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The greatest impediment to progress in Australia

It isn’t “economic head winds” holding Australia back. It isn’t unemployment or dwindling resources or falling educational standards or a ‘transitioning economy’. It isn’t the “debt and deficit disaster”. It isn’t poverty and homelessness or Indigenous disadvantage. It’s not migration, discrimination, racism or terrorism. It isn’t even the big issues of climate change, corporate exploitation and inequality.

The greatest impediment to progress in this country is our politicians.

We could go a long way towards solving the problems we face if the decisions weren’t being made by people whose raison d’etre is to beat the other guy and then enjoy the spoils of victory.

In the pursuit of popularity, politicians spend their time appeasing different groups. They are morbidly afraid of bad publicity so base their decisions on what ill-informed focus groups, social media, or vested interest lobbyists tell them, regardless of what the experts are advising.

To differentiate themselves from their opponents, politicians denigrate their colleagues and actively oppose anything they try to achieve just because it wasn’t their idea and they don’t want to help the other guy to look good. Even when they agree, they play politics, making the other side squirm, demanding concessions or amendments, often just for the sake of it.

Politicians will deliberately inflate, stoke and exploit unjustified fear so they can present themselves as our defenders or our saviours when these non-existent disasters fail to happen. The shameful use of tragedy and lies for political point-scoring has become common place. It has been used as an excuse to erode the protection of human rights and to undermine moves towards sustainability.

They have conferred on themselves some sort of celebrity status where they spend their time making “appearances” and attending “events”. They write endless books and go on speaking tours and do magazine spreads. They are photographed at sporting and cultural events and host hugely expensive dinners wherever they go as if they are wealthy benefactors. They fly all over the world making “contacts” which seem more about securing post-politics employment than actually achieving any tangible benefit for the country.

Instead of sharing information so the public can make informed decisions, they deliberately withhold or distort the truth. They spend a fortune getting consultants to write reports which they refuse to release, or even read, if the findings don’t suit them. They employ spin doctors and media advisers who manipulate opinion. They blame scapegoats. They use distraction and timing and leaks to divert attention away from news they don’t want journalists or the public to focus on. They attack the character of those who expose the truth or those who seek to advocate for the disadvantaged and disempowered.

Time in executive government is spent rewarding allies. Party loyalists are gifted with high-paying positions and donors and public endorsement are rewarded with policies and contracts which confer personal benefit.

Whilst politicians are our ‘representatives’, they are also our leaders. They are the decision-makers. If they cannot work in concert to genuinely inform both themselves and us as to the best course of action, then our system is no longer working.

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  1. auntyuta

    My question is: Why has it come to this and who or what is to blame?

  2. Kaye Lee

    auntyuta,

    Off the top of my head I would say an apathetic public who have had it too good for too long, a biased media with an agenda, preselections that have nothing to do with merit, the demise of community, an ‘I’m alright so bugger you’ attitude, a society who is becoming greedier and more selfish by the day, and a political system where the winner takes all.

  3. 1petermcc

    John Howard’s recent bemoaning of women in politics revealed what is wrong with the system. For him it’s all about winning the game not doing the best by Australia. His view that women aren’t aggressive enough should follow him to his grave.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Howard is an inadequate man suffering from relevance deprivation.

  5. Peter F

    Kaye, I don’t think this relevance deprivation is new, but the recognition of it might be.

  6. helvityni

    “The greatest impediment to progress in this country is our politicians.”

    You are right, Kaye, our best and the brightest do not go into politics, not even the second best… Sometimes we get a good, even an excellent leader, but the next one is sure to be some Abbott clone and we are back to the square one.

    Our governance is also adversarial, the two major sides do not agree on much at all; if they do it’s usually about going to other countries’ battles, or keeping the asylum seekers out. Border control seems to be the magic word.

    Many Aussies also admire people who have done financially well for themselves, having them as country’s leaders ,they feel that some of those riches might rub off on them too…

  7. Miriam English

    Kaye, you are so right. This is the big stumbling block. If our politicians did their jobs instead of acting like spoiled children then all the other problems the country faces would be quickly solved.

    How did it happen? I think I blame short-term vision and massive amounts of money spent on short-term results coupled with the Machiavellian view that the ends justify the means. Another major contributing factor is their willingness to see everybody not inside their party as the enemy, especially the public. We have become the enemy. We have to be fought against at every turn — prevented access to facts, misled with lies, and diverted with distractions. This fuels the ease with which they accept outlandish bribes and diddle the books even when they’re getting paid far too highly. They have no loyalty to us. Their first concern is their own pocket.

    If instead they kept in mind the long-term future and were careful not to hurt people in their efforts to get there, then it would go a long way to fixing things.

