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Day to Day Politics: You get what you vote for.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

So now that the dust has settled and we have a new government, as a nation, how have we advanced? Has it cleared the air? Well some Australians spoke with a very clear voice that should have shaken the government to the core. However, the majority still voted to re-elect a government that had wasted three years of the nation’s life.

It’s true that some expressed the view that they were unhappy with the Government’s work but the majority said that they were quite happy for the Government to continue in the manner in which it had.

Whilst there was some superficial acknowledgement that some sections of the community were justifiably displeased, Coalition members have shown no contrition, remorse, or the slightest hint of apology. It seems that despite a big fright it will be business as usual.

What’s the wash up then? Well the Government, in spite of the scare they got, is acting like the win was in accordance with their right to rule. The “just trust us” attitude still prevails and they intend implementing their “jobs and growth” plan. There might be some adjustments here and there but overall everything remains the same. Listening to post election comments by senior Cabinet ministers and officials last week one is left with the impression that it hasn’t occurred to them that they almost lost.

But of course it’s somewhat more complicated than that.

If their governance was so appalling for the last three years how on earth will it improve with a Prime Minister whose reputation has been ravaged, a slim majority, a divided Government and a Senate more shambolic than the last.

At a time when it is beyond doubt that the world is in need of a new innovative (dare I use the word) approach to policy-making, progressive politics has missed out. Undoubtedly old ways of doing things have been superseded by new ways of looking at economics and social issues that affect inequality. But has it passed us by?

It seems like we are stuck with traditional conservative thinking like the “drip down effect”.

Let’s go through some of the issues, starting with leadership.

The Prime Minister came to the job canvassing a new politic. One that included transparency and honesty. He was quickly found to be a hypocrite when he sold out his principles to the extremists of his party. Some people saw through his deceit and he will be forever tainted for it.

I’m talking about Malcolm’s early declaration that he would be honest, transparent and accountable. It seems though that the Nationals will have none of that and want a secret deal with the Liberals. Both parties are very fond of secrecy when it suits them.

Will we be left wondering what further policies the Prime Minister has caved in on to secure his job? It is said that Joyce will demand a down grading for Renewable Energy.

Speaking in Melbourne on Monday, Shorten said:

“Australians are entitled to know what deals are being done to constitute the government of Australia”.

“Not only should there not be a secret agreement, there shouldn’t be secret deals full stop”.

There have been some murmurings that health will have to be given a higher priority because it nearly cost them the election but Morrison is indicating otherwise.

In fact he is suggesting that the budget will be presented in its entirety. Wishful thinking there. The business tax cuts haven’t a hope in hell of being passed by the Senate. The Government may actually welcome this because the growth projections to pay for them were also wishful thinking.

Superannuation, a great fountain of contention within the Party will again take center stage because it directly effects their wealthy constituents. It is one of the areas where big savings can be made. If not, there it has to be from health, social services or education.

The fact remains, however, that superannuation tax concessions for the rich and privileged will shortly cost as much as the aged pension. It cannot continue. The word ‘fairness’ comes to mind.

The Guardian put it this way:

“The Australia Institute estimates that $A100bn worth of spending cuts and revenue measures may be open to negotiation in the Senate following the federal election. These include the Coalition’s plan to progressively reduce the company tax rate and changes to family allowances. The Coalition may need the support of crossbenchers for key policies if they are rejected by the Opposition and the Greens”.

Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos says the Coalition has a mandate for its Budget measures, which of course puts a new meaning to the word ‘bullshit’.

Now let’s move onto the very reason we were having an election, the ABCC. Hardly mentioned during the campaign the fact that he won’t have the numbers for a double dissolution will be a source of great embarrassment.

Then of course we have the $150 million dollar plebiscite on marriage equality. One of those things that is sure to cause, despite Turnbull’s assurances, great dissent in the community with the potential to get out of hand. It could of course all be avoided if the PM showed some intestinal fortitude and leadership. I’m tipping an ugly debate when the likes of the Australian Christian Lobby and Cory Bernardi cut loose.

