the cynicism came after the election, during the negotiations to form government. I doubt Gillard had any intention of introducing a carbon price this term until it proved necessary to gain the support of the cross benchers. Its worth noting that Bandt would have supported the ALP over the Coalition regardless, and so if anyone is truly forcing the government into a carbon price, it is Windsor, Oakeshott and and Wilkie, not Bob Brown.

    10 more days and Abbot is toothless. I take 2.5 months in the pool for when he’s rolled. Any other takers?

    I also find this highly unlikely, and would willingly bet against it, especially as I’d then consider myself a winner in either case.

    Do you actually want to place a bet, uniquerhys? Any particular terms in mind?

    My tip is that the ALP/Green alliance will legislate its program, the Coalition will win the next election, the Greens will block their legislation in the Senate, a double dissolution will be called and the Greens will go the way of the Democrats.

    Interesting prediction, certainly not implausible. Do you really think all the compensation from the Carbon Scheme will be so unpopular with voters that they’ll give the Coalition a majority in both houses at a DD?

  24. “If you had any integrity at all you would decry this outrage instead of joining in with the cavalcade of cunts slavering at the prospect of Green hegemony.”

    Since I voted for the Greens I for one welcome our new hegemonic overlords. What outrage? That Gillard back-flipped on an idiotic pre-election promise and is now more in line with the position I and many other ex-Labor voters wanted her to take on climate change? The horror! More outrages like this please!

    “My tip is that the ALP/Green alliance will legislate its program, the Coalition will win the next election, the Greens will block their legislation in the Senate, a double dissolution will be called …”

    Good luck with that. The Coalition will have to force the double dissolution by deliberately offering the same legislation twice for rejection, knowing full well that it will be rejected the second time. That is, the Coalition, not the Greens, will be seen as responsible for forcing us back to the polls because they refused to deal with the democratically elected members of the Senate.

    It’s interesting that you criticize “the left” for hating democracy, while advocating a policy where the Coalition would deliberately force a crisis because they don’t get their own way when they stamp their little foot. “Our way or we keep having elections until we get our way”. Very democratic – NOT!

  25. “Do you actually want to place a bet, uniquerhys? Any particular terms in mind?”

    I wasn’t suggesting actual money. More like “Bob Winz Teh Internetz!” or something equivalent for a day’s worth of bragging rights. 🙂

  26. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans: ” If she believed it at the time she said it then it is not a lie.”

    At the very least I don’t think her heart was in it. It was a carefully parsed statement designed to appeal to a particular demographic. Swan made the same statement at about the same time. Looks more like co-ordinated spin than any sincerely held belief. Such is the nature of politics these days.

    At best she made the promise caring more about winning a few votes than about keeping it. When push came to shove she ditched it. Gillard also promised a national debate but when the politics of the moment impinged she ditched that promise as well and we got a dirty backroom deal instead.

    If she was sincere she would have recoiled in horror at the prospect of breaking a promise on such an important issue so soon after the election. She wasn’t. she was just a cynical spin-driven politician.

    Jordan: “Do you really think all the compensation from the Carbon Scheme will be so unpopular with voters that they’ll give the Coalition a majority in both houses at a DD?”

    If the payments precede the pain there will be some resistance to rolling back the changes. The new tax is more to do with redistribution than any real impact on climate. We are seeing now in Greece and Spain how addicted people get to welfare and how unwilling they are to make the necessary changes even as their respective economies go down the drain.

  27. “If you had any integrity at all you would decry this outrage instead of joining in with the cavalcade of cunts slavering at the prospect of Green hegemony.”

    Um, why? It’s about time that the 12% of us who voted Greens at the last election had 12% of the power in this country.

    (Fortunately for us, unlike you Labor/Liberal voters, our representatives have a very specific policy perspective and don’t try to cover so many positions at once that it’s impossible to determine what, if any, mandate they have from their voters.)

    “At best she made the promise caring more about winning a few votes than about keeping it. When push came to shove she ditched it.”

    Oh those “non-core promises”. If only we had the principled Liberals in government. They’d never do such a thing – well, except for so flagrantly they had to invent the term.

  28. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “It’s about time that the 12% of us who voted Greens at the last election had 12% of the power in this country.”

    At the moment the Greens have, through their agreement with the ALP, a share in 100% of the power. The Coalition has 0%. I’m sure your heart bleeds for them.

    “unlike you Labor/Liberal voters, our representatives have a very specific policy perspective and don’t try to cover so many positions at once”

    Although Bob does have some trouble remembering what he said in 2007.

    “Oh those “non-core promises”

    What kind of argument is this? It was wrong then and it is wrong now. But of course Greens won’t criticise it now because they are happy to get their policies implemented by any means necessary. It’s not about democracy for them, only power. Just ask Clive “suspend democracy” Hamilton.

  29. One of the reasons that I don’t comment here as much as I used to is that I can’t abide by SB’s hatred anymore.

    I’m not a softy.
    I’m not a precious little petal who wilts at the nearest criticism.
    Though I question myself everyday, I’m not the kind of fellow who needs to hear the siren song of the echo chamber to know that my positions are correct.

    I enjoy debate, though I despise partisan talking points being used as a substitute for same.
    I enjoy a new perspective, as long as that perspective isn’t presented as an article of faith.
    Finally, I celebrate the times that I’ve been proved wrong because they’re the times when real learning has taken place.

    Having said all of the above, the last few months of contributions from SB have acted as the perfect prophylactic against contributing to this forum.

    I’m a little bit tired of my political perspective being compared to Nazism, genocide, ignorance and a lack of idependant thought.

    I know you’re a clever fellow SB.
    I acknowedge, and congratulate, how you are willing to change your position when compelling arguments are presented (the Guantanomo issue comes to mind).
    I also acknowledge, and admire, how principled you are with your positions.

    A few people over the years, and recently, have painted you as an arch-conservative.
    I know that’s not true.
    I know that you despise John Howard and consider Bob Brown to be the “most principled politician in Australia”.

    I have a good idea what you stand for and, though I may disagree with some of your positions, I don’t feel compelled to call you and ignorant, group-thinking, mass-murdering Nazi.
    Do you think you could do the same for me and those that think like me?

    Trust me. I’ve been on this planet long enough to know that my beliefs are not motivated by ignorance, group-think, genocide or Nazism.

    You might find it confronting, but you’d better learn to accept it.

  30. The usual spittle flecked fulminations from SB.

    Despite the hairpslitting on “lies”, Labor’s policy coming ino the election was a price on carbon via a market mechanism.

    All the ranting is about the mechanism being altered with the exact same outcome in mind.

  31. I agree, Marek. SB, the relentless abuse of the people who hold differing opinions to you is getting… Well, worse than unpleasant: tedious. Boring. It’s one Godwin after another at the moment. Vigorous debate is great, but I am going to ask you to rein in the constant insults and childish comparisons of every view with which you disagree with psychotic murderers.

    At the moment the Greens have, through their agreement with the ALP, a share in 100% of the power. The Coalition has 0%. I’m sure your heart bleeds for them.

    No, the Coalition has forty something percent of the power. It could vote with Labor just as easily as the Greens can. Or it could vote with the Greens. If it’s determined to sit in it’s minority corner and work with no-one, well, that’s its choice. But it’s not undemocratic.

    What kind of argument is this? It was wrong then and it is wrong now. But of course Greens won’t criticise it now because they are happy to get their policies implemented by any means necessary. It’s not about democracy for them, only power. Just ask Clive “suspend democracy” Hamilton.

    It’s not the Greens who tried to pitch to a few right-wingers. It’s for those voters who voted labor because they oppose a carbon tax to vote against labor next time.

    If you vote for someone on the basis of a promise and they break that promise, your recourse is the next election. I certainly didn’t get a recount when the Democrats betrayed me and voted for the GST: but i did remember never to vote for them again.

  32. Splatterbottom

    Marek, your comment pains me because i enjoy and respect your comments here. I can’t recall having attacked you, at least in recent years. I don’t know who “those who think like you” are. I suppose you are vaguely of the leftist persuasion although I couldn’t predict your position on any given issue.

    Now, if I get into a slanging match with someone like Unique and try to teach him a little history along the way I don’t mean to insult you at all.

    I still like Bob Brown despite his recent foibles. But sadly old commos like Bandt and Rhiannon are coming to the fore in the Greens and that sickens me in the same way as if ex-Nazis started getting elected as Liberal members of parliament.

    Howard with his non-core promises was rightly reviled for his assault on democracy. The current case is even more egregious, but most of the Howard-bashers have gone quiet now. Some fools openly rejoice in this cynical attack on democracy, like Unique:

    Since I voted for the Greens I for one welcome our new hegemonic overlords. What outrage? That Gillard back-flipped on an idiotic pre-election promise and is now more in line with the position I and many other ex-Labor voters wanted her to take on climate change? The horror! More outrages like this please!

    Funnily enough I think it is seriously anti-democratic to promise something immediately before an election and then do the opposite soon after you get into power. It is even more disturbing when senior Greens like Clive Hamilton are also speculating about the suspension of democracy to get their agenda through. Almost, but not quite, the current circumstances.

    Now, I’ll try to tone things down. I don’t like my chances, but I’ll give it a go. The trouble is that I can’t resist a sharp insult sometimes. And usually it is not unprovoked. If it is the tone of conversation here that disturbs you, maybe you should have addressed your plea for civility more widely.

    If I was having a beer with you or Narcotic, there would probably be no sharp exchanges at all and I do try (I really do) to tone it down when I am directly addressing either of you because I do get that you both prefer that mode of discussion. Maybe when i lash out at the left in general I could use a qualifier like “the unthinking left” to indicate that I don’t mean all of them, just the lunatic fringe?

    If it means anything, and I know this may sound strange, most of my colourful comments are good-natured in intent – just an attempt at a catchy phrase or some shallow alliteration. I’m pretty sure if I was having a beer with Unique we would enjoy the exchange. It would be thought-provoking although quite sharp at times (even shrill), but it is important that people of opposing views debate issues without loathing each other. There is only one commenter in all my years here that I have really loathed – Justaguy who made a “mail-order bride” attack on another commenter’s wife. The rest is all just banter.

  33. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy I responded in kind to this:

    “Blow it out your ear troll. That’s hilarious coming from a right-wing nut. Read some history. You guys INVENTED totalitarian jackboots!”

    yet you act like I’m the one that started it, and don’t even mention that little provocation! Is it just that my colourful comments get more criticism because I don’t toe the line politically? Anyway I will try to tone it down a bit, but part of the fun here is finding the most striking and stark way of putting across a point.

  34. “yet you act like I’m the one that started it, and don’t even mention that little provocation!”

    I wasn’t responding to one incident.

    “But sadly old commos like Bandt and Rhiannon are coming to the fore in the Greens and that sickens me in the same way as if ex-Nazis started getting elected as Liberal members of parliament.”

    Yeah, they’re so genocidal the Greens, so psychotically militaristic, and such brutal oppressors of the weak. JUST LIKE THE NAZIS. Adam Bandt and Lee Rhiannon are always invading other countries and sending people off to be tortured and killed.

    FFS.

  35. jordanrastrick

    Jeremy, there are plenty of people with political sympathy and association with Nazi, neo-Nazi and other fascist groups, who were never directly involved in invasions or genocide.

    Now its one thing for a once-were-Communist (I’ll admit to a phase of it myself in mid high school) to come out and say “we all make misjudgements when we’re young; while I continue to hold progressive values, I certainly renounce ”

    It doesn’t seem to me, though, that Rhiannon, or Bandt for that matter now I’ve taken the time to look into his case, are in a hurry to do that.

  36. but part of the fun here is finding the most striking and stark way of putting across a point.

    I did enjoy the illiteration in cavalcade of cunts, however constant derogatory abuse is not the same as putting across a point in a stark manner or logical argument.

  37. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “Adam Bandt and Lee Rhiannon are always invading other countries and sending people off to be tortured and killed.”

    You are closer to the mark than you think with this. In fact the USSR did invade Czechoslovakia and did send people off to the Gulags. Co-incidentally the SPA did split from the CPA when the CPA had the temerity to criticise that invasion. Rhiannon went with the SPA.

    Bandt thought that the best way to forward his revolutionary Marxist agenda was to infiltrate the Greens and, not surprisingly, a few years later he shows up as a Greens MP.

    And what Jordan said.

  38. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans: “constant derogatory abuse is not the same as putting across a point in a stark manner or logical argument.”

    The abuse is not constant. The majority of points are directed at the issue in hand. And it is rarely unprovoked and usually directed at people who can give as good as they get. As to public figures, they are fair game in the same way that John Howard copped monumental abuse here. The funny thing is nobody complained when I lambasted Howard.

    I think one of the problems is that I am always more likely to criticise the party in power, so since 2007 I say less about the opposition. Rudd and Gillard have just provided so much material to work with that I probably make less attacks on the conservative side these days. Also the Greens have gone further to the left. Once I thought they were a good choice for a protest vote. Now there is not a chance in hell I would vote for them with Rhiannon as there Senate candidate in NSW.

  39. “there are plenty of people with political sympathy and association with Nazi, neo-Nazi and other fascist groups, who were never directly involved in invasions or genocide.”

    There are Nazis who didn’t support the invasion of other countries or the genocide? Or a race-based society? Or the dominance of the strong over the weak?

    To suggest that what Bandt or Rhiannon advocates – ZOMG HUMANE TREATMENT OF REFUGEES! BETTER FUNDING OF PUBLIC HEALTH/EDUCATION! ENCOURAGING RENEWABLE ENERGY! – is in any way comparable is contemptible.

    “It doesn’t seem to me, though, that Rhiannon, or Bandt for that matter now I’ve taken the time to look into his case, are in a hurry to do that.”

    This is such a childish smear by association. Are either of them advocating something disturbing? How about criticising that, instead of asserting that they must have supported every view of an organisation they may or may not have joined in their youth and have obviously long since left?

    “Also the Greens have gone further to the left.”

    In what way, SB? What specific policy positions have they adopted that you feel are so evil?

  40. “You are closer to the mark than you think with this. In fact the USSR did invade Czechoslovakia and did send people off to the Gulags. Co-incidentally the SPA did split from the CPA when the CPA had the temerity to criticise that invasion. Rhiannon went with the SPA. ” – SB

    Dude… every ideology in history has been used by arseholes to screw people over. Every one, even quakerism (IIRC). Calling Brandt on Communist past is no different to supporting the use of drones by Bush, and even more brutally by the O’bomber. If you don’t recognise that Franco was as brutal a bastard as Stalin and both their ideologies came second to their disrespect for human life then you have missed the point.

    Rhiannon was a child when the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia btw, as in she was a minor, not an adult. Thats when her parents became disillusioned with the USSR. I dunno if she needs to renounce her childhood indoctrinations the way Jordan suggests. It appears she objects to gulags and occupations as much as any sane person.

    As for Brandt – he seems like a typical kid of his age with leftist leanings. BFD He was a minor when the USSR collapsed.

    I have friends who escaped Pinochet’s Chile. Cos you like Reagan SB their friends who disappeared … thats on your head. There you are. How fair is that?

    Totally reasonable isn’t it…

    The way I see it there are 2 types of people. Power mad psychos and the rest of us.

    The power mad psychos will use any ideology including the sort of free market “democracy” we enjoy today to further their own ends, the rest of us will do what we can to make the world a better place whatever our preferred ideology. We both live in a culture that is ultimately responsible for the preventable deaths of hundreds of children since I started typing this comment, so hanging shit on leftards cos of Stalin and the Shining Path, or rightards cos of Hilter or the School of the Americas is just stupid and ignorant.

  41. “You are closer to the mark than you think with this. In fact the USSR did invade Czechoslovakia and did send people off to the Gulags.”

    Oh those Russians! And the English invaded Australia and attempted to get rid of its Aboriginal inhabitants. If my Aunty had balls she would have been my uncle.

    We’re off to see the Wizard.

    Brother what bollocks!

  42. jordanrastrick

    There are Nazis who didn’t support the invasion of other countries or the genocide? Or a race-based society? Or the dominance of the strong over the weak?

    I is why I was drawing a contrast between about people beingdirectly involved in these acts rather than merely sympathetic to or associated with the political caues.

    To suggest that what Bandt or Rhiannon advocates – ZOMG HUMANE TREATMENT OF REFUGEES! BETTER FUNDING OF PUBLIC HEALTH/EDUCATION! ENCOURAGING RENEWABLE ENERGY! – is in any way comparable is contemptible.

    Its not what they currently advocate publically that I’m taking issue with, here. Its views that at one time at least they held which they seemingly haven’t repudiated when directly asked.

    This is such a childish smear by association. Are either of them advocating something disturbing? How about criticising that, instead of asserting that they must have supported every view of an organisation they may or may not have joined in their youth and have obviously long since left?

    There’s absolutely no element of “by association” about it.

    There is credible historical evidence that Lee Rhianon directly and personally supported, for instance, the Soviet invasion of Czechslovakia for an extended period of time. Indeed she herself claims to this day as saying that she viewed the revolution against Soviet power as a threat to socialism, although she claims she opposed it nonetheless. Others attribute more extreme and disturbing views to her.