  8. babyjewels10

    Totally agree. None of them, on either side of politics, has Australia or Australians at heart.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Miriam’s point about short term thinking is a very important one. It has led to the sale of our assets and the outsourcing of our jobs, all in an attempt at a sugar hit for the budget – although it was perhaps more long term than that if it was a considered course encouraged by lobbyists to transfer common wealth to private hands and our politicians, either complicit or dumb, fell for it. It has led to inaction on climate change, and cuts to health, education and welfare, basically so we can hugely expand military spending.

    Are they so caught up in the political game that they have no goal other than the next election? Is the chase so all-consuming that it is the highest priority? I fear so.

  10. Jack Straw

    America is such a pathetic contradiction of a nation. Yet Australia follows America ideas and ideals to our own demise like lemmings jumping off a cliff. Please tell me how privatising Australian owned companies have been good for our citizens’? Please tell me how the American style capitalism with Dodgy Company CEO Rorts rip off’s has been good for our country. I am sick of being urinated on by the trickledown effect. Please tell me how the unegalitarian globalism and offshoring of Australian businesses is good for our country ?When the only purpose is to acquire cheap labour. Then our government persecutes the unemployed when there are no jobs left. Then we let the Multinationals rip us off by paying zero tax. Throw this government out for the next 20 years

  11. Bruce

    Oh how true, someone has put together at last in 1 main comment. I take my hat off to you. The only thing is how on earth do we change it? I can not see it happening anytime soon, if ever.

  12. Leep

    Kaye lee your denigration of all politicians annoys me somewhat, you know that the labor is most progessive party and yet you always include them with LNP in your diatribe, of course the use of the term politician allows u to sit on the fence and thus u don’t differentiate between liberal or labor when u talk about the failings of politicions. Why don’t you call a spade a spade when u discuss politicians per se. You know the LNP has put the breaks on gonski, they ‘ve done everything the can to make Medicare a privately owned institution, and they have dumped our car industry what more can the LNP do which is not progressive.

  13. Jack Straw

    auntyuta My question is: Why has it come to this and who or what is to blame?

    Gullible sports loving, Anzac Day marvelling,naive, smug, heads up our own arse self centred self congratulating Australians. That’s who !

  14. Klaus

    As sad as it is, but you are so correct on this one. This infantile group of politicians have not deserved the many perks such as overnight stay, functions, salaries, super etc. They are not worth the money.

    They have no character because if I need to shout out the oppositions, because I have no facts, then I have no character.
    If I need to ditch the oppositions work because it wasn’t my idea, then I don’t have any character.

    Worse, it is criminal behavior.

    There is no vision for a future Australia.
    There is no vision for an ambitious and rewarding climate policy. Recent polls have shown, the majority of Australians happily pay $100 per annum more for renewables. The rest, who can’t afford this, needs to be compensated.
    There is no vision for jobs.
    There is no vision for sustained health.
    There is no vision for inclusive education.

    There is a void, an angry emptiness filled by ideology and the need to stay in power.

    And yet, there are roughly 50% of the population who support this??????

    Words are failing me.

  15. helvityni

    Leep, I could list many good progressive politician on Labor side, yet I can’t find any half reasonable on the Coalition side, so for me anyhow Labor wins for being the more caring half in Oz politics.

    Sometimes I’m concerned that they are too ‘nice’, please attack those bastards at least sometimes, there’s plenty of fodder for that, too much for my liking…

    Agree with Jack, why on earth are we always looking towards US ; there are better role-models…

  16. Klaus

    It is clear, that the LNP are blinded by ideology and power. To some degree, this applies to Labour as well. However, Labour attempt a come back to their original values. Unions are helping here. To continuously bash Unions and have a Royal Commision to criminalise an entire movement, takes the cake.

    I have a Labor government any time compared to that characterless LNP Mob.

  17. Miriam English

    Leep, when Labor stops voting with the LNP and their regressive policies most of the time (60%), when Labor calls for an investigation into corruption among politicians instead of blocking it, when Labor stops pandering to ripoff mining companies and looks after Australia’s future instead, then perhaps they will be above being put in the same class as the LNP.

    Is Labor better than the LNP? Yes, but in the way a person who has stolen less than another person is better. They are the lesser of two evils, but they are still evil.

    Are there good and honest politicians? Yes, there are. However you have to look really hard to find them in either of the two big parties.

    Both big parties are badly broken. It is systemic.

    Should Labor people work to vindicate their party? Most certainly, yes. It will take a lot of work because the rot has already set in. Labor wants the trade deals that rip off workers; they believe in the same unrestrained market ideology; they still want to sell off our childrens’ assets to make the immediate accounts appear to look good; they still get bribes from the mining and gambling industries.

    Sure, Labor is not all rabidly gung-ho like the LNP who apparently want to destroy Australian society in just a few years. Labor do it more softly, but they still do it. They’re still pointing downhill instead of uphill.

  18. diannaart

    Agree Kaye Lee.

    Agree Miriam.

    We are still exporting our nonrenewables overseas for little gain.