We don’t finish there of course. Pauline Hanson knows more about global warming than the world’s best scientific institutions and 95% of the world’s climate scientists, and her price to pass budget measures might well be the abolition of renewable energy targets. One Nation opposes such targets and wants renewable energy subsidies to be abolished. Really, what does one say?

The problems of a second rate NBN will have to be addressed sooner or later. The copper system we are building now will decline and it will not cope with an increase in population.

What are Turnbull’s plans for an Australian Republic if the Queen passes away during his term in office?

What plans does he have to address growing inequality? A dilemma that economists identify as one of the major challenges facing the world. Drip down economics has never worked and never will.

What now happens to universities and the Gonski reforms? Will equality of opportunity in education be relegated to the Dark Ages of conservative thinking in which conservative politicians want to remain?

And at the summit of all our problems and perhaps the one that needs to be attended to first, is the crisis in our democracy. Our institutions are badly in need of repair and reform from the passing of time and the Abbott years. It is like a motor vehicle that has been neglected and badly in need of a tune up.

The same can be said of our two major major parties.

The highest educated group of politicians ever elected, with degrees from the best learning institutions in the world couldn’t run the show for the last three years. What gives you confidence that they can for the next three?

What do you think? If you didn’t understand Turnbull’s plan for jobs and growth do you know what his second-term agenda is?

My thought for the day.

“Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it”.

PS. I forgot to mention that someone who hungers for seconds still lingers at the door of the parliamentary dining room.


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  1. townsvilleblog

    John, I believe that Shorten ran a good campaign, a meet the people old style campaign at town hall rallies. Now is the perfect time to democratize the ALP and lose the right wing unions power base (AWU&SDA) and turn it into a people’s party where one vote, one value applies. Shorten should have no fear of being toppled, he grew as a politician during the campaign. It’s time for the ALP to become a people’s party.

  2. Freethinker

    I am a lefty (and proud of it) and will go back to the ALP the day that the right faction becomes a minority.
    It would not surprise me if Shorten arrive to some kind of compromise with the Coalition regarding the superannuation policy put forward in the budget even if he attacked it during the campaign.
    If Shorten do not have the guts to stop the right power base within the party I hope that he will be replaced before good talent of the left start walking out of the party.

  3. Klaus

    Hi John,

    Excellent as always but I disagree in “that had wasted three years of the nation’s life.”

    If wish they did. However, they clearly brought this nation backwards with the NBN (as you mentioned), with 14 billion worth of budget measures which they now believe have a mandate to push through and since the ‘Mediscare’ thing has been survived, they may feel entitled to pursue a co-payment after all.

    I can imagine their new game plan. The Senate will be just as “irresponsible” as before in not passing cruel, benefiting the rich, legislation through and therefore “act against” national interest.

    Remember, they are here to blame. I hope for an early election.

  4. Jaquix

    Good wrap up, John. Surprised though that you state that savings (other than those via super) can only come from health, education and social services! That is the Libs line! There are oodles of opportunities for this country to “make savings” as in stop spending or giving away $$$ in the form of tax foregone. All studiously ignored by present government. Negative gearing, capital gains discounts, charity and church blanket tax exemptions including their profitable businesses, family trusts, subsidies on private health insurance, other subsidies, Comm cars, Im sure your readers can add a whole lot more. Would love you to compile a list of them.

  5. helvityni

    Klaus, never mind they are in power, it’s still all going to be Labor’s fault; I heard Brandis muttering something about Labor on Q&A,I didn’t mind missing it during all that male ruckus.

    On the Drum this week the Howard’s girl , Jackie Kelly, had no smiles for the charming Muslim lady, the other guest, but something negative to say about Labor…

    And ‘ dear’ Cormann spoke about nothing else during the long eight weeks, but LABOR…

  6. wam

    good one lord. loved the thought! Clever to start with an oxymoron and end with a paradox?
    You mentioned the turncoat pregressive or progressive party’s new paradigm for jobs and growth.
    Any errors can be blamed openly on gillard/shorten or the senate with thought waves citing the rabbott and his joey.
    Surely any nasties can be obfuscated by the HH personal and the slimey self-puffed X calculated, opinions which will be screeched by the ABC 24 and the morning shows, ‘discussed by the murdoch minions and shared on social media,
    Should be a great 3 years for those of us with the time to troll the lures out the back of the boat and relax waiting for strikes from the fish or the believers.
    ps jaquix you have hit some sacred cows there?? how about a website that displays our pollies monthly work load, where, who with, how long and what for?? that would show us how hard the job is?