    Likewise Bandt is on the written record in his mid twenties saying that “there is no parliamentary path to socialism”, that the Greens are bourgeois but nonetheless potentially useful , that social democratic views are a dead end, and so forth.

    I don’t doubt they may have changed their mind about these positions over time. Many people do, and you can’t hold the former political views of someone against them forever. But they should state openly that they were wrong instead of giving equivocal, obfuscating answers when quizzed.

    If you don’t recognise that Franco was as brutal a bastard as Stalin and both their ideologies came second to their disrespect for human life then you have missed the point.

    As for Brandt – he seems like a typical kid of his age with leftist leanings. BFD He was a minor when the USSR collapsed

    Growing up in the post-Soviet era makes adopting a socialist ideology opposed to parliamentary democracy less defensible, not more so.

    Thats when her parents became disillusioned with the USSR.

    While I think its likely they always had reservations just as any sane liberal democrat has reservations about any Western power, its nonsense to say they became disillusioned at this point. The whole family, including Lee, sided with the faction that split in favour of the USSR. Lee says in her case this was for other reasons. But it was still a terrible judgement call, especially with the benefit of hindsight she now should be able to make use of to realise her mistake.

    It appears she objects to gulags and occupations as much as any sane person.

    Attempts to replace liberal democracies (for all their faults) with poorly thought out alternatives – based on economic and political ideas that Marx himself, gifted thinker that he was, would no doubt have revised heavily if alive today in light of all the new evidence in the intervening time – is what lead to Gulags. Failure to recognise this is is a serious intellectual problem in a politican.

    The way I see it there are 2 types of people. Power mad psychos and the rest of us.

    Nonsense. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some people are more corruptible than others, but blaming all humanities failings on some mythical “psycho” minority is a total cop out.

    There is no person who could be made an autocratic dictator and not have their moral fibre weakened or broken. This is why sensible poltical system spread power widely, give people the chance to remove governments peacefully, are founded in undogmatic skepticism rather than ideological absolutism, etc.

  43. jordanrastrick

    Forgive all the typos. I blame the horror that is WordPress’ current comment editor.

  44. jordanrastrick

    Take Bandt’s response when questioned about the memo.

    “These comments were made on a student politics email discussion list over 15 years ago. Like many uni students, I was involved in a range of political activities, including the student union at university,” he said. “I have always had progressive views and at uni worked with many young people who identified with the Left side of politics under various labels, including socialists and Labor students.”

    Bzzt. Wrong answer.

    Its a complete copout. He’s trying to make it sounds like its simply the “people he worked with” who might have had some questionable stances, and taking no responsibility at all for his own actual words, which are the issue.

    Is he being quoted absent of context here? I doubt it, but he’s free to publish the full record of what he said, that includes the correct response of “I held views when younger about socialism that I now realise are mistaken, and I firmly believe paliamentary democracy is the best way currently available to puruse the progressive values I have always held.”

    Instead, we get pissweak spin worthy of the worst apparatchiks of the major parties.

  45. Funnily enough I think it is seriously anti-democratic to promise something immediately before an election and then do the opposite soon after you get into power.

    Can I suggest that much of the vitriol directed against SB at the moment is due to the fact that we all understand that his argument is fundamentally correct?

    As a lefty part of me is glad that progressives have siezed the national agenda (to some extent anyway), but lets not pretend that this has been a triumph of democracy. Gillard has implemeted a policy that she explicitly promised not to introduce when campaigning: all the parsing in the world can’t change the fact that she immediately broke a key election promise an in order to achieve power.

    As political commentators we all fall somewhere within the range that exists between systemists (those who profess loyalty to the democratic parliamentary system) and ideologues (those happy to promote their ideological cause regardless of how that is achieved).

    Many here who presented as systemists while Howard was in power have unsurprisingly morphed into ideologues now that they actually have an opportunity to implement their agenda.

    But SB hasn’t. He’s still defending the democratic system and his comments are a painful splinter to those who would rather not admit that they are far less principled in their pursuit of power than they like to think they are.

  46. “There is credible historical evidence that Lee Rhianon directly and personally supported, for instance, the Soviet invasion of Czechslovakia for an extended period of time. Indeed she herself claims to this day as saying that she viewed the revolution against Soviet power as a threat to socialism, although she claims she opposed it nonetheless. Others attribute more extreme and disturbing views to her.”

    “The whole family, including Lee, sided with the faction that split in favour of the USSR. Lee says in her case this was for other reasons. But it was still a terrible judgement call, especially with the benefit of hindsight she now should be able to make use of to realise her mistake.”

    Jordan

    She gives the opposite impression here:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/im-no-watermelon-rhiannon/story-e6frg6nf-1226032286731

    Of course you can provide your credible evidence if you want, but even so, its the words of a minor, parroting their parents political view. It doesn’t count as a valid adult opinion and pretending it does is disingenuous.

    As for the “others” well yeah I agree. She’s in favour of eating babies and sterilising the rich. I thought that was obvious.

    Whats gonna happen in 10 years when every stupid or ignorant or misinterpreted comment any politician has ever made in their life will be on the public record for all to see.

    “Attempts to replace liberal democracies (for all their faults) with poorly thought out alternatives – based on economic and political ideas that Marx himself, gifted thinker that he was, would no doubt have revised heavily if alive today in light of all the new evidence in the intervening time – is what lead to Gulags.”

    WTF are you talking about? The gulags were a Russian/Soviet punishment system. There has never been a liberal democracy in Russia. And when Marx was writing there wasn’t a liberal democracy anywhere. Attempts to replace an Imperial Tsar led to the Gulags, and despite all the flaws of Communist Russia, I think most soviet citizens, including Solzhenitsyn would prefer the USSR to the Tsars that preceded it. Its just that compared to what evolved elsewhere the USSR sucked. Compared to pre-revolutionary Russia most people would say it was a massive improvement.

  47. “Nonsense. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some people are more corruptible than others, but blaming all humanities failings on some mythical “psycho” minority is a total cop out.

    There is no person who could be made an autocratic dictator and not have their moral fibre weakened or broken.”

    Thats bullshit. Well ok , say society was to collapse and the world went a bit Mas Max 2. Then possibly under certain situations I might be inclined to be a dictator. but probably not.

    If you think you have it in you to become an autocratic dictator then perhaps you should do some serious self examination, work out why and make a commitment to moderating your behaviour for the rest of the life so that you never take that path. Of course that will involve continuous self examination and developing the ability to question your own behaviour. Even then you’ll have to develop relationships with people you trust that will enable you to take their criticism to avoid that behaviour.

    Its not easy but its possible.

    “blaming all humanities failings on some mythical “psycho” minority is a total cop out.”

    Thats not what I said or did. Even people who aren’t psycho have a tendency to abuse power, but … if you have a child you have total power or absolute over it. Does that by definition corrupt you? No. Although anyone can be corrupt some people are malicious and lacking in empathy and sympathy. There is a difference.

    BTW Psycho is my own term. Some people are dangerous. Most of the time you’ll recognise that when you deal with them for any length of time. Maybe I should have said “some people are just fuckheads”.

    About Brandt tho… come on. This “infiltrtion by the extreme left” bullshit is just that. It shouldn’t be dignified with a response. Whats he gonna do? Start a revolution? Get real. Barry O’Farrell is more likely to do that when he gets into his version of Scott Walker’s attack on workers.

    If you are gonna question the Greens about their past why not bring up Abbott and Costello’s bizarre love triangle?

  48. This is just silly.

    Assessment of a policy should be based on it’s merits, or otherwise, not on the ancient and irrelevant past history of its proponents.

    Should Abbott’s plebiscite be evaluated through the lens of his student politics bovver boy days?

  49. “Can I suggest that much of the vitriol directed against SB at the moment is due to the fact that we all understand that his argument is fundamentally correct?
    ….Gillard has implemeted a policy that she explicitly promised not to introduce when campaigning: all the parsing in the world can’t change the fact that she immediately broke a key election promise an in order to achieve power.”

    Mondo,

    This is seriously wide of the mark.

    The policy objective was made very clear and that policy objective has remained the same – only the proposed mechanism is changed.

    You can argue from a principled position…..on the semantics of it, which is more of an exercise in hair-splitting.

    What’s the practical difference between a price on carbon through a carbon ‘tax’ versus an ETS? – SFA.

  50. “At the moment the Greens have, through their agreement with the ALP, a share in 100% of the power. “

    So tell me SB, if what you’re saying is correct then how come there are still Australian troops in Afghanistan? You sound like the trollumnists when you spout such absurd lies.

  51. What’s the practical difference between a price on carbon through a carbon ‘tax’ versus an ETS?

    The key difference is that our current Prime Minister promised that her government would not introduce a carbon tax but did not promise the same for an ETS.

    Gadj – are you honest enough to admit that Gillard has broken an election promise?

  52. So tell me SB, if what you’re saying is correct then how come there are still Australian troops in Afghanistan?

    Because SB said that the Greens had a share in 100% of the power – not that the Greens have 100% of the power.

    Perhaps you should learn to read before calling another commenter a liar.

  53. Mondo – yes, I already said so. In principle, based on semantics, you can say she lied.

    But it’s only trivially true.

    The aim was always a price on carbon – that’s the policy objective.

    As I said, the actual difference in outcome – absolutely nothing.

  54. Splatterbottom

    ‘Gadj, if Gillard had delivered as promised during her election campaign – she admitted that she had tried to convince Rudd to drop the ETS, said that the community support wasn’t there yet and promised a year-long citizen’s assembly process of community consultation and that she would only act when the Australian people are ready – we wouldn’t have anything like the current situation. Now we have a clear majority opposing the carbon (dioxide) tax, a backroom deal being thrashed out well away from the prying eyes of ordinary citizens and a PM way to gutless to put the matter to the people. Instead of a citizens assembly we have a wasteful advertising campaign even though we do not even yet know the details of the snake-oil to be sold to us. They are still being hashed out by fanatics and fools in some jiggery-pokery session secluded in the dark recesses of the corridors of power.

    Bobby-Boy the Greens took their share in other ways. Gillard was happy enough to sacrifice her integrity to accommodate them

  55. tasht;gkhadfgjklf

    “Because SB said that the Greens had a share in 100% of the power – not that the Greens have 100% of the power”

    Which means nothing, FACT of the matter is current govt policy and the way it’s tracking suits the coalition far more than it does the Greens:

    Afghanistan
    Asylum Seekers
    Meat Exports
    Compo for the big polluters etc etc.

    What do you think that SB was impllying when he said

    “Greens had a share in 100% of the power”
    ?

    Opinion Polls from News have far more impact on the Govt than the Greens do!

    mmamammsdggfdfilgawerougyu

  56. Gillard was happy enough to sacrifice her integrity to accommodate them”

    I’d argue that she’d be happy to sacrifice her integrity for the top job.. She hasn’t got any left.

  57. jordanrastrick

    She gives the opposite impression here

    That article doesn’t mention that while the CPA formally renounced the Soviet invasion, Lee in fact joined the SPA who in turn splintered from the CPA primarily because they supported the attack on Czechslovakia.

    Her stated reasons for doing so are incredibly unclear. In her own response to the “smear campaign”, she talks about the splits being a “difficult time”. The only actual reason she gives for perferring the pro-USSR faction is that “factor that influenced me to go with the SPA was that the CPA leadership had expelled the whole of the Maritime Branch of their party.” Which, if she really was so opposed to the actions of Stalin, seems like a strange basis on which to make her choice. She says “serious mistakes were made on all sides”, but doesn’t state what those mistakes actually were, or whether any were her own.

    http://leerhiannon.org.au/blog/responding-to-attacks-on-my-family-and-political-background

    My problems with her mistake of joining the SPA would be substantially reduced, if only she would come out and actually call it that. But she won’t go on record; she won’t take responsibilities for past misjudgement.

    even so, its the words of a minor, parroting their parents political view

    Sure. Well, actually, her membership of the SPA continued for a significant part of her adulthood, but I take the gist of your point.

    It doesn’t mean she can’t now admit those views were grave errors. But she won’t.

    WTF are you talking about? The gulags were a Russian/Soviet punishment system.

    Sorry. That was a somewhat garbled and confused statement on my part, partly because there should be an “s” after “lead”.

    I think most soviet citizens, including Solzhenitsyn would prefer the USSR to the Tsars that preceded it.

    Early revolutionary Russia was certainly an improvement over the Tsarist regime. But note that the October Revolution did not replace Tsarism, but rather a provisional Republican government that hadn’t really had time to find its feet. And things got worse pretty quickly under Soviet rule.

    Its certainly very questionable whether Russia on net was better off over the course of the 20th century for the advent of Communism. Its much worse off than Western countries today, but admittedly it came from a weaker starting point. Conversely its worth noting many developing countries that were under under worse autocratic or colonial regimes around 1900, are doing better than Russia as of 2011.

    Stalin’s rule was worse than any of the 19th century czars.

    On balance, I tend to think the October Revolution was massively detrimental to global human welfare, although its hard to be sure as possibly it helped the positive ideas of social democracy and the welfare state gain more traction in non-Communist countries.

    And when Marx was writing there wasn’t a liberal democracy anywhere.

    Which is precisely why I think Mark himself if alive today, with access to the history of the last couple of centuries, might well prefer socialist values pursued within the framework of a liberal parliamentary democracy to revolutionary Communism with its poor track record. As opposed, say, to the 24 year old Adam Bandt.

  58. Splatterbottom

    Bobby-Boy: “What do you think that SB was impllying when he said “Greens had a share in 100% of the power””

    I meant that the Greens have signed on as members of a coalition government, and are in a position as members of the executive branch of that government to get their way on some things by doing trade-offs. They will have to wait until they get power in their own right to fully implement their agenda, which is a blessed relief.

  59. FFS. Did anyone here vote for the ALP on the basis of Gillard saying “no carbon tax” before the election? Anyone?

    No?

    So on what basis do you feel aggrieved?

    “Gillard has implemeted a policy that she explicitly promised not to introduce when campaigning: all the parsing in the world can’t change the fact that she immediately broke a key election promise an in order to achieve power.”

    I don’t think it was key. If it was – like the Democrats’ no GST promise was key to a majority of Democrats supporters – then the ALP is toast at the next election, because those who voted ALP in reliance on that policy will abandon it.

    However, much of the noise, I suspect, is by those who always opposed the ALP and are well aware that a majority of ALP voters did not oppose a carbon price and will probably be quite fine with it once it’s enacted.

    We’ll see when the details of the legislation are announced, I guess.

    It’s hardly a betrayal of democracy, though – we did not have a referendum on a carbon tax, and it’s long been obvious that big parties have too broad a voting base to conclude that any specific policy position has a “mandate” or otherwise.

    PS I note that SB hasn’t provided any examples of these “extreme” policies from the Greens that have moved so far to the left…

  60. Fair enough though in reality I’d suggest that the coalition has more seats and more power than the Greens, yes, they aren’t part of the executive but I’d argue that doesn’t make too much of a difference, they’ve got the Govt running to their tune on the NUMBER ONE BIG ISSUE (in my opinion) that is, what to do with boat people….

  61. Bobby: What do you think that SB was impllying when he said “Greens had a share in 100% of the power”

    He wasn’t implying anything – he was asserting that the Greens are in a position that grants them influence over how Government power is currently exercised. An assertion that, as it happens, is entirely accurate.

    Gadj: In principle, based on semantics, you can say she lied.

    I didn’t say she lied, I said she has broken an election promise: which she clearly has. There are no semantics involved in this clear statement of obvious and indisputable fact.

    There are, however, semantics involved in your attempts to deny it. “Trivially true” indeed . . . . . .

  62. “I didn’t say she lied, I said she has broken an election promise: which she clearly has. ”

    Big Deal, this makes her different to previous PMs by………..?

  63. So on what basis do you feel aggrieved?

    Are you really saying that you don’t have a problem with politicians making election promises that they subsequently abandon as long as your personal voting decision isn’t influenced by them?

    What about the roughly 20 million of the rest of us who may very well have been influenced?

  64. jordanrastrick

    Jules,

    Although anyone can be corrupt some people are malicious and lacking in empathy and sympathy.

    Some people lack regular human empathetic faculties, or at least have them greatly reduced compared to average. If you want to use the clinical term, it used to be “psychopathic”, although that’s no longer considered a rigorous clinical category.

    However, not all psychopaths are evil doers, and vice versa.

    It is well established that most ordinary people will either perpetrate or comply with horrendous injustice and cruelty in the right circumstances. We have strong social and cultural institutions that protect us from those circumstances, but we’re not fundamentally more moral as individuals.

    Nadj,

    This is just silly. Assessment of a policy should be based on it’s merits, or otherwise, not on the ancient and irrelevant past history of its proponents. Should Abbott’s plebiscite be evaluated through the lens of his student politics bovver boy days?

    I won’t speak for SB, but am far closer to the Greens views on Climate Change on than the Liberals, and on several other issues such as Refugee policy for that matter.