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/turnbull-government-called-on-to-explain-where-australias-offshore-gas-wealth-is-going-20161009-gryaoi.html

    The 2010 Henry tax review warned that the PRRT “fails to collect an appropriate and constant share of resource rents from successful projects due to uplift rates that over-compensate successful investors for the deferral of PRRT deductions”.

    We have to wait 20 years before Australia receives a cent!

    If we are going to continue to plunder our non-renewable resources – can we at least make it worth while?

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2016/federal-election-2016-australia-missing-out-on-wealth-boost-from-lng-boom-academic-claims-20160618-gpm88l.html

    Dr Kraal, who has written a paper calling for a review of PRRT, has warned a senior Treasury official that the system is a white elephant to the detriment of royalties, which are supposed to reflect that a nation’s finite resources can only be extracted once and should therefore enrich the country as well as profit-focused companies willing to invest in Australia.

  19. Harquebus

    Is it the politicians or their growth at any cost ideology? I say the latter.

  20. totaram

    The hidden fly in the ointment is neo-liberal economic thinking, which has infiltrated our entire conciousness, with a lot of help from the mainstream media, as well as “orthodox” economics teaching. As long as all the parties are talking of “budget repair”, you will not get them to repair the real economy, which consists of people, goods and services that we produce and so on. The “budget ” is simply the final fiscal outcome at the end of the year, and if it has anything to do with the projections made by treasury, that is fortuitous, because a lot depends on what the private sector does. The treasurer has little control over those private sector actions except through setting some policy parameters. What he/she can do is invest where required, regardless of the “projected” budget outcome. If “borrowing” is necessary for that investment then so be it. Since even this is seen as heresy by everyone, how can we progress?

    I won’t talk about overt monetary financing, since people are generally too brainwashed to admit how our fiat currency actually works.

  21. diannaart

    Done

  22. diannaart

    Harq

    Can’t have one without the other – just sayin’

  23. Marilyn R

    Kaye, I agree! I believe that both major parties have lost sight of why they are elected and forgotten that they are supposed to act for the good of the people as a whole and not just themselves and the party.I think if we limited the term that politicians can serve to say, two, it would help. The other factor is the requirement to follow the party line stifles genuine debate and subjects us to the three word empty slogan mantra. The problem is withing the party system itself and it is no longer working for us. Change is needed.

  24. johnlward010

    Malcolm promised money he cannot access, with the total pledged so far being around $5.0 billion.

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/unlawful-reallocation-of-clean-energy-investment-by-the-coalition,9567

    Cabinet Ministers have conspired to remove all funds from the CEFC by pledging the total amount left in the CEFC account to other ‘good LNP causes’.
    At the same time Malcolm Turnbull is subsidising the fossil fuel industry (Oil, Coal and Gas) with (IMF numbers) $1,712 per person a year or $41 billion of taxpayer funds.

    This includes exploration funding for Geoscience Australia and tax deductions for mining and petroleum exploration.
    The president of the World Bank stated that it was crazy that governments were still driving the use of coal, oil and gas by providing subsidies. “We need to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies now,” he said.

    In July, Nicholas Stern estimated that tackling climate change would require investment of 2% of global GDP each year. The IMF work indicates that ending fossil fuel subsidies would benefit governments by the equivalent to 3.8% of global GDP a year.

    Prime Minister Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, Former Prime Minister Abbott, Ministers Pyne, Hockey, Cormann and Hunt are attempting to falsely convince the public that the Cabinet can “re-purpose and re-direct the Act” without going back through the Parliament.

    These attempted changes to the CEFC Act 2012 are yet to be legislated.

  25. diannaart

    John

    I tried link – but got a 404.

    Have you written any articles for AIMN or elsewhere? Apologies if I sound ignorant but don’t do as much research as I used to.

  26. Miriam English

    The Queensland Labor government just now fast-tracked Adani’s Charmichael mine as “critical infrastructure” — the highest priority status that can be declared. It grants special powers to the Coordinator-General’s office, allowing them to override any remaining decisions by government agencies and local councils.

    Bastards!

    So much for their promises about protecting the reef, listening to the people, and considering climate change.

    I wonder how much they’ve been bribed for this monstrosity.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Miriam, who will give them the money? I will be dead pissed off if Josh Frydenberg gives them money out of his $5 billion kick he set aside to develop Northern Australia. If the thing is not economically viable, which is what the private sector all say, then he better not give them our money. At one stage I think I heard Peter Costello saying he would invest some of our Future Fund in it. He better bloody well not!

  28. Kaye Lee

    Oh geeze,

    That may be why they have called it critical infrastructure – so Peter Costello can give them money.

    “News has emerged that India’s Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, will meet with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Chairman of the Future Fund, Peter Costello, on an Australian visit aimed at trying to secure subsidised government funding for Adani’s proposed coal mega-mine.

    Having utterly failed to attract finance from the commercial banking sector for the initial A$10 billion required for the mine, rail and port project, Adani is now looking to its friends in the Indian and Australian government for a little sugar.