  7. helvityni

    John, echoing the heading of your post ‘ You get what you vote for’, I’d say again : for better election results, start educating the masses, it’s the only way.

  8. kerri

    Maybe many of your questions of Turnbull should be directed at Joyce, who seems to be revelling in his newfound power? An exciting time to have such an amibtious deputy?

  9. paul

    Hi john.phew you covered a lot. I defi etly support pauline on the issue of global warming and mandatory rrc purchases and thd billions being wasted. Defi etly a hoax and a lie. Could write a book about this. Al gore has been eosed, prof flannery has been exposed.
    All the people who hate turnbull [ millions of you ]should read “” and “conservative strategic” to leatn why he is loathed so much in this country. If you think he is the messiah as he thinks he is you will soon change yojr mind.
    The stabbi g of abbott on sept 14 will one day be his down fall.his encouragemeng of the ABC and other lefties to slag off abbott 24/7 was arrogance in the extreme, his love of sinodinous is mind boggling because yhus fool has no memory of where half million dollars of donated money dissappeared to…. ww will talk again meantime read the sites and tell your friends. You will be on the right side of history,

  10. kasch2014

    Right at the beginning – “a majority still voted to re-elect a government” – this statement may not be true. There is grave doubt over the validity of this, and previous elections in light of the conduct and policies of the AEC, the sending out and diversion of postal vote forms (this was a close election hinging on these) by the major political parties, the disappearance of voters names off the registers, the non – removal of dead voters and the corresponding lack of identity checks when voting, the lack of polling booths, transport and of mobile polling facilities, the loss of completed voting slips, access by vested interests to polling facilities due to lack of security, the instructions by the AEC to staff re distributing preferences other than apparently intended on voting slips, the refusal to allow people to vote in ink, the use of pencils in voting booths, the marking of voters as having voted when people didn’t vote due to lack of voting forms, the lack of capacity to check multiple voting between polling booths, etc. See and GlennLazarus MP’s complaints re these practices and errors. There is much evidence and there are complaints from many people re these practices and errors. We need another ELECTRONIC election, maybe via bank account IDs which are secure and most people have got at least one. Much cheaper than this last dirty nonsense we called an election, and if the banks co-operate, we can even check if our vote was used once it’s over. At this point our governments are being manipulated by vested financial interests in many ways, most of them with damaging outcomes, and when the elections are in doubt as well, then what options have we got left?

  11. Jaquix

    Actually Kasch 2014, an electronic voting system is a long way off, there is too much opportunity for hacking and other errors. Ask any of the techy guys. It sounds good, and there might be room for some digital innovations, but its not the panacea. Remember George W Bush votes in Florida? Sounded dodgy but nobody could prove it. All the issues you raise re AEC, however, are on the mark. Its a huge operation, and having worked in voting booths myself, I saw a good organisation, but with a lot of little flaws. They have to rely on good people, with absolutely minimal training. To add to your list, there was the matter of a whole lot of soldiers who were on an army exercise so remote a ballot box could not be got to them. That is ridiculous! The Army would have planned the exercise in advance and should have provided postal votes for all those soldiers. As you can see in the seat of Cowan, 200 votes makes a huge difference. Even tho the Libs limped over the line, it seems to me that the electorate is still pretty angry, and that includes many in their own ranks, so “the plan” (i.e. last budget) is certainly not going to be getting through parliament. Nor I notice are the media all over Turnbull, you would think after all the front pages printed the day BEFORE voters went to the polls, saying “Victory for Turnbull” etc, they would have been crowing. Its kind of weird really, but a lot of what Ive read is actually quite critical, and not optimistic.