    So I consider I am assessing those policies on its merits. However I am assessing the credibility of Lee Rhiannon and Adam Bandt – and only these two, not the Green generically who of course have a variety of backgounds – indepdendently of the policy debate on this thread. I am assessing them amongst other things their refusal to repudiate their past history, which is not at all irrelevant for that purpose – just as its not irrelevant that I continue to hold Abbott culpable for his refusal to disown the extremism of the “BBB” brigade because he wants to play both sides of that fence.

    People incapable of honestly owning their obvious political mistakes are poorer politicians. In Rhiannon’s case, I genuinely wonder how committed she is to democracy to the extent it is incompatible with socialism, and how much she is just abiding by the party line for pragmatic reasons, as with Labor politicians who oppose Gay Marriage and so forth.

    Mondo – yes, I already said so. In principle, based on semantics, you can say she lied. But it’s only trivially true. The aim was always a price on carbon – that’s the policy objective. As I said, the actual difference in outcome – absolutely nothing.

    The hide of accusing Mondo of playing Semantics. Can you please expound further on the difference between “trivial lies”, “off the cuff non-gospel statements”, and “non-core promises”?

    I don’t think Gillards offence is particularly gregarious in the circumstances. Politicians sometimes say things they shouldn’t; they should be given more latitude by the media and the electorate to say “I’m sorry I said that, I was wrong; I’ve changed my mind because of new facts or new circumstances.”

    But the double standards applied in excusing her while holding Abbott or Howard responsible for similar actions is naked bias, pure and simple.

    I mean I voted 1 ALP in the federal lower house and will almost certainly do so again next election. So I’m not exactly a Liberal or Greens shill determined to be unfair to the PM over this issue.

  65. jordanrastrick

    No? So on what basis do you feel aggrieved?

    I personally don’t feel aggrieved by the change; I prefer the current policy. It doesn’t mean the promise wasn’t broken.

    I don’t think it was key. If it was – like the Democrats’ no GST promise was key to a majority of Democrats supporters – then the ALP is toast at the next election, because those who voted ALP in reliance on that policy will abandon it.

    Currently, according to polls popular support for the carbon tax is very low. The empirical case for your argument that “From Labor voters point of view no carbon tax was a non-core promise” is thus extraordinarily weak.

    It thus seems to be more grounded in “broken promises that I agree with are sometimes excusable, broken promises I disagree with never are.”

  66. mondo
    Gillard has implemeted a policy that she explicitly promised not to introduce when campaigning:

    Colonel Sanders pretends it’s chicken. You pretend it’s chicken. So we all just call it chicken.

    We don’t pay MPs to stay on-message. Nor do we cast our vote by their ability to stay on-message (the existence of Tony Abbott spectacularly proves that). We give our vote to the combination of policies that we think we’re going to get (stated, denied or unspoken).
    Well, that’s what we do if we’re concentrating. The alternative being to tick whatever box our favourite shock-jock tells us to tick.

    If you’re having a go at Gillard for being a politician, I respectfully submit that it’s a waste.

    SB
    …consider the history of the 20th century when talking of jackboots…on the feet of communist thugs … Those who support Western democracies reviled as fascists … left hates democracy…

    ..get their policies implemented by any means necessary…not about democracy for them, only power…

    … which is only autocratic and dictatorial when the left does it… okay… we’re clear on that.

    If you think you’re getting picked on, it’s probably got something to do with your compulsion to write toxic bilge.
    In which your flair for dramatic irony presents as even more oblivious than this guy…

    ‘I would not like to be a Russian leader,’ said Nixon, shaking his head, ‘they never know when they’re being taped.’
    ‘Just make sure you pay your taxes,’ he warned. Otherwise you can get yourself in a lot of trouble.’

    … the net result being that on those occasions that you field an actual argument (and I’ll just take Mondos word for it that this happens), finding it means swimming through oceans of effluent.

    Jordan
    Some people lack regular human empathetic faculties, or at least have them greatly reduced compared to average. If you want to use the clinical term, it used to be “psychopathic”, although that’s no longer considered a rigorous clinical category.

    However, not all psychopaths are evil doers, and vice versa.

    Psychopathy is still considered a condition (my girlfriend’s a psychologist – I know, you’re stunned); with the proviso that diagnoses are made within a spectrum (the names and diagnostic lists are mostly for enabling psychs of different schools to confer); and that psychopaths only present for treatment in jails.

    Depends how you define “evil-doer”. Psychopaths are incapable of being consistently honest, or of behaviour that’s consistently lawful or ethical, or of thinking about others. They give the correct answers to moral or ethical queries though.

  67. “He wasn’t implying anything – he was asserting that the Greens are in a position that grants them influence over how Government power is currently exercised”

    So is every MP. They’ve each got one vote, it’s up to them how they use it.

    The problem is when they have more or fewer votes in parliament than their support in the community at the last election justified – when they got their spot on significantly fewer votes or more votes than others – not when they use that vote in accordance with their voters’ wishes.

    “Are you really saying that you don’t have a problem with politicians making election promises that they subsequently abandon as long as your personal voting decision isn’t influenced by them?”

    Of course I do: if I don’t believe what a politician is telling me I won’t vote for them. The democrats lied to me about the GST and I never voted for them again.

    But it’s completely superfluous – arrogant, even – for us to be telling Labor voters how they should react to Labor’s change of heart on the issue when they didn’t win government in their own right. Make up your own mind. The fact that I don’t trust what Gillard says is one reason I won’t vote Labor.

    But it’s not a reason I’d put them below the Liberals, who I also don’t trust (don’t recall being asked about Workchoices before they brought it in; don’t recall Howard specifying which policies would be “core” or “non core”; do remember Tony saying anything he said that wasn’t written down meant nothing).

    Politicians lying is a significant issue for me, which is why I don’t vote for either of the big parties (one reason, anyway).

    But so’s the undemocratic effect of broad-based parties where you have no idea which part of their platform has the mandate, since they try to cover all sides at once.

    In summary, Gillard’s promise and subsequent revision of it when she didn’t win government in her own right are a matter you should take into account when considering voting for her. Since I didn’t plan on doing that anyway, it doesn’t affect me: what is important is that my representatives, the Greens, push hard for a meaningful carbon reduction policy – one that doesn’t benefit the big polluters – as they promised me they would. If they don’t, then I’ll be reconsidering my vote.

    Ps I want the electoral system to provide a representative parliament, including representatives for those views I oppose. But I don’t feel any obligation to regret someone I oppose doing something I wish they’d do; although I’d agree that their voters deserve, through much more regular elections, the chance to replace them with someone who does represent them properly.

  68. jordanrastrick

    Psychopathy is still considered a condition (my girlfriend’s a psychologist – I know, you’re stunned); with the proviso that diagnoses are made within a spectrum (the names and diagnostic lists are mostly for enabling psychs of different schools to confer); and that psychopaths only present for treatment in jails.

    OK, so how much formal use it ges depends on what country’s diagnostic manual you’re using.

    Its not in the DSM or ICD currently, although it may well be formally reintroduced in the next edition of each, especially since it actually seems to have been a more scientifically robust label than Antisocial Personality Disorder.

    Of course it still has plenty of currency as a term amongst laypeople, and professionals in contexts other than clinically formal diagnosis.

  69. jordanrastrick

    Since I didn’t plan on doing that anyway, it doesn’t affect me: what is important is that my representatives, the Greens, push hard for a meaningful carbon reduction policy – one that doesn’t benefit the big polluters – as they promised me they would. If they don’t, then I’ll be reconsidering my vote.

    I’m going to be really, really interested to see the reaction amongst Green voters generally if the legislated scheme is weaker than any of the versions Rudd took to the Senate.

  70. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy if you are going to ask me to justify a statement you should do so, not ask me about something else, like Greens policies. Directing attention to Greens policies is misleading as Greens politicians aren’t bound by those policies, which are mainly platitudes any way. For example it is Greens policy to “increase opportunities for public participation in political, social and economic decision making” and in the past they have called for a plebiscite, bit no not this time, only when it suits them.

    What I said was that the Greens have gone further to the left. You can see that clearly with the election of Rhiannon and Bandt. You can see it in the assertiveness of the NSW Greens and Brown’s attempts to point out that it may have been smarter of them to focus on local issues that affected voters rather than bash Israel with the BS BDS campaign which wasn’t even Greens policy. Clearly there is a battle going on within the Greens between the environmental and political tendencies, and in my view the hard left is gaining power and influence.

  71. Thing is, I actually do believe in the marketplace of ideas, and would like to see a system where the barriers to entry weren’t so high that there are real alternatives available to voters beyond the party opposite: where parties can’t get away with lying to and screwing over their voters beause, hey, who else are they going to vote for?

    Strangely, those who purport to believe in the power of the market also seem big fans of an electoral system that reduces choice and competition.

  72. “I’m going to be really, really interested to see the reaction amongst Green voters generally if the legislated scheme is weaker than any of the versions Rudd took to the Senate.”

    I’d expect the Greens not to accept such a scheme. I’d be less likely to vote for them again if they did…

    However, I’d still rather they didn’t put the Liberals into power, because they’d be even worse than Labor.

    Also, as I’ve said before – I vote for the Greens on the basis of their lefty social and economic policies, not the environmental stuff, so I’d probably still put them ahead of all the other parties currently standing.

  73. If you’re having a go at Gillard for being a politician, I respectfully submit that it’s a waste.

    I’m not “having a go at Gillard”, I am merely trying to force others here to accept the reality that Gillard has broken an election promise.

    Many here seem unwilling to admit to this obvious truth, or are busy inventing specious grounds for distinguishing Gillard’s broken promise from those broken by other politicians.

    But the fact is that Gillard obviously believed she would increase Labor’s vote by promising not to introduce a carbon tax. That truth alone marks her subsequent decision to abandon the promise as an undemocratic act.

    None of this is a comment on whether the Carbon Tax is ultimately good or bad policy: it’s only an observation that the tax has come about through a subversion of democracy and not as the result of it.

  74. Knew it SB… You’ve got nothing to back up your hysteria about the Greens. You smear Bandt and Rhiannon without reference to any “extreme” policy they advocate.

    The one thing you’ve got is Rhiannon thinking it’s appropriate for a council to refuse to buy goods from Israel while it’s abusing Palestinian human rights in a particular way. And that’s enough to damn every lefty in the Greens?

    To suggest that lefty policies that the greens campaign on – humane treatment of refugees, more funding of public health and education, better welfare funding, fewer tax cuts for the wealthy, a carbon price, marriage equality – are somehow akin to Nazis is both absurd and a waste of everyone’s time.

    Until the Greens start advocating something that actually is menacing and sinister, your rhetoric is nothing more than empty smears.

  75. jordanrastrick

    Strangely, those who purport to believe in the power of the market also seem big fans of an electoral system that reduces choice and competition.

    I’m not much of a fan the current system, except in the sense of Churchill – most proposed changes I’ve ever seen have at least as many problems as the status quo.

    And the genuine fans of markets, your hardcore libertarians, would probably favour more proportional electoral systems to the extent that they believe governments should exist at all, which in many cases isn’t very much.

    I like carefully designed markets for certain domains in which they excel, but they’re not axiomatically good things and its important to understand their limitations. The same is true of various models of democratic government.

  76. Thank the lord for blogs. Without them would we even have real democracy?

  77. “force us to accept”, Mondo?

    A) Gillard’s “promise” was obviously predicated on her winning government in her own right. She didn’t, so she had to change her policy. It’s not a “lie” unless when she said it she planned to do it anyway.

    b) insofar as it was a broken promise, that’s a bad thing. If you voted for labor because of it, by all means, change your vote next time. That’s the sum total of the relevance: if you don’t like what she’s done, don’t vote for her. It’s how democracy works. Those she “betrayed” will have their chance to respond at the next election. If enough voters genuinely oppose the policy, labor will be defeated and Tony will repeal it.

    C) it’s more than a bit lame that they’re still banging on about it. Old news. Or do we have to hear the same boring whinges about the same old alleged “lie” every day until she’s no longer PM? What’s your point? What do you want? When can we move the hell on?

    D) I didn’t vote for labor. “they tell lies” is preaching to the converted.

  78. jordanrastrick

    You smear Bandt and Rhiannon without reference to any “extreme” policy they advocate.

    I’m smearing them on the basis of extreme policies they once advocated, and the weasel words they’ve subsequently used to avoid taking any responsibility for the serious errors of political judgement they made when younger.

    Go read Lee Rhiannon’s blog post,and tell me why you think she chose to side with the pro-invasion SPA over the anti-invasion CPA. Because as far as I can tell she didn’t actually answer that question in any substantial way

    I think it was because she was young, heavily influenced by the views of her family, and naievely infatuated with causes that turned out to be awful ones. Which wouldn’t be especially bad, but she won’t say as much, which lends credence to idea she still is kinda sympathetic to them, just as it is credible to impute a misogynistic worldview to Abbott on similar grounds even if you won’t catch him these days publicly advocating stances you know would cost him votes.

  79. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “To suggest that lefty policies that the greens campaign on – humane treatment of refugees, more funding of public health and education, better welfare funding, fewer tax cuts for the wealthy, a carbon price, marriage equality – are somehow akin to Nazis is both absurd and a waste of everyone’s time.”

    Of course I didn’t suggest that, did I? You did. I didn’t even mention Green policies, which aren’t worth the shit they are inscribed in as Green politicians are free to disregard them if they hold a different view.

    “insofar as it was a broken promise, that’s a bad thing. If you voted for labor because of it, by all means, change your vote next time. That’s the sum total of the relevance: if you don’t like what she’s done, don’t vote for her. It’s how democracy works.”

    What a pathetically stunted and morally retarded view of democracy you have. We might expect that a party based on spin rather than principles would behave so cynically. It is somewhat surprising that the Greens are now showing in their participation in this fraud that they are no better. They could at least show some sadness at this dishonest farce instead of just giving an “ends justifies the means” shrug. This is as indecent as anything Howard did. It is the fulfillment of the post-modernist project where words don’t mean anything anymore – they are just a means to power.

  80. “Of course I didn’t suggest that, did I? You did. I didn’t even mention Green policies, which aren’t worth the shit they are inscribed in as Green politicians are free to disregard them if they hold a different view.”

    You regularly bash the Greens for being “extreme leftists”. What do you mean by that if you don’t mean their policies? If you do mean their policies, which policies? You can’t possibly be damning an entire political party based on what you think some of its MPs believed long before they joined the Greens, can you?

    I’m known as a lefty because I believe in comprehensive public services (eg first rate public health and education systems which make the private ones redundant) funded by progressive taxation, and civil liberties – eg marriage equality. According to you, because that makes me a lefty, that makes me the equivalent of bloody psychotic mass murderer Joseph Stalin.

    it’s ridiculous, and you’re persuading no-one.

    Oh, and Green politicians are not “free to disregard” progressive policy if they want us to keep voting for them.

    “What a pathetically stunted and morally retarded view of democracy you have.”

    Oh yeah, and your demand that the Greens MPs betray their voters by opposing the legislation they championed before the election is really democratic.

    “We might expect that a party based on spin rather than principles would behave so cynically.”

    What, doing what they promised?

    “It is somewhat surprising that the Greens are now showing in their participation in this fraud that they are no better. “

    They’re better than both big parties – they don’t promise one thing and do another.

    “They could at least show some sadness at this dishonest farce instead of just giving an “ends justifies the means” shrug.”

    They do – they regularly point out to voters that the big parties shouldn’t be trusted.

    “This is as indecent as anything Howard did. It is the fulfillment of the post-modernist project where words don’t mean anything anymore – they are just a means to power.”

    Utter pablum.

    By the way, Gillard also promised Labor voters real action on climate change. The problem is that she promised competing parts of the broad Labor base completely contrary things. Again, a massive flaw with the big parties – the same as Liberals who promise low government intervention and then impose religious conservatism on the rest of us (and our children).

  81. If you voted for labor because of it, by all means, change your vote next time. That’s the sum total of the relevance: if you don’t like what she’s done, don’t vote for her. It’s how democracy works.

    This seems to be the crux of your defence of Gillard Jeremy, but it’s plainly ridiculous for you to assert that “the sum total of the relevance” of this broken campaign pledge is its impact on voters at the next election. After all the direct consequence of her broken promise is that a carbon tax will now actually be implemented in Australia.

    That’s a pretty big change to our economy Jeremy – I’m stunned that you don’t see it as relevant to this issue.

    When a politician breaks a clear campaign promise then that is the opposite of democracy in action. I fear that you will come to regret your cavalier approach to honesty in election campaigning when our next conservative government starts breaking its campaign pledges.

  82. We might expect that a party based on spin rather than principles would behave so cynically. It is somewhat surprising that the Greens are now showing in their participation in this fraud that they are no better.

    You’re wrong about that SB – the Greens haven’t broken any campaign promises. To the contrary, they’re doing exactly what they promised their voters they would do.

    It’s Gillard who is exposed by this episode as a spin-driven politician, not the Greens.

  83. .“This seems to be the crux of your defence of Gillard Jeremy”

    My defence of Gillard? In what way am I “defending” Gillard? I’ve repeatedly said I don’t think people should vote for her – they should vote for a more honest leader.

    ie, Bob Brown.