    The mine, rail and port components of the Carmichael coal project are each estimated to cost several billion dollars. Funds often look to invest in infrastructure assets (roads, ports, rail) as they are normally considered to represent sound long-term investments. The Future Fund could become owner of the port or rail line, relieving Adani of the need to secure a partner or financier for that part of the project.

    Australians could be asked to provide a major financial subsidy for a massive new coal mine owned by a foreign billionaire that would worsen global warming, deliver further harm to an already fragile Great Barrier Reef, tear up the lands of Traditional Owners who refuse to consent to the mine, and leave a multi-billion hole in our sovereign wealth fund.”

    How could the Future Fund finance Carmichael coal?

  29. Kaye Lee

    What a can of worms Adani is.

    You know how we supposedly want them to go ahead so we can “lift millions of Indians out of poverty”……well they have just been issued with a show cause notice by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in India for inflating invoices. They ship Indonesian coal direct to India but the invoices go through other places like Singapore and the Virgin Islands where the price is increased by 50-100%.

    Effectively they will make no profit here so pay no tax, send the invoice from a foreign intermediary in a low tax haven, and then double the price to India.

    https://www.pressreader.com/

    This is never going to go well

  30. Andreas Bimba

    But it’s not the politicians that are in power, our real leaders are in the boardrooms, both here and overseas. They set the ideology, currently neoliberalism, monetarism and crony capitalism; they stack the game in their favour using the mass media, lucrative jobs and other inducements, inserting their disciples in academia and the bureaucracy, and lobbying very effectively.

    Malcolm Turnbull is not the Prime Minister, he is merely a figurehead for public relations purposes and to make things appear that we have a democracy. Isn’t it obvious how entrapped and powerless he really is when he is clearly still implementing Tony Abbott’s agenda that he received from the IPA which in turn received that agenda from the hard right Kleptocracy that is centred on the mining and finance sectors?

    What is the answer? Hope the ALP reconnects with its roots like Jeremy Corbyn in the UK? This still looks unlikely.

    Vote on mass for the minor parties and independents? This is my choice but will the electorate ever agree?

    Insurrection or revolution?

  31. Miriam English

    Are our politicians simpletons who just don’t understand?
    Or are they just being bought?

    Either way they’re dangerous and need serious penalties to make them stop and think before they do stupid or evil things.

  32. Ella

    Kay Lee, once more great thinking and writing.
    Perhaps the only solution to it all is to end the two party system by voting for only TRULY independent Candidates.(If there are any)
    It is so sad that we have no statesmen. We only have people whose vision dose not go beyond the next election.
    It is about time that we became more politically active and less docile.

  33. MichaelW

    Miriam,
    I have signed your petition and forwarded it to as many people as possible.
    Maybe you should post it on Andrew Bolts blog. (ha)
    Cheers.

  34. Matters Not

    The chances of Adani going ahead are almost zero. The demand for coal is falling (yes it will still be there for years to come but can be satisfied from current arrangements) and prudent investors, including banks, are in no mood to fund additional mines. Who in their right mind wants more ‘stranded assets’ on their books? So why is the Queensland Labor Government making all these positive noises?

    Possibly, the answer lies in political imperatives. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk occupies the Treasury Benches on a very, very slim margin. Indeed, she relies on support from some members outside her own Party. Walks on eggshells and all that. From day one, she said her Government was all about jobs – the number one priority. Therefore, she cannot afford to oppose any project that can be seen to deliver jobs, and infrastructure. Katter Junior, for example, and others want a new railway line to the Galilee Basin. They want development that goes far beyond coal mining.

    Seems to me that Palaszczuk would be politically stupid to oppose a ‘pipe dream’ that has currency in that ‘neck of the woods’ and in so doing lose essential support. She must know in her hearts of hearts (she is not a dill and her CoS is particularly sharp) that the Adani project is doomed. She has already said that she wouldn’t fund Adani projects that Newman agreed to.

    Good politicians don’t destroy myths. Maybe they should. But it’s a bit rich to think that Palaszczuk should lead the way from a position of weakness. Politics being the art of the possible and all that.

  35. Adrianne Haddow

    Well done Miriam.
    I have signed your petition and passed it on to friends and family.
    Let’s hope it has some effect.

    I still cannot believe the arrogance of some of these entitled gits.
    Sat on their bums for a meagre few months a year when working, paid handsomely in perpetuity, able to minimise their personal day to day expenditure by having the taxpayer foot the bill, and still want more in retirement. Bloody cheek.

    As for Adani…… a curse upon his house.

  36. Miriam English

    Thanks Adrianne.
    As Kaye says in her article, the problem is the spoiled brats we have as politicians.
    If we show them we won’t put up with it anymore they might just begin to behave.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Leep,

    Fair comment. I should say that I find Labor streets in front of the Coalition but that doesn’t stop me being very disappointed in their political shenanigans.