  12. jimhaz

    [a majority still voted to re-elect a government” – this statement may not be true. There is grave doubt over the validity of this]

    If the polls were not so close before the election you might have a case – but otherwise you are just guessing (which is fine, I do it constantly).

    [the sending out and diversion of postal vote forms]

    I would think 99% of voters would agree, if given info about the potential downside, that this should never be allowed. Disallow them from even giving out postal vote paperwork.

    [We need another ELECTRONIC election]

    I agree in principle, though one must take regard of administration costs – so bank details wouldn’t work.

    Even if without remote connection to electronic voting devices, we could still have touch screens in polling booths to cast our votes so as to make the voting system less able to be manipulated. Counts would almost be instant. Warnings could be given for incorrect votes. Systems could be put in place to avoid double voting. Postal votes could be done electronically remotely, handled by a individualised key code given out by the AEC.

  13. Maxoz

    i just visited one of Paul’s websites: yeech! The comments from his readers were amazing…..I hadn’t realised such scum existed in Australia.

  14. Ross

    Australia has know elected a female Muslim Labor MP to sit in Federal Parliament.
    Expect to see a swag of by elections as LNP right wing nutters explode in flaming pyres of self combustive incandescent impotent rage.
    Would also expect to see Steve Price and Andrew Bolt offer an apology followed by simultaneous ritual public suicide in protest at the insult.
    Alan Jones is at this moment in intensive care.

  15. Michael

    The only trickle down is us being p*ssed on – we just get wet.

  16. diannaart

    “A win is a win is a win” Go tell it to the homeless on a winter’s night, Christopher Pyne.

    @Michael – trickle down dos not work when there are sponges at the top – our economy needs a good plumber.

  17. helvityni

    …and I hope the Labor-voting plumbers charge plenty, adjust their fees to fit the customer.

  18. Florence nee Fedup

    Didn’t Abbott stab Turnbull first?

  19. diannaart

    Leftie plumbers have to charge extra, coz they require extra large plungers. Right wing plumbers, don’t know what a plunger is.

  20. Florence nee Fedup

    Pyne, we will see how many votes you manage to garner on floor of both houses to pass legislation you claim to have mandate for, to see how great your win is.

    Under our system, thankfully it isn’t winner take all. All a election mandates is ability for MPs to sit in parliament. Everything else is up for grabs. Has to be negotiated through both houses.

    Some it appears can manage good productive governance, passing three budgets with minorities in both houses.

    Others with massive seats in lower house, managed to do bugger all.

  21. diannaart


    Here’s hoping Turnbull does not get the sycophantic senate he was playing for. Always left gob-smacked (even though I know it is in their DNA) when Pyne, Turnbull, Abbott et al, complain that senate has stopped them from passing policies – never occurs to them to go back and rethink their policies.


    The ones with the massive seats – cause of blockages?

  22. Kyran

    If the dust has settled, why are we still in a maelstrom? Having waited, ever so patiently, for good government to start, why is the dystopian state still the new reality? We haven’t merely had three years of bad government, we’ve had nearly a decade of tiny’s politics. A decade of yelling and screaming about ‘them’, in the hope that no one ever looks at ‘them’. A new talcum on the veneer doesn’t change the veneer.
    Imagine, if you can, an Attorney-General more concerned about his book case and his poetry, than his job.
    Imagine, if you can, an Attorney-General more concerned with protecting the bigots, than prosecuting them.
    Imagine, if you can, an Attorney-General who requires that any request for objective legal advice by government departments must go through his office.
    The Attorney-Generals department “Provides expert support to the government on the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s system of law and justice.”
    Imagine, if you can, this git, this fool, is now a scrutineer, on the last frontier.
    “Australia’s most senior legal officer George Brandis is acting as a scrutineer in the last undecided seat in the federal election, where the Coalition is increasingly confident of a win.”
    The current farce reminds me of Joh’s enlightening explanation of the separation of powers. It should be regarded as comedy or farce. Welcome to the new reality. Farce. Thank you Mr Lord. Take care

  23. jim

    I’m stunned that the liars got back in , another wasted 3yrs from a awful Liberal government, just stunned.