    “it’s plainly ridiculous for you to assert that “the sum total of the relevance” of this broken campaign pledge is its impact on voters at the next election. After all the direct consequence of her broken promise is that a carbon tax will now actually be implemented in Australia.”

    And if a majority of voters dislike it, they’ll vote Labor out and the Liberals will repeal it. If there are long-term costs voters oppose, again, Labor will be gone for a long time.

    The problem for Abbott is that the opposition in the polls right now is based almost entirely on his scaremongering about the carbon tax, and once it is implemented and a majority of voters are actually better off, then it stands to reason that most of that opposition will evaporate.

    News and the Libs will be doing their best to see that it doesn’t, of course, but it’ll be hard for even them to argue against reality. Particularly when they’ve been shown up for the bullshit artists they are.

    “That’s a pretty big change to our economy Jeremy – I’m stunned that you don’t see it as relevant to this issue. “

    Of course it’s relevant. But we didn’t have a referendum on a carbon tax, and we’re certainly not going to get a rational one now, so unfortunately welcome to the flaws in two-party “democracy”.

    We only ever get to judge a government after the fact. With three year terms, often three years after the fact.

    If the GST had been voted on when it was first announced, Howard would’ve been SLAUGHTERED. But we had to wait a few years, and discovered it wasn’t as bad as the worst-case scenarios we’d been sold. WorkChoices wasn’t voted on until after it’d been implemented – and we kicked the Liberals out, and the new government (sort of) rescinded it.

    If I’m wrong, and a majority of voters dislike the outcome, they’ll kick Labor out. If I’m right, and they discover it’s actually a positive change, then they won’t.

    If you don’t like the contradictions of big parties trying to pander to left and right simultaneously, don’t vote for one. And support electoral reform that would enable the rise of smaller, more specific parties.

    “When a politician breaks a clear campaign promise then that is the opposite of democracy in action.”

    Sure, and the recourse is for those of its supporters who feel betrayed to stop voting for it.

    What are the rest of us to do? Continue to not vote for them? Consider it done.

    “I fear that you will come to regret your cavalier approach to honesty in election campaigning when our next conservative government starts breaking its campaign pledges.”

    How’s my approach “cavalier”? Unlike a lot of you, I refuse to vote for either of the big parties that regularly lie to their voters.

  84. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “You regularly bash the Greens for being “extreme leftists”. What do you mean by that if you don’t mean their policies? If you do mean their policies, which policies? You can’t possibly be damning an entire political party based on what you think some of its MPs believed long before they joined the Greens, can you?”

    I don’t regularly bash the Greens for being extreme leftists. I have decried the rise of the hard left within the Greens and I have pointed out particular actions that I think are radical or wrong, as in this case where they are complicit in debasing democracy.

    I can see that there are competing views within the Greens and say so. You ignore this criticism (maybe you don’t like open discussion of the tensions within the Greens?) and make out as though I had criticised Greens policies, which I haven’t done on this thread. When are you going to get over your infatuation with straw men? I suppose I should just take it as a compliment that you can’t argue with what I actually say, so you make stuff up.

    “According to you, because that makes me a lefty, that makes me the equivalent of bloody psychotic mass murderer Joseph Stalin.”

    You are really raping the shit out of that straw-man tonight! I have said no such thing. Not even close.

    “Oh yeah, and your demand that the Greens MPs betray their voters by opposing the legislation they championed before the election is really democratic.”

    They are betraying all voters by participating in this fraud on the people. I am not demanding anything, just noting the indecent hypocrisy in their actions. Nobody can take them seriously again when they prattle on about democratic principles.

    “They’re better than both big parties – they don’t promise one thing and do another.”

    I always believed this, but I’m not so sure anymore.

  85. Mondo,

    I was attempting to ‘deny’ anything. I accept that, as a martter of principle, this is a lie, or broken promise.

    Just that it’s a fairly trivial example of such, and somewhat dependant on drawing a sharp distinction between a carbon tax and an ETS, when really they are just variations of the same thing.

    And I’m all for holding policiticians to account for what they say. Too often they renege on their word, for what are little more than transparent excuses, in the service of their own convenience.

    Yet, there is a limit to this. Principles are very fine, in principle, yet in practice they tend to go down better with a touch of pragmatism. Principle applied without reference to context can become a dogmatic position.

    Gillard’s promise is quite like the mother who promises to take the kids to the beach if they are good, and also promises not to take the bloody bus this time, but drive their own car. The day comes around and the car won’t start, so they are told they’re are going by bus. The children changed their behaviour in light of the promise – are they now entitled to throw their toys out of the pram?

    Has the mother broken her promise? Well, in principle, yes. But does the change in context alter how you view the initial promise? I would think so.

  86. “I have decried the rise of the hard left within the Greens”

    What do you mean by this? In what way has “the hard left” risen and changed the Greens’ policies?

    “I have pointed out particular actions that I think are radical or wrong, as in this case where they are complicit in debasing democracy. “

    What on Earth are you talking about? What do you think they should do? They promised their voters they’d do everything in their parliamentary power to get a price on carbon and, completely consistently with democracy, THEY’RE DOING PRECISELY THAT.

    They’re the goodies in this little “liars are bad” and “you shouldn’t vote for people who tell you one thing and do another” drama. Labor and the Liberals are the bad guys, based on the fact that THEY’RE THE ONES WHO KEEP LYING TO THEIR VOTERS.

    “I suppose I should just take it as a compliment that you can’t argue with what I actually say, so you make stuff up.”

    You keep comparing the Greens with Hitler and Stalin. Most of the time I just ignore it.

    “They are betraying all voters by participating in this fraud on the people.”

    It’s a parliament. They’re not responsible to other parties’ voters for that party’s actions. And they couldn’t be, without betraying their own voters.

    “I am not demanding anything, just noting the indecent hypocrisy in their actions.”

    What “hypocrisy”? What do you think they should do?

    “Nobody can take them seriously again when they prattle on about democratic principles.”

    They can, because they’re the only ones who actually have stuck to their guns the whole way through.

    “I always believed this, but I’m not so sure anymore.”

    In what way have they promised one thing and done another?

  87. That’s “wasn’t” in the first line. LOL!

  88. Splatterbottom

    Mondo:“You’re wrong about that SB – the Greens haven’t broken any campaign promises. To the contrary, they’re doing exactly what they promised their voters they would do.”

    The Greens are less culpable than Gillard, but they do not have to participate in this farce. They are always telling us stuff like “We deserve a competent, well-run and honest government. The Greens will continue to work to make politicians more accountable and less corrupt.” or “The Australian Greens believe that integrity, accountability and openness in politics are vital to a healthy democracy. ”

    They are certainly not doing that here. Their precious integrity is out the window on this one. What openness? The Greens are locked away behind closed doors with the government on this one. There is not even the pretense of holding Gillard accountable for her cynical behaviour – the Greens are aiding and abetting it. Fuck the ‘healthy democracy’, the Greens are getting their way by any means necessary.

  89. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “What do you mean by this? In what way has “the hard left” risen and changed the Greens’ policies?”

    I didn’t say anything about changing policies. Don’t make stuff up.

    “What on Earth are you talking about? What do you think they should do? They promised their voters they’d do everything in their parliamentary power to get a price on carbon and, completely consistently with democracy, THEY’RE DOING PRECISELY THAT.

    See my comments to Mondo above. They promised openness and accountability. They may get their way on this, but they won’t be untarnished by their participation in this sordid affair. They certainly haven’t ‘stuck to their guns’ when it comes to their pious claims to improve the democratic process.

  90. In what way am I “defending” Gillard?

    Perhaps “defending” is the wrong word – “excusing” would be a better one. You have several times on this thread presented excuses for why Gillard’s decision to break her promise isn’t so bad.

    And from a practical perspective I might even agree with you. From a democratic perspective, however, I don’t.

    If the GST had been voted on when it was first announced, Howard would’ve been SLAUGHTERED. But we had to wait a few years, and discovered it wasn’t as bad as the worst-case scenarios we’d been sold.

    We didn’t discover that the GST worked until after it was implemented – which was after Howard successfully presented the option to us as a core part of his election platform. That was democracy in action – a policy was proposed to the Australian people and we accepted it.

    That example is obviously not analogous to the present situation.

    How’s my approach “cavalier”?

    You argued above that the “sum total” of the relevance of Gillard’s broken promise was the impact it would have on the next election. This argument ignores the rather obvious financial and social impacts that the actual implementation of a carbon tax over the next two years might have on Australia. Impacts that may well go beyond the election of a new government.

    You also argued that breaking election promises is “how democracy works”.

    It was hardly a stretch to describe both arguments as “cavalier”.

    What are the rest of us to do?

    I want you all to admit to yourselves that you’re making an “ends justifies the means” argument, and that you are less committed to the democratic process than you are to the implementation of your preferred policies.

  91. “The hide of accusing Mondo of playing Semantics. Can you please expound further on the difference between “trivial lies”, “off the cuff non-gospel statements”, and “non-core promises”?” – jordanrastrick

    Jordan,

    Pardon my hide;)

    I say semantics, because the difference between ‘carbon tax’ and ‘ETS’ is virtually nil. So yes, it’s a lie/broken promise, but a trival one in that the end result is virtually identical.

    There are always two parts to assessing the impact of an untruth. There’s the outcome – have people been harmed , or led into a false course of action, or been defrauded?
    The other is the reason for it – was it for personal gain, or to trick others. Intent plays a role here.

    In Gillards case, I think it’s hard to argue a case for harm. And I don’t think you can argue for a deliberate untruth for gain. In fact, it’s seems reasonable to discount the 2nd part altogether in this case, unless anyone thinks that she knew she would lead a minority govt.

  92. ‘I didn’t say anything about changing policies. Don’t make stuff up.”

    So you’re not talking about their policies at all – you’re just whinging vacuously about your impression of personalities you doubt because of groups they’ve long since left?

    Wow, what a thoroughly flimsy basis on which to run all that totalitarian tyrants rubbish you spout.

    “They promised openness and accountability.”

    They promised they’d push the policies they put up before the election, and they’re doing just that. And if they don’t, then we, their voters, the people they represent, can make them accountable by voting against them.

    That’s how parliamentary democracy is supposed to work.

    “They certainly haven’t ‘stuck to their guns’ when it comes to their pious claims to improve the democratic process.”

    Again, what do you think they should do? I can tell you that I certainly didn’t vote for them to take on some kind of “honesty police” role for the other parties. I voted for them to advocate for their policies, which is precisely what they’re doing.

    The check on honesty of political parties is their voters. It isn’t the other parties, who have a completely different duty – to THEIR voters.

  93. I’m not “having a go at Gillard”, I am merely trying to force others here to accept the reality that Gillard has broken an election promise.

    Mondo, why are you so hung up on this issue? It’s such small potatoes. Yes, she broke an election promise. So what? She was committed to a price on carbon, so in terms of election promises broken ‘the reality’ (as you put it) is its totally inconsequential and means absolutely nothing. Tomaytoes vs Tomatoes. ETS vs Carbont Tax. It’s disengenous to keep going on about such a small non issue.

    Now if you complained that Gillard was looking to deliver Assagne’s head on a plate to the Americans and she was a traitor for doing so then you would capture my attention.

  94. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “I can tell you that I certainly didn’t vote for them to take on some kind of “honesty police” role for the other parties. I voted for them to advocate for their policies, which is precisely what they’re doing.”

    When it comes to their policies on honesty and accountability, it looks like the Greens are behaving more like a major party. It was always going to happen as they got closer to the levers of power. It always corrupts.

  95. “When it comes to their policies on honesty and accountability, it looks like the Greens are behaving more like a major party. It was always going to happen as they got closer to the levers of power. It always corrupts.”

    You keep ignoring my question – what do you think they should do?

    Their behaviour in this instance is ENTIRELY consistent with being honest and accountable. They are doing exactly what they said they’d do. Precisely as their voters expected they’d do.

    They are not the parliament’s honesty police, and it’s not their job to go around punishing other parties for their policy changes.

    There’s only one group of people who get to hold other parties accountable for their behaviour in office – WE THE VOTERS.

    The Greens are behaving completely ethically and in the best traditions of honest democracy. In stark contrast to the big two parties.

  96. I don’t regularly bash the Greens for being extreme leftists. I have decried the rise of the hard left within the Greens and I have pointed out particular actions that I think are radical or wrong

    You really do sprout some crap SB. Name one policy of the greens you’ve critcised or examined here in any depth.

  97. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy the Greens could at least have insisted on the peoples’ assembly. They like peoples’ assemblies. And they have not been above calling for a plebisicite when it suits them, but not so much when they can get their way without one. They could have insisted on community involvement in the secret negotiations now going on. If they were really sincere they could have refused to negotiate in secret with the ALP and put up their own plan to parliament and negotiated openly from there. It looks to me like accountability and openness they speak of are only window-dressing and very much subservient to their other goals.

    Gordicans, I assume you are taking the piss.

  98. “Jeremy the Greens could at least have insisted on the peoples’ assembly.”

    Why? They opposed it when Julia announced it. Why should they enforce other parties’ policies with which they disagree? Since when is that their role?

    “And they have not been above calling for a plebisicite when it suits them, but not so much when they can get their way without one.”

    So, now you think we should have a plebiscite on every controversial political issue? What’s the threshold? Who gets to decide when a plebiscite is to be called? Is it binding? How specific does it have to be?

    Have you in fact thought through that at all other than as a stupid way of sledging the Greens?

    “They could have insisted on community involvement in the secret negotiations now going on.”

    There is community involvement – MPs represent the community.

    (Well, the Greens represent their voters. Who knows who the big parties represent, since they claim to represent everyone at once.)

    “If they were really sincere they could have refused to negotiate in secret with the ALP and put up their own plan to parliament and negotiated openly from there.”

    Why? That’s not how our parliament has ever operated. And you think we should start with something as complex as a carbon tax?

    “It looks to me like accountability and openness they speak of are only window-dressing and very much subservient to their other goals.”

    They’re entirely accountable – there’ll be another election and we can vote on what we think of the outcome of the negotiations. I know you and the Liberals would rather we vote on what they and News Ltd have been bullshitting the outcome will be, but it’s hardly a slight on democracy to let the elected MPs negotiate the plan in accordance with their numbers and support and then we their voters, the people they represent, get to hold them accountable as to what we think of what they’ve done at the next election. Tony’s desperate that we don’t get to see the real proposal and see how hollow his scaremongering is – but that doesn’t mean we should accede to his tantrum-throwing.

    Again, the Greens never appointed themselves the Honesty Police for the other parties. Nor did we their voters ever expect them to be. Your demand that they sabotage the policy negotiations they promised their voters they’d advocate – THAT would be a lie. THAT would be a betrayal of democracy. THAT would be a betrayal of their voters.

    You want them to break their word. Unlike the big parties, they’re not going to do that.

  99. jordanrastrick

    SB, I think you’re a drawing a bit of a long bow to accuse the Greens of any kind of culpability for Gillard’s broken promise, to say the least.

    So you’re not talking about their policies at all – you’re just whinging vacuously about your impression of personalities you doubt because of groups they’ve long since left?

    Never mind groups. Bandt when a university student made a clear statement disavowing parliamentary democracy. When asked about those views recently, he made no direct statement about them in response, instead making oblique references to the people he associated with in Student Politics – precisely so that people who support him, such as yourself, can cop out with a ”

    He could have just said “yeah, I was wrong about that, as indeed I think most people make some mistakes about politics particularly when you’re young and your views are still evolving.”

    Instead, he gave a (rather inept) spin doctor’s response.

    Now its not an especially big deal, and its reasonable to say it doesn’t matter as much as the substance of current debates. But if you only want debates to be about current issues, and demand that politicians never have to answer for their previously stated views, you need

    And if you want to deny that the Greens have any element of radical leftsim within their membership that has some policy influence on the parliamentary party – just as their are some corrupt unionists within the ALP, some racist religious zealots in the Liberal party and so forth – then you’ve pulled the wool over your own eyes.

  100. SB Gordicans, I assume you are taking the piss.

    No not at all SB. I’ve never seen you discuss a single word of green policy. Nicht, nothing. It’s all smear rant fighting some long lost cold war reds under the beds or something. Here’s and example below which even includes Jackboots, show me the policy you don’t like here:

    The plebiscite is a great idea. This is precisely the situation where democracy demands it. Gillard is now doing what she promised not to do immediately before the election. She is doing it notwithstanding that a large majority of the population don’t want it. The Greens don’t give a toss about democracy. They are intent on shoveling their radical leftist shit down voters’ throats and are perfectly happy to stamp their totalitarian jackboots on the peoples’ faces by participating in this rape of democratic principle.

  101. gordi,

    That is SB’s detailed policy analysis.

    Only thing missing was the standard reference to ‘heirs of Stalin’ or some such nonsense.

  102. jordanrastrick

    This is what I actually most dislike about SB’s “colourful” ranting; when I agree with his general points rather than disagree with them.