    They convinced Julia Gillard to roll Rudd, some say because he was impossible to deal with, some say it was the polls. Having taken that drastic move, they then tolerated and in fact encouraged Rudd’s undermining and then did the unthinkable of rewarding his despicable behaviour by going back to him – the stupidest move I have ever seen. Their self-indulgence is what delivered this country into Abbott’s hands.

    Likewise I am disgusted by their cowardice regarding asylum seekers and all things “national security” where they just say “me too”. I am sick of “zingers”. I am sick of endless doorstops. I am sick of politicians flying all over the country to have their photo taken with a shovel.

    I respected Gillard but Bill Shorten is a politician in every sense of the word.

  38. Matters Not

    Miriam, I won’t sign your petition for a number of reasons. It’s not that I disagree with the sentiments. Yes, politicians are financially well rewarded (and all that), and for some to disagree with a ‘political’ decision to restrict growth in those entitlements is somewhat over the top when they were clear beneficiaries of an original ‘political’ decision to bestow same. (If you live by the benefits of the political sword, then don’t complain when it’s wielded against you.)

    My first problem nevertheless is the futility (and the probable counter productivity) of the petition. Judges (arrogant one and all) pride themselves as being above popular sentiment. What motivates them is the ‘law’ and what is the ‘right’, ‘correct’, and ‘proper’ interpretations to be given to the LAW. They see themselves as the ‘Guardians of the Rule of the Law’. Accordingly, they also see themselves as being above ‘popular sentiment’ – not swayed by ‘populist’ outpourings or even by politicians trying to exert pressure. And it’s as it should be if you believe in the Rule of Law.

    In the whole scheme of things, ‘governments’ have three dimensions – legislative, executive and judicial branches. And while the legislative and executive branches seriously overlap, the judicial arm does and ‘ought’ to retain a high level of independence. Seems to me, that it’s right and proper (and good) to influence the legislative/executive branches in the making of ‘law’, but once laws are democratically enacted then the judiciary should be free to interpret same.t

    But regardless of what I think, I remain confident that the Judges will take no notice of any petitions. And will pride themselves by doing exactly that.

  39. Susan

    Well said once again Kaye Lee. I couldn’t agree more.

  40. Miriam English

    MN, maybe one or more of the Judges will see the destructive nature of politicians’ greed and rule against it. And it is destructive in multiple ways. It leads them to be corrupted and act like overprivileged pricks. When we let them get away with it they lose all respect for us, the Australian people. It also leads to the Australian people having no respect for them.

    If the petition has the slightest chance of helping one or more judges to that realisation then it has been well worth it.

    MN, your response sounds like someone who gives up before trying. Does that sound like a logical thing to do? Perhaps the likelihood of it succeeding is low, but if we don’t try then we can be absolutely certain that we definitely won’t succeed.

  41. Matters Not

    Miriam are you arguing against the ‘Rule of Law’? You know, that which the Judges are sworn to uphold? That popular opinion should override the law?

    What about ‘scientific’ findings? Perhaps a petition against unpopular or uncomfortable ones?

    I suspect not!

    To be quite honest I think it would be a very sad day when Judges were influenced by ‘populism’.

    Not likely in the immediate future.

  42. Matters Not

    ME from above:

    maybe one or more of the Judges will see the destructive nature of politicians’ greed and rule against it

    While I hope that the odd one or two (and maybe even more) Judges will ‘see the destructive nature of politicians’ greed’ I hope that’s not their operating principle. That’s not their role in a democratic society.

    Petitions are about influencing the legislative and administrative processes – that’s, good, right and proper. Not so when it comes to the judiciary and the ‘meanings’ they will give to the LAW. And yes I do realise that ‘judicial activism’ is alive and well, but I don’t think that’s what we ae talking about here.

  43. Miriam English

    MN, do you think we should replace judges with computers? If not, then I suggest that your reason why is my answer to your replies.

    I wasn’t arguing that popular opinion should override the law. I was saying that the law has a purpose: to ensure proper functioning of society and to maintain justice and fairness. Politicians going corrupt and self-indulgent, losing respect for the people, and the people losing respect for them damages society and justice and fairness.

  44. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thus,

    we need a multi-party parliament where no one party is in domination. No more Lib/Lab flipflop dinosaurs that are only interested in outdoing each other and winning the votes of morons, or spineless and/or selfish people in marginal seats.

    If there are genuine policy-focused debates and negotiated agreements between smaller players, then there is a vibrant, unpredictable preparedness to do things differently with the desire to appeal to community expectations.

  45. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I signed Miriam’s petition because it is a chance for grassroots people to show their displeasure.

    Judges also have a responsibility to the community and need to see that there is expectation in the community for far better conduct from the political representatives.

  46. Andreas Bimba

    Great comments as always. As Jennifer wrote:

    “votes of morons, or spineless and/or selfish people in marginal seats”.

    I really feel this when I post on Facebook sites with conservative voters in abundance. They are so confident in their self destructive beliefs and often abusive. The human can be the dumbest of animals due to self deception and gullibility and maybe we should be exploiting this weakness for good purpose.