  24. Michael

    Being p*ssed on is what we get after all the good nutrients have been retained – the LNP way.

  25. Wayne Turner

    The LNP’s MSM got them over the line.All because there is enough ignorant and gullible fools in this country.

    The masses are asses. The LNP LIED (Just like all previous elections they get in) to get in (“Trickle down economics LIE),and of course continue to LIE.Now Turnbull is LYING with the born to rule crap of a “mandate” to have every policy they took to the election passed.Which of course ignores how our political system works – The public does NOT vote on every policy,and the ONLY mandate is to have a majority in the house of reps.(And the Senate,if they got the majority.Which they did NOT).

    This country is beyond help…

  26. Jaquix

    Wayne Turner isnt it depressing? But you have to realise that 3 generations of Australians have been fed the same diet – of pro-“conservative” propaganda. You cant call it anything else. So its no wonder that those with little interest in politics just swallows it all. It also gets picked up by radio and television (including increasingly, the ABC to their shame) and so its not surprising at all. The good news is that the internet has put people together in a way not possible before, and social media, groups like GetUp etc. played a part in the knife-edge by which this lot got in – this time. I suspect they wont manage it again. The margins they are holding on by, are wafer thin. Also independent blogs/publications like TheAIM should give us heart.

  27. helvityni

    Wayne Turner, Jaquix,

    Maybe there are many people in Oz who think and behave like my English working class friend from Liverpool. Voting for the Liberals makes him feel he’s somehow arrived, even he is no better off than he was in the old country, maybe a teeny bit better…

  28. Jaquix

    Helvityni – oh yes definitely there is “snob value” in voting for the Liberals. This over-rides their common sense, which should tell them (if they look at the policies) that they would be better off with a Labor government, especially this modern Bill Shorten model. But in Oz we have as I said, 3 generations’ worth of brainwashing to contend with. Labor has consistently been portrayed as inferior, down market. So some blindly vote for the Libs in the vain hope that somehow all that perceived Lib superiority (!) will rub off on them. That is why all those who voted National (aka rural libs) for instance, who would be infinitely better off with Labor’s version of NBN, have voted against their own best interests, and now have to contend with aging copper system.

  29. king1394

    Liberal voters expect to have their privileges protected, including the elite schools and hospitals. They think business is the only game in town. National Party voters continue to believe that Australia rides on the sheep’s back, and the mining industry, and therefore protection of primary industries and exports are all that matters. They also like to protect their privileges and subsidies. Strangely they do not like any sort of ‘green’ or ‘red’ tape that might control over-exploitation of farms, no matter how much it might benefit them to have better soils, water, and biodiversity. Then there are the multiplicity of ‘right-wing’ nut-job parties, of which Hansen’s is just one, and not the worst. These seem to appeal to people who believe that everything would be OK if we went back to the White Australia Policy, the 1950s or the bible, and stop people from even talking about environmental issues and climate change.
    On the other side ‘we’ stand, mostly ALP and Green voters who need to work together. First step might be to follow the example of the Liberals/Nationals and not fight each other for seats. The Nationals do not stand in seats held by Liberals, and Vice-versa. They only both stand in seats held by ALP, which doubles the conservatives’ impact in those seats, and where they recommend preference swapping.
    We need to recognise that often we are talking to ourselves on our favourite Facebook pages and here on AIMN. When we find ourselves an opportunity to inform other groups, we need to be more willing to listen and keep ourselves polite in engagement (very hard when talking to people for whom you can’t help but feel a level of contempt). In particular, we have to find the common areas of agreement and build on these.
    Currently, we know that many Liberal voters are quite uncomfortable with the extremists in their party; many are very worried by the dictatorial actions of Baird in NSW (Councils closed, greyhound industry closed without full consultation). They are not going to stop preferring the Liberals tomorrow, but they are going to pull back support. This is the first time that there have been no Liberal or National Party members scrutineering at my local booth – showing the diminishing commitment of local conservatives. Examples of such Liberals include those whose property values are threatened by mining, and probably a lot of women who continue finding themselves relegated to the serving of tea – locally less Liberal women than usual were handing out.

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