    I’m trying to prosecute the reasoned version of the argument in his offhand remark:

    But sadly old commos like Bandt and Rhiannon are coming to the fore in the Greens

    I’m certain that there really is (healthy, democratic) tension within the Greens, including the parliamentary party, between its traditional guard of those mainly concerned with environmental causes, and the more recent influx of social progressives who in some cases used to be communists, plus a few who are still more or less communists. I think its wilful self delusion when Greens voters such as Jeremy try to pretend that extremism and factionalism are only issues in the major parties and that the Greens are pure as the riven snow.

    Its important for me as a person who has voted for the Greens in the past and may well be doing so in the future, to determine how much influence extremists may have, just as I’m keen to know how much influence the less palatable members of the major parties wield internally.

    The Greens shouldn’t it seems be judged by their not-frequently-updated-policy-listing on their website (what’s it been Jeremy – well over a year I’ve been commenting here? And I don’t think any of the craziness I objected to has been removed in that time, even though the Greens are now a member of a coalition government.)

    And they don’t make election campaign policy statements on anything like a reasonable fraction of the issues I might care about voting for them.

    So I can’t judge them purely on policy. I have to make inferences about their values;

    What does Adam Bandt value more highly, democracy or socialism? I suspect its the former, and he’s just too pissweak to openly admit changing his mind from when he was a student.

    In Lee Rhiannon’s case, I’m more, and voting 1 Greens in the Senate would make her my State representative. If she wants my vote, I deserve a better explanation for why she sided with the SPA over the CPA than “well the CPA kicked out its maritime branch, which had a lot of members, including my uncle”. Its either dishonest, or appalling.

    She also seems to be a policy lightweight in her current incarnation. On 7.30 tonight she advocated moving “away from taxes on things like work to taxes on pollution.” This talking point is one of the most misguided parts of the Greens vague, online, not-to-be-taken-as-Gospel policy platform. If they articulated it at all, I’m sure the stupidity would become more self evident. But they won’t, because its a platitude with almost no substance behind it. And yes, before y’all rush in to counterattack, the same is true of many Labor and Liberal sound bites; although the majors at least have the “virtue” of tending to say things that are more meaningless than wrong.

    Maybe I could find out more about where things are at internally within the Greens in terms of getting rid of the stupid shit and making sure everyone’s values accord with mine? I could start by going to or reading reports on a Greens party conference. Oh, no, wait. I couldn’t. Uniquely amongst parliamentary parties, the conferences are closed.

    Real transparent. And democratic. Lee, to give her at least some credit, claimed to be trying to get that changed.

    Anyway, the point was supposed to be that no one will read this stupidly long post, partly because they’d rather be making glib one line replies to SB’s glib one liners than answering hard questions. So I blame him for fucking up any chance of actually trying to hold the Greens rigorously to account on this site….

  103. “between its traditional guard of those mainly concerned with environmental causes, and the more recent influx of social progressives who in some cases used to be communists, plus a few who are still more or less communists.

    There’s a long, LONG line between the social progressives and economic progressives and actual communists. I haven’t seen any evidence that actual communists – actual, YOU MAY OWN NOTHING communists – have any sway or presence in the Greens at all.

    “I think its wilful self delusion when Greens voters such as Jeremy try to pretend that extremism and factionalism are only issues in the major parties and that the Greens are pure as the riven snow. “

    No, I haven’t said that – they’re just a whole plane ahead of the broad-based parties because they’re not trying to cover everyone at once, so they’re not constantly contradicting each other. They’re all to the left of the present Australian political environment on pretty much all issues, so they can all agree that we need to pull things to the left. We’ll have to move a fair way left before the softer left says “enough” and there starts being a tension with the far left.

    “What does Adam Bandt value more highly, democracy or socialism?”

    Wait, what? Democracy and socialism aren’t opposites, unless you’re defining “socialism” as “soviet-style totalitarian socialism which isn’t really socialism in that there was still a rich and powerful class oppressing the poor, it was just a dictatorship”.

    Bandt clearly believes in democratic “socialism”, where “socialism” means better provision of public services, paid for by taxing the wealthier members of society..

    “If she wants my vote, I deserve a better explanation for why she sided with the SPA over the CPA than “well the CPA kicked out its maritime branch, which had a lot of members, including my uncle”. “

    Write her a letter and ask her. Since we’re talking about something more than twenty years ago, and she’s spent the twenty years since in the Greens without demanding anything insane, frankly I’m not too perturbed by it. If it bothers you, by all means go ahead and ask her.

    “On 7.30 tonight she advocated moving “away from taxes on things like work to taxes on pollution.” “

    Yeah, no idea what that was. We’ll see what they propose. I think we should clearly tax things like capital gains and pollution heavier, but I don’t know why we’d stop taxing income. I think she just misspoke.

    Point is, I’m yet to see the Greens in Parliament demand anything I don’t agree with (except perhaps getting out of Afghanistan), so I’m happy with them representing me. I want our politics brought back to the left, and we’re so far from reaching the point where I’d get off that I’m not too troubled about whether a few of them would want to go further if we got there – I’ll have plenty of time to re-evaluate them as if we’re fortunate enough to approach that point.

    “Oh, no, wait. I couldn’t. Uniquely amongst parliamentary parties, the conferences are closed.”

    It’s not American politics – they’re not primaries. You can go as a member. And they propose a political position and then you can vote for them, or not, as you choose. If you want to direct them further then join them.

  104. SB, the problem with your writings about the greens is that it’s all bullshit and no substance. It’s all about jackboots, reds under the beds, a calvavade of cunts and turds in the bowl. So how bout some substance? Are you capable of discussing a single Green policy? I doubt it. Your real interest is hatred.

  105. jordanrastrick

    and she’s spent the twenty years since in the Greens without demanding anything insane,

    Do you know she hasn’t demanded anything insane internally within the party?

    Yeah, no idea what that was. We’ll see what they propose.

    No, we won’t, because they won’t propose anything with any substance. This stance has been a Greens “policy”, according to their website, for at least as long as I have been commenting here, and I suspect internet archives would probably indicate its presence for a substantially longer period. Here’s all of the details provided on what it means:

    implement a gradual and long term shift in the tax system from work based taxes to taxes on natural resources and pollution including:
    a carbon tax levied on generators of mains-supplied electricity or gas
    a national carbon trading scheme; and
    other ecological taxes and charges at a level sufficient enough that their prices reflect the full environmental cost of their production, use or disposal.

    Pigovian taxes are great if used to do what they are designed for. But it is ridiculous to propose using them to substitute for core revenue raising measures like income tax or the GST, as any party with a clue about policy should be able to figure out if they spent a few minutes thinking about the idea.

    Someone in the Greens seems to have once read a blog post on ecotaxes or something and had a thought bubble – “taxes on pollution are good, so in the long term lets use them as the basis for our tax system! “. Its obviously never been pursued very far, or else surely the astute elements would have killed it by now. But its not something they’ve just “forgotten to delete from the website”, as Senator Rhiannon’s canvassing of the idea tonight clearly shows.

    Just one demonstration of serious policy shortcomings from the Greens.

  106. “On 7.30 tonight she advocated moving “away from taxes on things like work to taxes on pollution.” This talking point is one of the most misguided parts of the Greens vague” – jordanrastrick

    ETR – environmental tax reform.

    It’s not quite as loopy as you might think. It’s certainly been a topic of discussion among economists for a long time, so maybe it’s not a case of Lee being a “lightweight” but rather just a bit better informed than you are.

    Though it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire yet (failed miserably in France) , the basic princple seems sound enough – move taxation away from items such as payroll tax, reduce income tax and put it increasingly on negative outputs such as pollution.

    It’s likely to be a long time before we see someting like that here, as there appears to be a significant amount of work still to be done, both in practice and theory. The Germans, though, seem to remain keen on it (they’re had aspects of it since the late 1990’s and other European countries even earlier).

  107. jordanrastrick

    Ummmm, my response to the other half of Jeremy’s post seems to have disappeared.

    As far as Bandt goes, its easiest if you just read his original memo in full:

    http://www.driftline.org/cgi-bin/archive/archive_msg.cgi?file=spoon-archives/marxism.archive/marxism_1995/95-03-31.000&msgnum=45&start=3474

    And then tell me if the response he gives here

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/greens-too-bourgeois-for-adam-bandt-when-he-was-a-uni-student/story-fn59niix-1225911093349

    inspires confidence in his ability to

    A) admit he was wrong
    B) champion democratic values amongst progressives who don’t esteem them
    C) not try and deflect awkward questions with irrelevant details, ala any major party politician being interviewed by a decent journalist

    I mean I’ll go on public record right here and now (future politician self, please forgive me) in saying I have my own doubts about parliamentary democracy at times, but all else being equal I consider it by far preferable to any other governance model for large societies we have yet devised. In the past I held substantially more unorthodox views on this point; I changed my mind as I learned more about history, psychology economics, philosophy, science. I was wrong then; I’m hopefully a little less wrong now.

    There, its not that hard. I don’t understand why Adam Bandt, assuming he is indeed a committed social democrat these days, couldn’t say something similar, unless its pure and simple embarrassment. Social anxiety about being made to look silly, I think I could sympathise with more easily than any other plausible explanation….

    I will note its Its possible the Australian have misquoted him atrociously, and left out the bits of his reply where he takes honest responsibility for the mistakes in judgement he made as a student politician. However, if that’s the case I’m very surprised not to be able to find any trace of the Greens objecting to such treatment.

  108. FFS – – – One more try

    ^^&&***&&^^%%%%^^^

    I had a response to mondo disappear yesterday so here goes; I’m not aggrieved by what politicians say, they say all sorts of stuff, as per Tanner they pretty much respond in soundbites. I’m aggrieved by what they do (govts/politicians) the number one issue to me id the issue of asylum seekers and I’m disgusted by the attempts to send asylum seekers even unaccompanied children to Malaysia, 4 000 of them, just to try and prove a stupid point. I’m aggrieved when our govt wages wars based on bullshit.

    As an aside, mondo and jordan, are you watching ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’? Tonight should be interesting, the participants will be going to Malaysia to live among the refugees. I’m really hoping that this show will have an impact on decent Aussies who’ve let the Gillard govt pull the wool over their eyes.

    MMUUU^^&&**%%$$##@%%&&* (sorry, it’s the only way I can get it to work).

  109. Yes, he should publicly denounce himself.

  110. Wasn’t Gillard a Marxist when she was in uni? And John Howard an anti-Asian immigration campaigner in the late 80’s?.

    But Adam Bandt – What a MONSTER /sarc

    [I’m very surprised not to be able to find any trace of the Greens objecting to such treatment.]

    When the media spread falsehoods about the Greens they try to pretend it’s ‘scrutiny’, I wonder how the Australian/Punch (et al) would report Bandt trying to correct the record? He’s probably better off remaining silent.

  111. Jordan, I’ve lost track of where we were in that discussion… sorry but this thread has grown a bit. Thanks for finding the full Brandt memo tho. I’ll read t now.

    Ok. Read it.

    Whats the issue?

    Really its no different to people who used to think Ayn Rand had a clue.

    I think you are making too much off the crap people speak while involved in stident politics.

  112. Gadj: In Gillards case, I think it’s hard to argue a case for harm. And I don’t think you can argue for a deliberate untruth for gain. In fact, it’s seems reasonable to discount the 2nd part altogether in this case,

    I don’t think you’re necessarily wrong Gadj – Gillard found herself ‘forced’ into adoptingthe policy due to some fairly effective Green leverage and on that basis my personal view is that she hasn’t lied – she’s just broken a promise. The two acts are not the same thing.

    But the question about whether or not her broken promise will lead to harm depends very much on your perspective. Those opposed to the carbon tax would argue strongly that the broken promise will lead to harm, and that Gillard’s promise not to introduce one was a critical factor in their decision to vote for her.

    My problem is that the principles of democracy get thrown out the window when you judge political behaviour purely on the basis of whether it assists your personal agenda. A commitment to democracy requires us to reject policy, even policy that we personally favour, if it has been implemented through undemocratic means.

    If Gillard really believes in a carbon tax (and I have no idea if she does or not) then she should persuade a majority of the Australian people to support it and then take it to an election instead of ramming it down our throats after specifically promising she wouldn’t do it.

    And if we are commited to democracy then we should advocate that she do exactly that, instead of making excuses for her because this time we happen to approve of the policy being rammed.

  113. BobbyI’m not aggrieved by what politicians say, they say all sorts of stuff, as per Tanner they pretty much respond in soundbites. I’m aggrieved by what they do

    But Bobby, in the context of an election campaign what do we have to judge the candidates by if not by what they say?

    What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if Abbott went to the next election promising to abandon the Malaysia solution and won a slice of the pro-refugee vote as a result, but then abandoned the promise and implemented it anyway.

    Can’t you already picture the wingnuts making exactly the same excuses that lefties are making on this thread? “Sure Abbot broke an election promise, but it’s the right policy decision so I have no problem with what he did.”

    The ideal system is NOT one in which politicians are free to make whatever election commitment they want in order to obtain votes while being under no obligation to actually deliver on those promises. I’m fighting on this thread to try to get people here to realise that by backing Gillard on this tax they are moving Australia away from the democratic ideal.

    Put shorter: an argument that broken election promises are OK as long as you personally like the outcome is an argument against democracy, and I happen to quite like democracy.

  114. “I mean I’ll go on public record right here and now (future politician self, please forgive me) in saying I have my own doubts about parliamentary democracy at times, but all else being equal I consider it by far preferable to any other governance model for large societies we have yet devised. In the past I held substantially more unorthodox views on this point; I changed my mind as I learned more about history, psychology economics, philosophy, science. I was wrong then; I’m hopefully a little less wrong now.”

    ^^ Specifically wrt this Jordan… I don’t think you need to have to say that. I’m actually an anarchist at heart, and I think the state is a parasitical entity that feeds off the population. (View that as mostly a metaphor, but sometimes its literal.) As I’ve grown up I’ve come to see it as a necessary evil (at the moment, wo knows things may change in future). Humans might spontaneously generate social structures and socially responsible attitudes, like what happened in Midan Tharir this year, but not always and not out of the blue. There needs to be a context and some sort of uniting theme.

    In the context of all that, how things work in Australia have been pretty good (provided you aren’t a reffo or a blackfella,) especiaslly compared to most other systems. But to just assume that is dumb.

    Its much better to go thru the process of questioning stuff, and that includes social democracy and how we do things here. No one should have to denounce what they once thought. Its part of the process that lead them to where they are now and can’t really be seperated from their current position. Thats not a bad thing tho.

    If you hadn’t “…held substantially more unorthodox views on this point … changed (your) mind as (u) learned more about history, psychology economics, philosophy, science. {(we) were wrong then; (we’re) hopefully a little less wrong now.}” Then your blind acceptance of how we do things wouldn’t be as trustworthy as a considered and evolved position.

    If we are ever gonna change stuff about Australian politics then it should always be done against the background of what actually works and makes this country or society reasonably free and open. Babies, bathwater and all that.

    Back to Brandt. I wouldn’t worry too much about him. He called the Greens a mob of Boushies, then went and joined them. That shows a remarkable level of insight.

  115. “My problem is that the principles of democracy get thrown out the window when you judge political behaviour purely on the basis of whether it assists your personal agenda.”

    Of course, I don’t – I think making a promise and then breaking it makes a politician difficult to vote for (although not impossible if all the other choices are similarly unreliable and also advocate even worse policies).

    Ideally we’d have a plebiscite on every major policy – but we don’t. We didn’t on the GST. We didn’t on WorkChoices. We haven’t on gay marriage. We haven’t on better public funding for schools and hospitals. We haven’t on tax cuts for the rich. We don’t have that system – and if we had a plebiscite on this one now, given that Labor has proceeded on the understanding that the system gives it three years to get it right before the next election, giving the Libs free reign while they nut the policy out, we’d end up with a result that doesn’t actually reflect what the voters think of what the policy would actually be.

    You’re demanding we change the rules of the game halfway through. And if we want to do that, to have a system where MPs make certain promises before the election and if they break them then an election automatically follows, then great, I’m happy to consider how we’d bring that in (who’d determine what constitutes a “broken promise” etc. eg If Labor promises one set of its base real action on carbon change and then makes an unconvincing promise of “no carbon tax” to another, which should stand? Is it bound to stick with it forever, despite changing circumstances?)

    But that’s not the system.

    And until that is the system, I don’t see why they should have to fight with one arm tied behind their backs.

    In the meantime, the system works like this: if you vote for a politician and you don’t like what they do, then your recourse is to vote against them next time.

    I agree, it’s not perfectly democratic. There’s a lot that a big party can do in those three years and one single vote every three years is a completely inadequate means of having your voice properly heard on each issue.

    But most of the people complaining now demanded no such change when the other mob was in. And demanding the change halfway through the carbon tax legislative process is rather unfair – if we were all operating under the “plebiscite on each issue” system, Labor would’ve tackled the selling of the policy completely differently.

    I’m happy for us to move to more regular elections, and enable the rise of more specific parties to enable the parliament to really represent the Australian community in a genuinely democratic way. No more of this big party bullshit where no-one knows precisely what the party stands for anyway. Let’s do that. Who is seriously with me? Anyone?