    I think we have all the solutions or at least very good ones but convincing the electorate is not going well.

  47. cornlegend

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    Your COALition is almost dead and buried but no worries.
    The pollies don’t determine their pay
    The Remuneration Tribunal is the independent statutory body which determines the base salary for senators and members.[8] The Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 establishes the Remuneration Tribunal and defines its powers and functions. Sub-section 7(1) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 says that:

    The Tribunal shall, from time to time as provided by this Part, inquire into, and determine, the allowances (including allowances in accordance with section 48 of the Constitution) to be paid out of the public moneys of the Commonwealth to members of the Parliament

  48. Kaye Lee

    These guys are challenging the rule change in the high court.

  49. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    cornlegend,

    has anybody ever told you that ‘COALition’ is a put down term for exponents of a cringing coal-based coalition? Such a term as ‘COALition’ describes you and your Labor hacks much more than what I am advocating.

  50. cornlegend

    My “Labor hacks” are doing alright 😀
    I was up there yesterday watching the performance and the ones you advocated for , NXT, Greens, McGowan etc,to join your “Left Alliance” didn’t do much.
    Poor old Adam, the lonely Green in the backbenches {Your parties MP} , I ALMOST, felt sorry for him.
    Thought about buying him a colouring book and crayons to help bide the time

  51. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I have not particularly advocated for McGowan or Xenophon unless they share similar progressive positions on policy formation.

    So don’t play your political games of misrepresenting my advocacy for alternative, progressive, left policy-first political reformist viewpoints.

    I notice you didn’t take offence at your Labor hacks’ love affair with the coal industry.

  52. Andreas Bimba

    Cornlegend, 25% of the first preference House of Representatives vote now goes to the smaller parties and independents. Delight in how badly our current political system reflects this in actual representatives but people are getting well and truly pissed off with the duopoly and when it falls it will be sudden.

    If Labor wins the next federal election and decide to continue with neoliberalism, Monetarism, austerity, high unemployment and the continued destruction of manufacturing – the duopoly will be over. Fix the party now or prepare to be just another small party.

  53. cornlegend

    Andreas Bimba
    “25% of the first preference House of Representatives vote now goes to the smaller parties and independents”
    And what % 2nd preference the LNP
    We know historically the Greens send 25% of their 2nd preferences to the Liberals.
    Australian Liberty Alliance,Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group),Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party,Pauline Hanson’s One Nation,Smokers Rights Party, and a bunch of others get included in the count as well as a whole heap of raving looney Independents.
    good luck with that lot, I’ve been hearing the same old excuses for decades now, and as for your Greens, didn’t they go backwards, AGAIN

  54. cornlegend

    Jennifer
    “I have not particularly advocated for McGowan or Xenophon”
    OH yes you have, want me to find the comments,
    It was in between you considering running for ODD and the other shonky outfit and before you found your Greens party ticket

  55. diannaart

    What did Labor do today?

    Glad I asked.

    Its all over the news the Plebiscite is dead. Ding Dong, the Plebiscite is dead. Labor caring for the minorities (well a few of ’em, until they can make some votes out of ’em).

    What else did Labor do today?

    They voted along with the LNP for tax cuts for the wealthy, who are finding it so difficult these days to stock up on their Grange, so Labor sided with the LNP – again.

    Parliament Just Voted to Cut Taxes For The Wealthiest Australians

  56. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Be my guest. I would have only done so when advocating for the ALLiance in the desperate bid to get boring Labor up and energised enough to actually win the last election, which all anti-LNP voters lost by ONE seat.

    That was a reprehensible waste of an opportunity to get this destructive LNP Government out for a long time. I think Labor likes being the Opposition where they can still get the perks and throw stones but not have to make the hard decisions.

  57. cornlegend

    which all anti-LNP voters lost by ONE seat.
    No they didn’t. the LNP have a comfortable majority with the LNP liters Rebekha Sharkie, McGowan and Katter

  58. Miriam English

    Cornie, “We know historically the Greens send 25% of their 2nd preferences to the Liberals.”

    I find that very difficult to believe, but even if it is so (which I seriously doubt), you have to admit it’s not quite as bad as voting directly with the LNP 60% of the time, which is what Labor have been doing.

    I know you like to treat this whole political party thing like the teams in some kind of perverse football game, where you cheer “your” side on regardless of what fouls they commit along the way, but it isn’t a game, and the Labor party isn’t what you think it is. Wake up Cornie. As Dianna noted above, voting to make the rich richer at the expense of the workers doesn’t exactly sound like the sort of thing a genuine Labor party should do.

    Do we have a better chance of changing the Labor party back to what it is supposed to be than of getting the Greens into power? I genuinely don’t know. Would the same betrayal occur if the Greens got into power? Again, I don’t know. I have no allegiance to any party. The only reason I focus on the Greens is that their policies are the most progressive. If they changed that they would immediately lose my and a lot of other people’s votes. It seems to me “barracking” for a party regardless of its actions and policies is counterproductive. It’s a bit like those sad people who vote for the LNP because their folks do. It is probably a large part of the reason why we’re in this mess. Both Labor and LNP know they can count on a whole slew of people who will vote for them anyway, regardless of how they stink the place up.

  59. cornlegend

    Miriam English
    “The Greens’ probably somewhat larger ‘right leaning’ protest vote comprises people whose basic political position is somewhere to the right of Greens policy but who have voted for the Greens because of individual policies. Figures produced by ABC election analyst Anthony Green support this view. They reveal that between 20% and 25% of Greens votes have always allocated second preference to the Liberal Party.”
    Douglas Evans 18 September 2013, 1:07pm the Green advocate himself
    “I know you like to treat this whole political party thing like the teams in some kind of perverse football game”
    It really is a game.
    The Parties, Greens included have made it that way.
    To be quite honest, My family or myself don’t really feel the affects of policy, no matter what party is in power but a bunch of my friends and acquantances do
    “Do we have a better chance of changing the Labor party back to what it is supposed to be genuinely don’t know.”
    What do you want, a ‘Greener” Labor?, then stick with the Greens and work to make them more palatable to the electorate
    You seem to forget, and I learnt long ago that the membership of Labor covers all spectrums, from Left to Right and in between.
    There are Left dominated branches, Right dominated branches and many in between so of course policy would represent the broader cross sections of the Party.
    “Do we have a better chance of changing the Labor party back to what it is supposed to be ”
    NO,
    The members will decide Labors direction, not those on the sidelines
    “Wake up Cornie”
    I’m well aware of the situation thanks 😀
    as for ” tax cuts for the wealthy”
    What does it matter, MMT wise?

  60. Kaye Lee

    “It really is a game.
    The Parties, Greens included have made it that way.”

    Which is why the electorate wants change.

    “The members will decide Labors direction, not those on the sidelines”

    With about 50,000 members (and I think I am exaggerating there) political parties can decide whatever they want but they are going to need support from a lot more people than just members if they want to succeed. Perhaps instead of this belligerent, exclusive brethren, you might do well to listen to why people are so pissed off and maybe you should listen to some of their suggestions.

    “as for ” tax cuts for the wealthy”
    What does it matter”

    One would hope that the Labor party wouldn’t have to ask that question or they have truly lost all semblance of representing their base. As for MMT, that is one of my issues with it. It seems to ignore the redistributive purpose of progressive taxation.

  61. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee
    “With about 50,000 members (and I think I am exaggerating there) political parties can decide whatever they want but they are going to need support from a lot more people than just members if they want to succeed.”
    Of course they do,to get elected, that is why we have elections.
    There, people, you included, get to vote for your candidate of choice.
    Some you win, some you lose.
    Parties can put forward their policies and the voters get to choose
    No one is arm twisting you to vote Labor, but if the Greens are incapable, look to why, not just blame Labor
    “Perhaps instead of this belligerent, exclusive brethren, you might do well to listen to why people are so pissed off and maybe you should listen to some of their suggestions.”
    going from past experiences, it wouldn’t make much difference.
    Which one of you here are true swinging voters?
    You want Labor to be what you want, Labor members decide what they want, and guess where policy comes from.
    The ballot box is the decider
    Unfortunately, more people supported the LNP so we wear it for 2 more years.
    No point doing a dummy spit because my team lost

  62. diannaart

    Well spotted, Kaye Lee

    John Howard 2001: We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

    Cornlegend 2016: “The members will decide Labors direction, not those on the sidelines”

    Labor/LNP who can tell the difference? When we get down to economics, human welfare and 99% of Australians.

    Labor thinks throwing a bone to the LBGTIQ community and saving some dosh on a plebiscite put up by Abbott is good enough – except for those on the sidelines.

    I hear you, Cornie, loud and clear.

  63. mark

    The greatest impediment to progress in Australia.The Australian psyche.mark

  64. cornlegend

    diannaart
    The answer is simple really,
    If you don’t like Labors policy or direction, don’t vote for them.
    but then again, you don’t anyhow, do you ?
    Guess that is the best thing about Democracy, don’t you think?

  65. cornlegend

    on a completely different topic. a book I picked for a read while on holiday .

    Dark Age America : Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead

    After decades of missed opportunities, the door to a sustainable future has closed, and the future we face now is one in which today’s industrial civilization unravels in the face of uncontrolled climate change and resource depletion.

    What is the world going to look like when all these changes have run their course? Author John Michael Greer seeks to answer this question, and with some degree of accuracy, since civilizations tend to collapse in remarkably similar ways.

    Dark Age America, then, seeks to map out in advance the history of collapse, giving us an idea of what the next five hundred years or so might look like as globalization ends and North American civilization reaches the end of its lifecycle and enters the stages of decline and fall.