  116. Splatterbottom

    Gordicans: “I’ve never seen you discuss a single word of green policy. “

    Thanks for quoting my earlier comment where I precis my argument. It makes the main points succinctly, if a little colourfully.

    I think the point you are missing is that it is legitimate to criticise a party’s actions as well as its policies. Obviously this is an extremely difficult point to grasp, for others here have made the same mistake. I am loth to put it down to collective stupidity, but how else do you explain it?

    Speaking of policy, the Greens do have a policy of holding citizens assemblies and of supporting open, accountable and transparent government. Apparently these don’t apply when they are trying to foist on the citizenry a vicious and useless tax which most of them oppose.

    Apparently politicians have no duty to defend the democratic system and all those complaints I made about John Howard corrupting our democracy were misplaced. Sadly nobody here told me this at the time. I now understand that the only duty politicians have is to ram through their agenda by any means necessary (unless you are Tony Abbott).

  117. This is SOOOOO frustrating, having to make the post four or five times just to get it through the broken wordpress. First an earlier response that has just disappeared:

    mondo,

    We live in a representative democracy, what Gillard is doing goes against her promise, sure, but it is not undemocratic.

    ________________________________________

    “Can’t you already picture the wingnuts making exactly the same excuses that lefties are making on this thread? “Sure Abbot broke an election promise, but it’s the right policy decision so I have no problem with what he did.””

    Absolutely, but I don’t really have a horse in this race, Carbon Tax is meh, the ETS was better. My argument is that they all break promises, all of them, some promises are more important than others but as with everyone, I judge them on their actions and as it happens Gillard is a massive fail (IMO)

    “The ideal system is NOT one in which politicians are free to make whatever election commitment they want in order to obtain votes while being under no obligation to actually deliver on those promises.

    Mate, the ideal system doesn’t exist…… And will not until I’m in complete control Muwahahahahahaha!

    “I’m fighting on this thread to try to get people here to realise that by backing Gillard on this tax they are moving Australia away from the democratic ideal.”

    Hmmmmmm, well I favour the tax over ‘direct action’ and I like democracy but realistically seeking a direct democracy is the only workable type. Someone on another blog suggested politicians should be flogged for breaking promises, a bit harsh I reckon, they get three years, then we get to vote them out, if we forget what they did and suck up the BS in the MSM then shame on us…

  118. mondo here’s the thing.

    Julia Gillard made 2 conflicting promises.

    Here the Australian from August 20th last year – the day before the election:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillards-carbon-price-promise/story-fn59niix-1225907522983

    Headline is:

    Julia Gillard’s carbon price promise

    then there is a big picture of Gillard,

    Then the first line of the article, in bold effective a sub heading:

    “JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.”

    She ruled out a Carbon Tax, but she promised a price on Carbon. And she promised tyo do it by negotiating with whoeverThe alleged Carbon Tax isn’t actually a tax tho, its a cap and trade system with a fixed price for the first few years.

    She was remarkably prescient when she said this:

    “While any carbon price would not be triggered until after the 2013 election, Ms Gillard would have two potential legislative partners next term – the Coalition or the Greens. She would legislate the carbon price next term if sufficient consensus existed.”

    This is exactly whats happened.

    Saying she has broken her promise is abusing semantics to warp people’s perception of reality.

    “It’s like MK-ULTRA, controlling your brain
    Suggestive thinking, causing your perspective to change”

  119. “The ideal system is NOT one in which politicians are free to make whatever election commitment they want in order to obtain votes while being under no obligation to actually deliver on those promises. “

    Of course, that’s not the case. They are under such an obligation. The obligation is to the people who believed the promise, and the recourse is that those people can vote against them next time; and other people tempted to believe a promise by that person will be less likely to.

    It’s just not an obligation the electoral law enforces, and it’s not an obligation other parties should enforce.

    Unless you want to appoint an independent HONESTY IN POLITICS arbiter or something, this is the system we have. If you don’t trust a politician, don’t vote for them. If you want to have more of a say, don’t vote for a big party – and demand more regular elections.

  120. Jeremy: But most of the people complaining now demanded no such change when the other mob was in.

    You’re right, of course, but by apeing their behaviour now you give them the opportunity to say exactly the same thing when they are next in power.

    Look – I don’t favour direct democracy, or plebiscites on every issue or anything like that. What I favour is a clear statement from the Australian people in the form of expressed opinion that breaking such a direct election promise is simply not acceptable. I want the progressive Left to stand up and say “we won’t support you if you explicitly promise to do one thing but then do another” – period.

    But that’s not what I’m seeing. I’m seeing mealy mouthed excuses and arguments that abuse of democratic principle isn’t ideal but is tolerable as long as it serves our interests.

    How quickly we jettison our principle when the carrot of real power is dangled in front of our faces.

    SB said it best above: ” Apparently politicians have no duty to defend the democratic system and all those complaints I made about John Howard corrupting our democracy were misplaced. Sadly nobody here told me this at the time. I now understand that the only duty politicians have is to ram through their agenda by any means necessary”

  121. Jules: Gillard said “There will be no carbon tax under a government that I lead”. She then introduced a carbon tax.

    This is not an abuse of semantics, nor an attempt to warp people’s reality.

    This is just a good old broken campaign promise. Stop denying it.

  122. Jeremy
    Strangely, those who purport to believe in the power of the market also seem big fans of an electoral system that reduces choice and competition.

    Matched only by their support of bailouts to the Lucky Sperm Club when the market burns them, so they’re at least consistent.

    Ideally we’d have a plebiscite on every major policy

    Yes, but Athens had one of those (ok, technically a referendum) on wether to have ANOTHER war with Sparta – so it can go horribly wrong just as easily.

    mondo
    I’m not “having a go at Gillard”, I am merely trying to force others here to accept the reality that Gillard has broken an election promise.

    That she’s being a politician? What kind of gormless buffoons do you take them for?
    They never imagined that she wasn’t just another pollie – or that she was ever going to scrap the carbon price, no matter what she said.
    Or that election promises were ever worth the paper they’re on.

    Or that abandoning an already-unpopular position is undemocratic (it’s inconsistent, and not a good look, but not undemocratic).
    Paul Keating abandoned the GST when it became clear that the voters just wouldn’t have it, same thing. He wanted it, we didn’t, it went – that’s democracy.

    No matter how many ways you think of to say otherwise.

    SB
    What a pathetically stunted and morally retarded view of democracy you have.

    Back to my favourite Wiki page of all time
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    You are really raping the shit out of that straw-man tonight!

    What is it with conservatives and having long hard things forced down throats, or forced into (or out of) anuses?
    I have no bookmark for gaydar, so…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

  123. Splatterbottom

    Lykurgus straw men have many orifices. I didn’t specify which one as I suspect all are at risk, including a few new ones created in this lewd lustful frenzy. Also Gaydar is passe. Grindr is where the action is.

  124. Lykurgus: Paul Keating abandoned the GST when it became clear that the voters just wouldn’t have it, same thing. He wanted it, we didn’t, it went – that’s democracy.

    This observation actually supports my argument.

  125. “Gillard said “There will be no carbon tax under a government that I lead”. She then introduced a carbon tax.

    This is not an abuse of semantics, nor an attempt to warp people’s reality.

    This is just a good old broken campaign promise. Stop denying it.” – mondo

    Did you read the link, where she promised to legislate a Carbon Price, in the Australian. Ruled out a tax on C. As of yet no tax on C.

    Here is the MPCCC’s criteria page for a carbon price mechanism:

    The govt fixes the price for 3 to 5 years, after which time we should have a limit on the actual emissions we will be allowing per year – however many tons of Co2 we produce. That will be the CO2 thats allowed to be emitted for that year and emitters can pay for the cO2 emission licences. You understand this will be in conjunction with a cap on emissions right? Thats a fundamental part of it, tho the cap probably won’t be enforced till the 3 or 5 years are up.

    Personally I don’t necessarily trust this mechanism, and would prefer a flat out tax on Carbon. But that isn’t happening. The MPCCC isn’t investigating how to tax Co2 production. Its investigating how to limit CO2 emissions and create a market to trade the right to emit that limited amount of CO2. This is not a Carbon tax.

    Thats why it irritates me that we keep being told we are being offered/given/subjected to one.

    Cos we aren’t.

  126. Jules,

    Yes, technically that is correct, it’s not a carbon tax,…..but no seems to care much, despite the relevancy to any concern over broken promises.

  127. SB said it best above: ” Apparently politicians have no duty to defend the democratic system and all those complaints I made about John Howard corrupting our democracy were misplaced. Sadly nobody here told me this at the time. I now understand that the only duty politicians have is to ram through their agenda by any means necessary”

    So, supposing the Greens otherwise supported the carbon tax (in whatever form it is proposed) and their constituents clearly called upon them to support it when the details was revealed, they’d be duty-bound in your view to oppose it, solely because Gillard promised to do something different in the lead-up to the previous election? They’d be obliged to thwart the implementation of what they otherwise considered good policy and do so against the wishes of their constituents, and solely to defend the honour of democracy against the breaking of an election promise made by someone in a completely different political party? That’s interesting.

  128. My comment (currently awaiting moderation) is addressed to mondo, not SB.

  129. “They’d be obliged to thwart the implementation of what they otherwise considered good policy and do so against the wishes of their constituents, and solely to defend the honour of democracy against the breaking of an election promise made by someone in a completely different political party? That’s interesting.”

    It’s demented and anti-democratic, in fact.

  130. Buns – kudos for actually digesting the content of my argument and picking out the most obvious problem with it.

    In principle yes, if the Greens were committed to preserving Australian democracy they would encourage Gillard to seek a mandate for this change instead of ramming it through despite it representing the breaking of a pre-election pledge (not to mention the current large-scale community opposition). They would recognise that the Australian people as a whole aren’t yet convinced of this policy, and they would seek to change our minds through evidence and reasoned argument.

    This is what being committed to upholding a principle means – it means being prepared to argue against your own self-interest in defence of that principle. Think of the Civil Libertarians who fight for the right of the KKK to spew hate-speech, or those who argue that the Australian government should have pushed for David Hicks to receive a fair trial.

    Jeremy may well see this sort of commitment to principle as ‘demented’, but in fact it is the only intellectually consistent approach to take.

    Having said all that I don’t actually expect the Greens to uphold democratic principle in the way I theorised above. They are a political party whose overarching goal is the implementation of their preferred policy platform and not the preservation of Australian democracy – despite the impression they may have given SB. I expect them to be hypocrites, because all politicians are.

    I do, however, expect commenters here to recognise the hole they’re digging for themselves by so enthusiastically making excuses for the clear-cut and cynical breaking of an election promise by Julia Gillard.

  131. “Buns – kudos for actually digesting the content of my argument and picking out the most obvious problem with it.”

    Perhaps you could’ve read some of my replies – I repeatedly pointed out what you were demanding was for the Greens to quite undemocratically betray their voters.

    “they would encourage Gillard to seek a mandate for this change instead of ramming it through despite it representing the breaking of a pre-election pledge (not to mention the current large-scale community opposition).”

    We all know that’s not a realistic option, and it’s not a realistic option BECAUSE everyone’s been operating within the existing system.

    I support reforming that system to make it more democratic, but it’s completely unreasonable to demand that it happen in the middle of negotiations for a complex policy about which so much total rubbish has been spread.

    “Jeremy may well see this sort of commitment to principle as ‘demented’, but in fact it is the only intellectually consistent approach to take.”

    On the contrary, standing for the policies they advocated before the election is the only intellectually consistent approach to take.

    It’s like the donations thing – the idea that the Greens are somehow hypocritical for accepting a large donation when they want donations for all parties capped. You’re suggesting that rather than just supporting full scale reform that applies to call, they apply the parts to their own detriment first, thereby ultimately – when the self-destruction sabotages their ability to effectively advocate anything – making it impossible for the reform to actually happen.

    You still haven’t explained why it’s the Greens’ “democratic duty” to betray their voters and appoint themselves the Parliament’s Honesty Police.

  132. narcoticmusing

    If I was having a beer with you or Narcotic

    SB, surely you know I only drink lattes and/or sip chardonnay? 😉 Now excuse me while I adjust my monocle.

    There’s a long, LONG line between the social progressives and economic progressives and actual communists. I haven’t seen any evidence that actual communists
    I think this nails where a lot of the confusion/hyperbole comes from. People try to put people in a box with a neat little label to try to some how undermine them. We want people with a variety of ideas and concepts and dare I say, even principles, providing they all have a few common ones we all agree are critical (although even the most fundamental ones seem to be a joke with the soundbite media run governments but I digress…)

    I believe in the idea of socialist democracy, while maintaining some sacred cows, not because they are too hard, but because they do actually work really well – private property ownership for example. It has lots of flaws but its strengths, in my humble and perhaps not as advanced/informed opinion as some commentators here, outweigh the weaknesses.

    All that being said, I do not think it is the role for the Greens to ‘keep the bastards honest’. That was the Democrats promise. There are many mechanisms to promote access to and transparency of government, but few will be perfect.

    Transparency of government is a big problem for governments at the moment, not because they have something to hide per se, but because the media, in their desperate bid to make stories out of nothing, will pull out stuff without context (much like quoting the bible huh?) and misrepresent the situation. This is particularly the case when you then have oppositions (regardless of political persuasion) using the media to play their games (rather than the opposition actually having a position or engaging in constructive debate), they encourage and create these farcical situations which then lead successive governments to be quite understandably afraid.

    Truth doesn’t hurt governments nearly as much as misrepresentation of truth. Which I unfortunately think is a significant issue in a country with one provider of news in almost every jurisdiction.

    As for Gillard – I agree that it is semantics to distinguish between a price and a tax for the common man and thus that should be how it is read. Her audience was not sophisticated business analysts or bankers. Nevertheless, I also agree that one cannot assume she had a mandate not to introduce a carbon price/tax when her party (and thus their mandates) were not elected in their own right, requiring a level of compromise. This is appropriate and democratic – LibCo would have had to compromise on their promises too. ALP votes can judge Gillard for that broken promise, but no other, for no other voted for her and thus no other acted in reliance on that promise. Perhaps some voted Greens because of that promise, and thus their vote has lead to the compromise to revoke her promise.

    The Greens should be praised for their strong avocation of a policy that is clearly within the interests and mandate of their voters. It will, however, be interesting to see the final product.

    Gah, apologies for such a long post.

  133. narcoticmusing

    Can I also add an agreement with Jordan’s rumblings about the new WordPress system… its buttons are very unresponsive and its login system now poor at best.

    No reflection on you Lefty 🙂

  134. “Yes, technically that is correct, it’s not a carbon tax,…..but no seems to care much, despite the relevancy to any concern over broken promises.”

    And people wonder why the human race is on the verge of dying of stupidity. Anyway I’m glad someone noticed.

    Its not like words should actually correspond to what their definitions actually mean. No wonder the trad media can speak utter bullshit and get away with it.

  135. Perhaps you could’ve read some of my replies – I repeatedly pointed out what you were demanding was for the Greens to quite undemocratically betray their voters.

    A fair call.

  136. Splatterbottom

    Quite right. It is not a carbon tax, it is a carbon dioxide tax.

  137. It’s a tax on a whole host of greenhouse-related carbon compounds, SB, as I assume you know.

  138. Splatterbottom

    Where do you get that from, Jeremy. The initial statement didn’t specify any other gasses. So far they have only been talking about a price per ton of CO2. At least you admit it is a tax.

  139. Jules,

    It is concerning.

    I thouhgt it was interesting, and somewhat to Gillard’s credit (not acknowledged muchIIRC), that while she did start off defining it as it really is, ie not a carbon tax, she pretty quickly gave up and basically said ‘ ok call it a carbon tax if you want’.

    She got some brownie points from me (about the only ones so far) for being willing to let the definitional argument go and focus the debate on the substance. Not that it’s done her much good.

  140. Perhaps you could’ve read some of my replies – I repeatedly pointed out what you were demanding was for the Greens to quite undemocratically betray their voters.

    Sorry Lefty – I didn’t notice that as part of your argument in the debate I was having with you, and I wasn’t reading your responses to SB word for word.

    On the contrary, standing for the policies they advocated before the election is the only intellectually consistent approach to take.

    Indeed – if the Greens have not professed a superior commitment to democratic principle as part of their policy platform (and to my knowledge they haven’t) then there’s nothing inconsistent about working within the system and getting their actual agenda up any way they can.

    SB obviously disagrees and has argued above that there is an express, or at least implied, commitment by the Greens that they will rise above the ordinary political bastadry. But that hasn’t been my argument: for the reasons you (and I) have already given I don’t actually expect them to go to the wall in order to defend an abstract principle.

    My issue has consistently been with the commenters here, and the apparent refusal of some to recognise that by supporting the immediate implementation of Gillard’s carbon tax they are taking an undemocratic position.

    There’s nothing wrong with that per-se – I mean there are more important things than democracy (like saving the planet) – but it is what it is.