    In many ways, this is Greer’s most uncompromising work, though by no means without hope to offer. Knowing where we’re headed collectively is a crucial step in responding constructively to the challenges of the future and doing what we can now to help our descendants make the most of the world we’re leaving them.

  66. diannaart

    Cornie

    I did (vote Labor) just this year. I won’t in future.

    I approve of policies that are inclusive, humane, and progressive for the 99% of people, flora and fauna – not just the big end of town.

    PS

    Looks like Labor has missed the sustainability boat as well – I am sure “Dark Age America : Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead” is an interesting read, not like you have to take any notice of what the book is trying to explain – John Michael Greer is a sideliner as well – he’s certainly not a paid up member of a party that only believes in its past.

  67. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Why cornlegend,

    do you attack the individual commenter when they make a comment that highlights Labor’s weaknesses and wrongs? Is it too uncomfortable to bear?

    Maybe you should tell the Labor leadership what informed, politically active people are saying coz Labor will be the inevitable loser if Labor doesn’t, as the micro parties continue to appear and grow, as well as Independents.

  68. Kaye Lee

    I also voted Labor in the HoR. Does that give us a right to an opinion? I would have thought Labor would want to hear all opinions but no, a majority of delegates at an annual conference will tell all Labor members how they must vote on every issue, no other opinion tolerated after the vote on that one day, and we voters get to have a say once every three years – interim input not required as those delegates are obviously the suppository of all wisdom and good ideas can’t come from anywhere other than annual conference.

  69. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear Kaye

  70. Deanna Jones

    What you are describing is patriarchy.

  71. cornlegend

    “I also voted Labor in the HoR. Does that give us a right to an opinion?”

    You had the right to vote for whoever you chose and the policies they put forward.
    Of course you have the right to an opinion,
    You also have the right to have an opinion on whether it will be hot or cold tomorrow or anything else for that matter, but it is still only an opinion
    Labor will, through its various mechanisms develop policy.
    Then, you wiill either vote for them,
    or you won’t
    Just out of curiosity, what imput did you have in Liberal,One Nation ALA, Greens, Xenophon, Katter, etc policy ?

    “a majority of delegates at an annual conference will tell all Labor members how they must vote on every issue”
    How did you come up with that one ?

  72. Matters Not

    A few points:

    The members will decide Labors direction

    Simplistic at best. Yes the members ‘develop’ policy, via a series of proposals, long nights, factional fights, deals, compromises, refinements, conferences and – whatever. But when it comes to what will be ‘actioned’ or ‘implemented’ then the members are sidelined. The language changes pretty quickly following a win. A ‘Labor government’ soon becomes a Rudd Government or a Gillard Government or at the State level, a Goss Government or a Beattie Government and no doubt we will witness a Shorten Government. While the Labor Party will have a whole detailed policy platform, the members will have absolutely no power re what the ‘priorities’ will be or the timelines for implementing same – that’s down to either a Leader or maybe a leadership group. When it comes to the ‘nitty gritty’, the humble member becomes a spectator.

    And in many ways that’s how it must be. Members excel in imaging utopias but have little or no idea as how to achieve same. Or have any understanding of what is possible or indeed what is impossible. But they are never told that. Members are needed not for their ‘political wisdom’ (give me a break) but to perform necessary, menial tasks such as distributing ‘how to vote cards’, communicate the ‘line’ and so on.

    The notion that ‘Labor’s direction’ is down to the members is just so much nonsense. It’s in the same category as the Liberal’s direction is down to their membership.

    There’s ‘policy’ and then there’s ‘priorities’ and often they never meet. Examples provided on request.

  73. cornlegend

    “The notion that ‘Labor’s direction’ is down to the members is just so much nonsense.”

    rubbish
    Only last sunday
    Statement from three ALP reform groups

    Monday October 10

    Three Victorian organisations committed to reform of the Australian Labor Party have launched a joint campaign to give party members 50 per cent of the vote for ALP candidates for the Senate.
    A well-attended meeting of the three organisations – Open Labor, Local Labor and the Independents – voted unanimously to seek support from branches across the state for the campaign.”

    Just part of the ongoing process of Labor rank and file

  74. Matters Not

    cornlegend, you seem to have an unmatched ability to totally miss the point.

    There’s processes and then there’s outcomes.

    Understand?

    Probably not.

  75. diannaart

    Labor is lying to itself if it believes it can change a world wide trend in many OECD countries – voter disillusionment.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/11/politicians-housing-employment-childcare-control-new-economics-foundation

    Today, the New Economics Foundation is setting out ways to shift debate beyond secret negotiations over Brexit in the capitals of Europe, seemingly endless party infighting in Westminster’s opposition, or literal fights in Brussels over whose turn it is next to lead Ukip.

    Instead, we are setting out an agenda for people to take control themselves,

    I don’t know if http://neweconomics.org/ have any answers, we cannot rely upon Labor or the LNP for change.

    To borrow from a time when Labor was more inclusive: “It’s Time”

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