  141. Jules and Gadj

    Technically, a “tax” is an impost on a revenue stream, and since carbon is a physical element there cannot be such a thing as a “carbon tax”. The term, taken literally, is nonsensical.

    Which is why everyone understands that “Carbon Tax” is shorthand for “Carbon Price”. They are one and the same, and we are about to be subjected to them.

  142. nawagadj –

    “She got some brownie points from me (about the only ones so far) for being willing to let the definitional argument go and focus the debate on the substance. Not that it’s done her much good.”:

    I know. I blame the insanely stupid population we have at the moment.

    Its not a tax its an emissions trading scheme. Jeremy, SB, mondo, whoever else – its not a tax its an emissions trading scheme.

    A fixed price for now leading to a ETS may look like a tax, may effectively function like a tax as far as you’re concerned, may be harder to spell or pronounce than a tax, but it isn’t one, and pretending it is justs contributes to the dumbing down of Australian culture. When people (well companies) start trading their emissions permits how will it be a tax?

    What part of that don’t people get?

    So far all we have got is JooLiar or great big new tax on brain farts.

    One vote in a leadership challenge 2 years ago has lead to all this. Unrule.

  143. “Indeed – if the Greens have not professed a superior commitment to democratic principle as part of their policy platform (and to my knowledge they haven’t) then there’s nothing inconsistent about working within the system and getting their actual agenda up any way they can.”

    I disagree with the implication that there’s something dirty about negotiating with the other parties who won seats. That’s precisely what the Greens were elected to do. They are acting entirely democratically and ethically by doing it.

    “SB obviously disagrees and has argued above that there is an express, or at least implied, commitment by the Greens that they will rise above the ordinary political bastadry. “

    And they do. By, for example, not lying to their voters.

    “My issue has consistently been with the commenters here, and the apparent refusal of some to recognise that by supporting the immediate implementation of Gillard’s carbon tax they are taking an undemocratic position. “

    Only in the sense of accepting the present system, with its many undemocratic flaws.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone here (other than me) who does think there should be a real check on this sort of behaviour by dishonest major parties by
    – having an electoral system that doesn’t effectively rule out most choice (so many voters are stuck voting for liars because it’s them or the Greens and they don’t agree with progressive policy); and
    – having more frequent elections (so you can punish a party that lies to you more quickly).

    Anyone keen on my suggested changes? No? Pity. THAT would be real democracy.

  144. Mondo,

    You seem to be conceding that this isn’t a tax……yet your whole ‘anti-democratic’ thing is based an argument that it’s a tax and Gillard said she wouldn’t introduce one.

    Got me beat.

    Jeremy,

    I agrree with you in principle but not on the specific proposal (more frequent elections) because I’m strongly opposed to ‘direct democracy’ on the grounds that it narrows our definition of democracy to voting.

    Voting was not meant to be the pinnacle of democracy, just an important element in it. Participation is the core (and the vote did, early on, represent participation in a very significant way), and extending the scope of participation is what, IMHO, is the goal in improving democracy.

  145. “Which is why everyone understands that “Carbon Tax” is shorthand for “Carbon Price”. They are one and the same, and we are about to be subjected to them.”

    Mondo check my link @ 10:53 today.

    Here it is again.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillards-carbon-price-promise/story-fn59niix-1225907522983

    From the day before the election. An article in the The Oz pointing out that Julia Gillard promised to bring in a Carbon (read CO2) Price.

    The day before the election.

    In case you missed that Gillard promised to bring in a carbon (read co2) price at the last election.

    She did it the day before the election.

    Ok – the day before the election Gillard promised to bring in a Carbon (read Co2) price.

    Its in the link above.

    In case anyone STILL hasn’t got it.

    If a Carbon (read CO2) Tax is shorthand for a Carbon (read CO2) Price then Gillard isn’t breaking a promise bringing one in she is keeping a promise.

    One that was a headline in the Oz the day before the election. And all this bullshit about her lying is just that.

    Bullshit.

    Carbon (read CO2) Tax is only Shorthand for Carbon (read CO2) Price cos its a propaganda technique started by the far right Faux-libertarian classical Fascist (as in corporatist) Randian fuckwits that don’t want to pay for the damage they are doing to the planet.

    Its propagating a lie.

    The term “Carbon (read CO2) Tax” is only shorthand for “Carbon (read CO2) Price” if you want to misrepresent what a Carbon price is and misrepresent what the Labor Party said and Gillard said at the last election.

    So, just to be as clear as is possible.

    A carbon tax is only shorthand for a Carbon (Blah blah blah) price if you are a liar and are attempting to deceive the Australian people for political gain.

    Got that?

  146. jordanrastrick

    A fixed price for now leading to a ETS may look like a tax, may effectively function like a tax as far as you’re concerned, may be harder to spell or pronounce than a tax, but it isn’t one, and pretending it is justs contributes to the dumbing down of Australian culture

    If the phrase “carbon tax” means anything at all, and the Prime Minister’s use of a term hopefully indicates she intended it to, it includes at least any scheme in which there is a fixed price on carbon.

    A tax that transitions to an ETS is still, until its done transitioning, an ETS. While I don’t think its as big a deal as Tony Abbott would have everyone believe, and its absurd to hold the Greens culpable for it as SB is doing here, its still a broken election promise.

    having an electoral system that doesn’t effectively rule out most choice (so many voters are stuck voting for liars because it’s them or the Greens and they don’t agree with progressive policy);

    Surely the success of the Greens indicates a party with 10% or so electoral support can in fact achieve significant influence within our existing electoral system.

    I do support incremental reform towards a more proportional and representative system, as it happens. I just like to question gung-ho advocacy of such changes as purely beneficial that don’t recognise the trade offs involved and the limitations of other mechanisms.

    having more frequent elections (so you can punish a party that lies to you more quickly).

    It also means if a government tried to implement any moderately complex, longer term, unpopular policy, even without breaking promises, they probably would not be given a chance to let the public see it in action; rather they would just be voted out straight away on the back of scare campaigns.

    You used to express opposition to government by referendum, Jeremy, but these days it seems your views are marching steadily in that direction.

  147. “Surely the success of the Greens indicates a party with 10% or so electoral support can in fact achieve significant influence within our existing electoral system.”

    Yes, but it takes a VERY long time, and it’s still almost impossible for them to compete in the lower house.

    The barriers to entry are far too high, which is why the big parties can get away with lying to their voters – alternatives are few and far between.

    “It also means if a government tried to implement any moderately complex, longer term, unpopular policy, even without breaking promises, they probably would not be given a chance to let the public see it in action; rather they would just be voted out straight away on the back of scare campaigns.”

    And that doesn’t happen now? Well, it would happen now if SB, Mondo, Tony and News Ltd had their way.

    “You used to express opposition to government by referendum, Jeremy, but these days it seems your views are marching steadily in that direction.”

    Well… I’m yet to see a workable model, since they’re expensive and so much hinges on the wording, and since you can’t realistically put a complex question in a referendum.

    I’d rather a more representative parliament with more regular elections.

  148. narcoticmusing

    I’d like to see the first of Mr J’s suggestions, but not the latter.

    I like the idea of multi-party legislature, to enable a clearer mandate and a more representative government. Not sure how to get it to work, but I’m sure there are many far brighter chaps than me out there who can figure something out that isn’t as broken as 1 to 1.

    The idea of more frequent elections makes me shudder, not because I’m complacent but because it really underestimates how long it takes a new government to get their act together and start to run things. I dare say only those that have worked in government departments and seen a new Minister or new Government come into play (or a large machinery of government re-organisation which can take years to settle). This means you introduce massive levels on nonproductive government and/or fatigue in the public service (not to mention voter fatigue).

    Additionally, I think we have enough barriers to long term planning and implementation thanks to the aforementioned media/opposition circus tactics. Yes a more representative system would reduce that, but not overnight. So as one rises you need to balance the other. It is like trying to invest in prevention, doesn’t mean you can stop investing in treatment now just because you’ll get less in the future to treat.

    I’d also like to raise the bar and see the media AND politicians be forced to comply with similar provision to those in the TPA to discourage deliberate misleading and deceptive conduct rather than our current system that rewards it.

  149. “If the phrase “carbon tax” means anything at all, and the Prime Minister’s use of a term hopefully indicates she intended it to, it includes at least any scheme in which there is a fixed price on carbon.

    A tax that transitions to an ETS is still, until its done transitioning, an ETS. While I don’t think its as big a deal as Tony Abbott would have everyone believe, and its absurd to hold the Greens culpable for it as SB is doing here, its still a broken election promise.”

    Since you didn’t read the link above, where she promised to bring in an ETS the day before the election here’s the relevent bit:

    * “JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.

    It will be part of a bold series of reforms that include school funding, education and health.

    In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.

    “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”

    This is the strongest message Ms Gillard has sent about action on carbon pricing.” !

    There you go, legislated market based mechanism, carbon tax ruled out. If you want to call this a carbon tax then be aware it isn’t the same thing as the carbon tax she specifically ruled out last year. BTW WRET community being redy,m twice now we have voted for a govt to do something.

    Twice the elected govt promised to bring in a market based carbon price. As of yet none.

    SO yeah up until she said she was gonna bring in a Carbon Price using the MPCCC she hadn’t fulfilled her election promise to legislate a market based carbon price.
    The promise she made the day before the election. The one I quoted above, between asterix and obelisk

    The phrase carbon tax means that all carbon dioxide production is taxed from now on.

    Thats what it means.

    Unless you want to dishonestly pretend it means something else for political gain.

    There is no middle ground on this.

  150. BTW WRET community being redy,m twice now

    Should be

    btw wrt community being ready, twice now

  151. SB
    …have many orifices….lewd lustful frenzy…Gaydar is passe… Grindr is where the action is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freudian_slip

    Still with the orifices, and the lewd lustful frenzies

    I didn’t know there was a matchmaking website called Gaydar, but kudos for finally coming out, SB.

    Mondo
    This observation actually supports my argument.

    Then perhaps I should send you daily reminders of what your arguments are.

  152. Mondo, You seem to be conceding that this isn’t a tax……

    Then you didn’t read my comment very closely Gadj. What I have said is that a carbon price is a carbon tax. Arguing now that Gillard’s promise not to introduce a carbon tax wasn’t broken because, technically, there’s no such thing as a carbon tax is a meaningless and false distinction.

    Although, having said that I will concede to Jules that it’s a false distinction that Gillard herself seems to have relied on in the article linked above. Clearly, at least when that article was penned, Gillard didn’t understand what she has now conceded – i.e. that “Tax” = “Price”.

    But at the end of the day that line of argument is irrelevant. Gillard has publicly accepted that her current policy is a carbon tax, and that she has therefore broken an election commitment.

    Jules – since you seem to like repetition I’ll post that again:

    Gillard has publicly accepted that her current policy is a carbon tax, and that she has therefore broken an election commitment.

    It’s certainly been an education for me to watch how eager the progressive side of politics has been to defend her in this case. A minority of the population manages to ram through an unpopular change in law despite the current PM promising not to do so as part of her most recent election platform, and some here hail this as democracy in action.

    I must be working from a different definition.

  153. Has anyone seen posters up around Sydney saying things like “all pregnancies must be authorised’, with a logo saying Australian Interior Authority?? Who’s behind this?

  154. “What I have said is that a carbon price is a carbon tax. Arguing now that Gillard’s promise not to introduce a carbon tax wasn’t broken because, technically, there’s no such thing as a carbon tax is a meaningless and false distinction.”

    This is complete bollocks and I no longer trust what you are saying. An ETS and a Carbon Tax and 2 different methods of pricing excessive industrial carbon dioxide production. There is such thing as a Carbon Tax, in theory. What the govt is proposing isn’t one.

    Saying they are the same thing is wrong.

    It is dishonest and deceptive and by continuing to claim that they they are the same you are being dishonest and deceptive mondo.

    Or what.

    I’ll assume you know a GST is a tax, ie a method of raising revenue based on the monopoly of currency the Australian govt has. A carbon tax means that all carbon dioxide production will have a similar levy attatched.

    The ETS is a different thing. IT attempts to limit the industrial production of CO2 to a certain level. People who want to produce CO2 in excessive amounts must then pay for a licence to produce some of that, I assume that once this happens then the right to produce co2 must be traded. Honestly this is the point where we need more specific information and where the whole process could go to shit. I’m happy to concede that.

    What I won’t concede is that this somehow makes this a tax, cos it doesn’t.

    You cannot change the definition of things just to suit your political opinion or your lazy use of language. A carbon tax is one thing, an emissions trading thing is another and to claim they are the same is wrong.

    Up is not down, two plus two is not five and an emissions trading thing is not a tax on carbon dioxide production.

    “Gillard has publicly accepted that her current policy is a carbon tax, and that she has therefore broken an election commitment. ”

    Then she is an idiot too (something I’ll happily concede) cos an emissions trading scheme is not a tax.

    Unless you consider something like an irrigation license to be a tax, because an ETS has more in common with that process than it does with the GST. If thats the case then …. I dunno but it doesn’t make for ease of communication.

    “Clearly, at least when that article was penned, Gillard didn’t understand what she has now conceded – i.e. that “Tax” = “Price”.”

    Read that back to yourself slowly and reflect on what sort of mentality it takes to think that way.

  155. Splatterbottom

    Jules: “There is such thing as a Carbon Tax, in theory. What the govt is proposing isn’t one.”

    First you need to understand what a tax is. Fortunately there are cases on what ‘tax’ means. Basically a tax is “a compulsory exaction of money by a public authority for public purposes, enforceable by law, and is not a payment for services rendered.” All manner of levies, duties and royalties have been held to be taxes, and that definition has been extended since it was adopted in 1938. There is no doubt that an exaction based on carbon dioxide emitted is a tax.

    This is a tax pure and simple. It will go into general revenue and be pissed against the wall as the government pleases. When are you going to give up on this nonsense? Everybody else has.

  156. This is a bit of lesson for anyone wanting to elevate the debate.

    First Gillard tries to argue the technically correct case – it’s not a carbon tax.

    In the face of a focus on the phrase ‘carbon tax’, she basically says ‘ OK, OK, let’s say it is a carbon tax and just get on with the substance of the debate’.

    Which then leads to the obsession with – ‘if it’s a carbon tax, you broke your election promise’.

    Lucky this is not an extremely serious issue, otherwise our tendency to wallow in the trivia might be a major problem.

  157. This is a tax pure and simple. It will go into general revenue and be pissed against the wall as the government pleases. When are you going to give up on this nonsense? Everybody else has.

    Do you consider water allocations, and paying for irrigation licenses to be a tax SB?

    An ETS is based on govt regulation – the govt will limit the allocation of rights to produce industrial CO2. (Cos we agreed to cut our emissions once upon a time.) The rights to produce that co2 will then be traded under some market process. For a while those rights will have the price regulated by govt. This price will be deregulated in 3 to 5 years to allow the “market to set a reasonable price” cos these days the market is god or something.

    A Carbon Tax is a straight addition of cost to all CO2 production. At a rate high enough to drive down CO2 production by whatever is deemed necessary to meet whatever targets we set. See the difference. I agree its not a huge difference, and the ETS has huge potential for a speculators market that’ll drive up CO2 production costs even higher than necessary or than a straight Carbon tax would. There is a difference.

    “When are you going to give up on this nonsense? Everybody else has.”

    No they haven’t, plenty of us are just getting more and more sick of the stupid.

    Of all the real things you lot could be criticising the govt for, you pick this. Which is a false simulation of reality, not a real thing. She didn’t fucking break a promise you stupid arseholes. You went into the election claiming she’d bring in an ETS, and she is trying to now, even has a multi party committee working on it. But you lot are all the plukochracy’s bitches so when it barks all fall instep.

    If you want to call any carbon price a tax then you have to recognise that this carbon price mechanism is not the one Gillard rules out when she ruled out a carbon tax as per that link in the Australian.

    Otherwise what you are saying is just more lies from faux-libertarian crypto-fascist liars.

    For anyone reading this that still doesn’t think there is a difference between the two here is a link:

    http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091123235938AAQ54kB

    Here is one that argues for a Carbon Tax, instead of an ETS, for those of you that still think they are the same thing:

    http://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/carbon-tax-needed-not-cap-and-trade-emission-trading-scheme-ets

    Really SB and mondo, you guys are showing levels of ignorance that would embarass a schoolkid, or you are being dishonest for political purposes. There is no other explanation.

    To accept what you are saying you would have to accept that Gillard either promised to do nothing or to adopt the oppositions policy of giving money to polluters to keep polluting on the strict condition the might do something about reducing emissions later if they felt like it. Clearly this didn’t happen so you can just give it up.

  158. er, that first para should be a quote, it was SB aid it not me.

  159. narcoticmusing

    < It’s certainly been an education for me to watch how eager the progressive side of politics has been to defend her in this case.

    Mondo, that is simply not the case and you seem to be either refusing to consider other view points or just not reading them before repeating your own. Somehow you are convinced of the above statement, people have rebutted this repeatedly. For your convenience, I’ll summarise:

    1. Gillard promised (a) no carbon tax – correct. She also promised prior to the election that she would (b) bring in a carbon price. So if she does (a) or (b) and you think (a) = (b), then either way, you’ll say she lied. The fact that she promised both (a) and (b) suggests she saw these as different. Jules has put up rather convincing evidence that (a) actually is not (b). Nevertheless, I agree with SB that due to the unsophisticated audience and the initial implementation of the regime, (a) is at least close enough to (b) for the common man to not understand the difference.

    2. Gillard admitted it was a tax later. Actually, she initially debated it wasn’t but as the debate was getting bogged down in pretty petty things she conceded to get into the meat of the debate. As much as I cringe, I admire this stance but at the same time, think it was foolish because it just added ammunition to people that wanted to believe it was a lie.

    3. So, let’s assume it was a lie regardless of 1 and 2 above. No one here is advocating or endorsing a politician lying just because they like the outcome. What has been repeatedly pointed out, however, is that the only people that should really be pissed are those that voted ALP in reliance of that lie. No one else voted for her lies or truths so what does it matter to you? Aren’t you just being one of these ‘professional offence takers’ that SB talks about? Taking offence by proxy? However, we are all against the concept in principle and are all just as appalled at the idea.

    4. The Greens are being anti-democratic by pushing this ‘behind closed doors’ and we are happy because we got our way. No, the Greens committed to advocating for a carbon reduction scheme and for no citizen’s assembly on it that just wastes time while pandering to people who we shouldn’t (climate skeptics – seriously guys, if 9 doctors told you you had cancer and 1 didn’t – even if he is a Lord – does that mean you shouldn’t act on the cancer? FFS).

    5. The last point you constantly, conveniently ignore: Gillard’s government did not win in their own right. This created an obligation to compromise/negotiate with the independents, all of them, not just the Greens. By definition, to compromise or negotiate means to shift your position. So even if she was anti-tax and pro-citizens assembly, the only clear mandate the electorate gave her is that the didn’t like all of either party so wanted some sort of compromise. Which is what they got. Those that voted for Gillard in reliance of the no carbon tax promise can happily vote against her next time.

    In summary:
    This isn’t the progressives defending Gillard because it suits their side, it is the comprehension of the word COMPROMISE, which was a requirement of a government not elected in its own right. It is also the progressives being pleased that what they did vote for, advocating for climate change action, is occuring. This is democracy in action.

  160. Splatterbottom

    Jules: “that first para should be a quote, it was SB said it not me.”

    I thought you were having an attack of common sense for a moment there!

    This is really simple. The courts have looked many times at the definition of tax. The word ‘tax’ has an accepted meaning and Gillard’s carbon (dioxide) tax is well within that meaning. Logic trumps shrill hysteria every time.

  161. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “if 9 doctors told you you had cancer and 1 didn’t – even if he is a Lord – does that mean you shouldn’t act on the cancer?

    Depends on the risk of acting. If 8 of the 9 were quacks, I would be a bit cautious about having my head amputated.

    “Gillard’s government did not win in their own right. This created an obligation to compromise/negotiate with the independents, all of them, not just the Greens. By definition, to compromise or negotiate means to shift your position.”

    Gillard said that there will be no carbon tax under a government she leads. If she had any moral fibre she could have put her job on the line, and if necessary resigned. Sadly she has OD’d on another type of fibre with the natural consequence that she is now shitting all over her own country.

  162. narcoticmusing

    SB, your example was purposefully disingenuous. We aren’t talking about an action dramatic enough that would kill you, but perhaps something like chemo that could cause some pain – hell we aren’t even contemplating surgery to remove the cancer, that would be like banning all carbon emissions straight up. And I said doctors for a reason. They aren’t ‘quacks’ who support climate change. It is the vast majority of credible scientists across the globe. The reason people can name those opposed is because there are so few of them.

    SB, as with Mondo, you have purposefully cherry picked my response. Did you miss the part where she also promised a carbon price before the election? So either way, according to you, she should resign. Regardless, your faux out-rage at someone you never in a million years would’ve voted for regardless of what she promised is pretty interesting coming from someone who despises professional offence takers. My point is not to attack the irony in your outrage, but to suggest to you that Gillard promised (a) and (b). Now, either she contradicted herself or she believed they were different. Either way, the only people affected are those that voted in reliance of her not doing (a). You weren’t impacted, you never voted for her nor ever would.

    Abbot has also lied and gone back on promises, so by should he too resign? Should Abbot put his job on the line and if necessary resign, if anyone in his party dares to not entertain a ‘nicer politic’ that he promised? I’d sure like him to but I didn’t vote for him so either way, I never chose to be impacted by his promise.

  163. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “It is the vast majority of credible scientists across the globe.”

    I trust you understand how stupid that statement is.

    “Gillard promised (a) and (b). Now, either she contradicted herself or she believed they were different.

    Or the later statement qualified the former. Or it overruled the former. Or she was just spinning so furiously she couldn’t keep track of all the contradictions. Or she didn’t give a shit, she just needed to say that on that day to get a few votes.

    “You weren’t impacted, you never voted for her nor ever would.”

    As if you’d fucking know. Three points: Gillard wasn’t even standing in my electorate; my preference went to the ALP and was thus exhausted before it got to the Liberals; I haven’t voted for the Libs for at least 30 years.

  164. OK – let’s make this as simple as possible.

    Jules and Narc – can you please explain what the difference is, in your view, between a carbon tax and a carbon price.

    My view, as already expressed above, is that they are the same thing (and are entirely separate from an ETS, which is a carbon permit trading scheme).

    And Jules – I’ve never argued dishonestly here and if you accept nothing else I say please accept my assurances that I would not knowingly propogate false argument. I might get something totally wrong, but I would never make a dishonest argument.

  165. jordanrastrick

    FWIW my view, mondo, is that a price on carbon is any system where the government makes parties who emit carbon pay, or to put it another way, legally changes the price for emitting carbon from its natural value of $0. A tax is generally understood in this context to mean a scheme involving a fixed price per permit, while in contrast an ETS is a scheme with a fixed supply (with a further requirement that permits can be on sold); so they are both kinds of carbon prices.

    I also wrote an even stronger defence of my own pro-Labor credentials than SB (except I haven’t been alive 30 years to have not voted Liberal…) Its been swallowed twice so far, apparently. Third times a charm?

    The ALP got my first preference last election. I am one of the 30% that would give them my first preference if an election were held today. Julia Gillard is my preferred prime minister out of any prospective candidate. I not only support a carbon price, and would in a plebiscite approve one stronger than any likely to be legislated this term, I actually on balance prefer a tax to an ETS (in the above senses), although ultimately my own favoured model is essentially a permanent hybrid. I think given the choice between keeping her campaign commitment, and neither major party being able to form a government, the lesser evil was for the Prime Minister to agree to the carbon tax. And to top it off I am the son of a former Labor spin doctor, for whatever that’s worth.

    And I still say that Gillard broke her promise not to implement a tax.

    But maybe I’m just a crypto-fascist with a political agenda?

  166. narcoticmusing

    Apologies SB, I retract my incorrect assumption re your voting patterns. My point was primarily that I don’t endorse breaches of promises, but I did not act in reliance of that promise – nor did most of those loudest voices in the media who are complaining.

    Mondo; I’m utterly fatigued by your response. At least attempt to rebut people’s arguments, don’t just as us both to restate them. Jules has provided extensive reasoning as to why they are different. I don’t really care if they are different and I discussed the situation with a ‘regardless of if it is a lie or not’ point of view.

  167. Hi Jordan – your definition is in line with my understanding.

    A Carbon Tax/Price is a direct levy imposed on an emitter by Government based on the amount of carbon they emit. It is a bill sent at the end of the year saying “you emitted X tonnes of carbon and so you owe us $Y in tax”.

    As I understand it, this is the scheme currently proposed by the Gillard government.

    An ETS, on the other hand, is a permit trading system, under which emitters purchase permits that allow them to emit a certain volume of pollution, and are fined if they exceed that defined amount.

    The two are similar in outcome, but not the same in terms of process.

    It’s concerning that Jules appears not to understand this distinction and continues to distill our argument as: carbon tax = ETS, but I suppose I did get him to call me a “faux-libertarian crypto-fascist liar”. So that’s something at least.

    Narc: What has been repeatedly pointed out, however, is that the only people that should really be pissed are those that voted ALP in reliance of that lie. No one else voted for her lies or truths so what does it matter to you?

    Narc – this is absolutely the crux of my argument. It matters to me that a section of the Australian population has been tricked into voting for Gillard based on a lie.

    Obviously this is not as much of a big deal for you – you have intimated above that you have trouble understanding why I would worry about this group given that I’m not personally a member of it – but in my view it is a subversion of democracy and something that should be condemned.

    I think that statement is pretty much where I begin this thread, so it’s probably as good a place as any to end it.

  168. narcoticmusing

    [groans] Mondo, myself and many others here have stated, REPEATEDLY, that no one is endorsing a politician lying, particularly before an election. You continue to ignore that and quote me and others out of context as if that hadn’t been said over and over. For your convenience, I’ll quote myself for clarity (regarding any politician lying, but particularly in the context of pre-election):
    we are all against the concept in principle and are all just as appalled at the idea.

    Mondo, you don’t honestly believe that all the people out there are beating their chests over this because they care for those who voted for Gillard in reliance of this promise do you? They are just trying to divert the debate. Both of them have lied, we’ve all been duped (unless you voted Greens/independents) so I prefer to look at the actual debate.

    So stop pretending you care for those poor duped voters and I don’t. It is simply not true and a misrepresentation of what I said to make yourself appear on some moral high ground. Like your insidious suggestion the thread end there with ‘I’m the good guy, narc is the bad guy’ end, like some couple in a tiff, the one who says ‘I don’t want to argue’ doesn’t do it to not argue, they do it to make the other party a villain. I don’t take the bait so easily – this thread is here for debate. We both are against a politician lying, we are both against them duping voters to vote for them. Neither of us is morally superior.

    Mondo, you believe she lied; Jules believes she didn’t – all based on definitions. I don’t think it is particularly relevant because in the end, she had to compromise. That is the mandate the people gave her when they delivered a hung parliament. They said, we don’t like what you or Abbott is promising. So she had a mandate to negotiate. Thus, if she promised it or not, she had to negotiate and positions thus had to change.

  169. narcoticmusing

    And I still say that Gillard broke her promise not to implement a tax.

    I’m anti-ALP and I still say it is irrelevant because she lost any (vague) mandate from that promise when she didn’t win government in her own right, so she had no right to anything but compromise.

  170. jordanrastrick

    I’m anti-ALP and I still say it is irrelevant because she lost any (vague) mandate from that promise when she didn’t win government in her own right, so she had no right to anything but compromise.

    Sure, that’s reasonable, and I already said something pretty similar above. Gillard promised her voters no carbon tax but quite likely a carbon price (of some other form). The Greens promised their voters a carbon price that would likely involve a fixed pricing model at some point. With minority governments, clearly, no one can get exactly what they want, and so a tax that transitions to an ETS is not an unacceptable compromise to satisfy the will of both sets of voters. So I don’t think this is the disaster for our democracy that SB and to an extent Mondo seem to be claiming; a hung parliament was always going to confound everyone’s expectations somewhat, but that doesn’t mean we would have been better with indefinite elections until one party has a majority and thus an unequivocal mandate for their whole platform.

    What I won’t abide is Jules’ trying to claim the right to define the phrase carbon tax out of existence, when the meaning the PM intended was clear, both to herself and the majority of the engaged segment of her audience.

    I’m neither biased against the PM, nor out to damage her, nor stupid, nor a crypto-fascist liar. I’ve been informed a failure to accept a certain interpretation of the words “carbon tax” means one of these must be the case. But I say that’s a load of steaming bullshit, and its actually the attempt to claim “Julia Gillard’s statement had literally zero semantic content and therefore was not a promise, according to these rules I just made up about how to parse the phrase Carbon Tax, completely unsupported by anything but my own opinions” that is actually either dishonest and/or unreasonable.

    Now at this point I’d be prepared to simply agree to disagree about how words should be interpreted, but the rhetoric from Jules is a very Bush-esque “you’re with us or against us”. If that’s how it stands, well, it should be clear what side I prefer to be on.

  171. narcoticmusing

    Fair call Jordan. I didn’t take what Jules said that way, but I can see how it could be. What I read into it, on the whole (some specifics were, a tad odd, I concede), was that because Gillard had promised both no carbon tax and later to implement a carbon price. Ergo Gillard, at least, believed they were different (at least at the time). SB also raised some other valid rationales for Gillard saying these two seemingly contradictory (or not) statements.

    I personally think that Gillard should have understood her audience better and not made such irresponsible statements that were so easily able to mislead. Yes it matters that a price and a tax are different (my understanding of the crux of Jules’ argument), but given the models the public are familiar with, it is not unreasonable to think Gillard’s statement was at best, irresponsible and misleading to her audience.

  172. “I thought you were having an attack of common sense for a moment there!”

    SB

    Yeah, we can always hope but I doubt there is much chance of that…

    “So, let’s assume it was a lie regardless of 1 and 2 above. No one here is advocating or endorsing a politician lying just because they like the outcome.” Narcoticmusing

    Yeah but … ok don’t you guys get it? No one is supporting a lie, one of the reasons I preferenced ALP ahead of the Nationals/Liberals was because Gillard said she would at least act on climate change. Although I prefer a straight tax, or at least a shut down of modern technology for a month, at least an ETS may help change the way we do things.

    If Gillard had said she opposed to pricing CO2 production I may have actually preferenced the coalition ahead of her, (tho probably not). So saying it Gillard lied about a Carbon price doesn’t fit with reality.

    This is becoming Orwellian. Carbon Price via ETS = Carbon Tax, Carbon price via ETS has always = Carbon Tax.

  173. And Jules – I’ve never argued dishonestly here and if you accept nothing else I say please accept my assurances that I would not knowingly propogate false argument. I might get something totally wrong, but I would never make a dishonest argument.

    Mondo

    Fair enough. I’ll accept your word on that.

  174. “Jules and Narc – can you please explain what the difference is, in your view, between a carbon tax and a carbon price.

    My view, as already expressed above, is that they are the same thing (and are entirely separate from an ETS, which is a carbon permit trading scheme).”

    OK

    A carbon tax is where the govt determines the price for all production of CO2.

    An ETS allows the market to determine a Carbon price via the trading of the permits to produce carbon (well, CO2 actually.)

    Both mechanisms produce a carbon price – well a price for the production and atmospheric release of Carbon Dioxide.

    Gillards govt is attempting to bring in a carbon price via an ETS. They will cap, (or determine) the price for 3 to 5 years. The price will apply to permits that will be granted to the 1000 most co2 intensive businesses in the country.

    Because the govt has capped the price while the trading process is set up, and some of the proceeds from the sale of these permits to companies will compensate consumers for the price rises the companies will inevitably pass on its easy to portray this as a carbon tax.

    But how else is the process sposed to start? Remember that there has to be some limit on CO2 production associated with this and a variety of other things too. If it was a tax on CO2 production it wouldn’t apply to the 1000 most intensive producers of CO2, it would apply to all Co2 production.

    I’m not arguing for or against an ETS or in support of Gillard generally either. Its specifically wrt the portray of one thing as another when it clearly (at least to me) isn’t.

  175. I probably should let this thread die a natural death, but I’m now quite concerned that someone here (quite possibly me) fundamentally doesn’t understand what is going on.

    Jules – in your explanation above you take the position (I think) that “Carbon Price” is a generic term that encompasses both a Carbon Tax and an ETS. That is, that both a Carbon Tax and an ETS lead to a price on carbon and thus both are a form of Carbon Price. If I’ve distilled your argument correctly then I’m on board: this seems like a perfectly reasonable definition.

    In fact, Wikipedia agrees with you – “Carbon Price” appears to be the generic, umbrella term that describes a raft of measaures that include both an ETS and a Tax.

    However we differ again when you go on to describe the current Gillard proposal as an ETS: I thought it was fairly well accepted that what she is immediately proposing is a Carbon Tax, as per the traditional definition, i.e. a tax on business based on their use of fossil fuels, but that the tax will transition to an ETS after 3 – 5 years?

    Is this the same as others understanding or have I got it wrong?

  176. Narc: Mondo, you don’t honestly believe that all the people out there are beating their chests over this because they care for those who voted for Gillard in reliance of this promise do you?

    No, of course I don’t. Most of them are ‘beating their chests’ for the exact same reason those here are defending Gillard – they want to see their preferred policy get up and they don’t particularly care how that is achieved.

    And I don’t personally “care” about the voters who were tricked by Gillard either – that’s not my bag. What I do care about, Narc, is the system: for me, adherence to democracy is more important than adherence to any particular ideological outcome. It’s a somewhat bland philosophy, sure, but it’s a fair one.

    You have said above that: We both are against a politician lying, we are both against them duping voters to vote for them. So then let’s leave it there – where we are in agreement. We both object to the concept of a politician obtaining votes through deception.

    Obviously I would take that concept a bit further to include obtaining votes by making a promise that you ultimately break, but perhaps that is an argument for another time.

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