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How dirty?

Angel Devil How do I feel about Labor adopting Abbott’s turn back the boats policy? I will try to explain using a football analogy.

On Sunday I attended the Showdown and was exposed to the most outrageously, offensive, fickle, disrespectful behaviour I have ever seen in the football watching public in my lifetime of watching football. For the uninitiated, the Showdown is the AFL rival clash between Port Adelaide and Adelaide. Basically there were three Port members sitting behind me and my family who decided part way through the match to start cheering for Adelaide. Because Port apparently weren’t playing well enough to ‘deserve’ their support. As a lifelong Port supporter, I don’t want this type of fickle, nasty supporter embarrassing my club by bagging their own team and switching sides at the first sign of scoreboard trouble. But as my mother pointed out to me, perhaps this is what I need to put up with if I accept that to be financially viable, my football club needs as many members as possible. And inevitably, since Port has done phenomenally well to reach 60,000 members this season, a fair chunk of the new members are going to be fickle in nature and will show their disloyal easy-come, easy-go, jump-on-the-band-wagon colours whenever Port is behind on the scoreboard. This is a disappointing reality. But it is a reality I have to accept. Even if it leaves me feeling a little dirty by being forced to pragmatically forsake the club-for-the-true-believers character of my Port Adelaide, to allow for crap supporters who bring financial gains to a previously struggling club; if my beloved club isn’t financially viable, it’s not much use to the true believers as it would soon cease to exist.

So what has this tale got to do with asylum seeker policy you may ask? I see this pragmatic reality as an analogy for what it is like being a member of the ALP and having to accept the political reality of the need to win government by appealing to sections of the electorate who don’t share the values of Labor’s true believers. Case in point is the announcement that Labor’s Shadow Immigration Minister, Richard Marles wants Labor to adopt Abbott’s reprehensible policy to turn back asylum seeker boats. This policy is totally not OK with me. In fact, the whole idea of Labor supporting this policy leaves me feeling disgusted and as a Labor member, dirty. I know for a fact that I’m not alone in this reaction. My ALP branch unanimously passed a motion asking the party not to take this path. I could leave this post at that and go and rant on Twitter about how much I hate the ALP because it has stooped to this low and how I will never vote for them again and will become a Green etc etc etc. But life isn’t as simple as that. Yes, I feel dirty and ashamed. But I also understand why Labor is tempted to take this path. Because no matter how much I hate this fact, it’s still a fact; if Labor’s asylum seeker policy results in a perception in the electorate of the likely return to boat arrivals at the scale that occurred under the Rudd and Gillard governments, Labor will likely not win the next election.

Yes, there are plenty of arguments to say that Labor should lead this policy debate in a positive direction rather than appeasing the bigoted voters who will never welcome asylum seekers with open arms. In a perfect world, Labor would have done a much better job of changing public opinion so that asylum seekers aren’t demonised and rejected by the majority of voters. But in reality, Labor have failed to shift the electorate’s support towards a humane asylum seeker policy, and so too have the Greens. So just like the reality of my football club not existing is much worse than putting up with disloyal supporters, there is far more at risk if Labor loses the next election than a bad asylum seeker policy. In the absence of this shift in the electorate, a pragmatic person would need to consider this risk carefully. This risk is one word. Abbott.

I could spend hours listing all the risks of a second Abbott term. All you need to do is read my blog posts from the previous few years and you will see plenty of evidence of the dangers of giving Abbott a second go with his wrecking ball. The thought of this happening fills me with a deep dread. And even if asylum seeker policy is the only policy you care about, and you vote based on this policy, disregarding the damage Abbott has done, and would further do to health, education, welfare, infrastructure, climate change, environmental policy and many others, alongside a vicious, petty culture war, you can’t ignore that an Abbott government’s asylum seeker policy will always be worse than Labor’s asylum seeker policy.

Before I’m accused of doing this, I’ll admit to doing this. I’m asking you to hold your nose at the dirtiness of Labor’s asylum seeker policy, with the knowledge that it’s nowhere near as dirty as Abbott’s. This argument by refugee advocate and Director of Welcome to Australia, Brad Chilcott, outlines where Labor’s policies could make a difference; such as increasing Australia’s intake of asylum seekers and improving the protections for asylum seekers in the Australian community. Anyone who has followed the changes Abbott’s government has made in this policy area will know that it’s an understatement to point out that there is much room for improvement. Labor can only make these improvements if they win government.

So bring on the abuse I will no doubt get in the comments section of this post, because I’ve heard it all before. I understand that some people can’t ‘support the lesser of two evils’ if Labor goes ahead with their plan to court the bigot vote by confirming that the turn back the boats policy will stand under a Labor government. But I’m desperate to get rid of Abbott. Desperately desperate. Just like I’m willing to accept that my football club’s membership won’t be made up of the old-school true believers anymore, so too am I willing to acknowledge that Labor needs to do whatever they can to get rid of Abbott. And I’m willing to feel very dirty in accepting this reality.


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  1. Gilly

    There is a big out on this for Labor. The decision is based purely on all the, currently, available information. All the info has come from one source only. Once in power Labor has access to all relevant and verified information. Any variation in the information available before an after the election warrants a policy review. Any change to policy is then as a direct result of the current Governments deceit and secrecy. Blame Abbott.

  2. 2gravel

    I agree with you.

  3. Kenneth McGrath

    I am not going to disagree with your view that what the labor party is doing is ensuring phoney rabbit does not get back in. But I put it to you that if their victory depends on the suffering of innocents is it worth it? Is it worth surrendering one’s moral worth as a human being to achieve something of value, ie stopping idiot and the lnp? Personally I believe that if the labor party had the will and the courage and the right front person than they could carry the day by destroying the lnp and its horrific policy by revealing the truth of what is happening and what rabbit and co are doing in our name. Australians are better than what the polsters of the labor party would have you believe and I for one would not want to win government if it meant the sexual assault of even one child, it simply is not worth it. Cheers, Ken.

  4. Keitha Granville

    agree totally. Cut off noses and spite faces by deserting Labor and voting for the fascists ? that’s just nuts.
    Much better chance of changing Labor’s mind when they get government back and can analyse the situation better, come up with a more humane solution based on the best practise available.
    We cannot survive another Abbott term

  5. corvus boreus

    Want my vote?
    Call a federal ICAC.
    I am sick of public policy for sale and greedy snouts in the trough.
    Till they do this, Labor continues to endorse corruption, and will get nought but slops from me.

  6. Harquebus

    I see that being one eyed is in your nature and your article reeks of desperation and disillusionment.
    Thanks for the laugh.
    I’m with corvus boreus. “nought but slops from me” as well for Labor.

  7. kerri

    Victoria I am with you 100, 200, 600% ! There must not be another term of the Toxic Abbott Government!!
    But you ask us, to get rid of him, by voting for his best friend?? I am not being clever or coy here! Shorten is Abbott’s best friend right down to the bottom as his latest decision shows! Victoria stop and think?
    Who will Bill gives the ALP preferences to?
    The Greens?
    Like you Shorten sees the Greens as poison! And what exactly is your problem with the Greens? Those of us old enough to remember the ALP that stood for Australian Labour Party not Another Liberal Party, recognise more in The Greens than in the Shorten ALP!
    If Shorten were to win it would only be in co-alition with the Libs.
    Recent events might well see the Nats drop or be dropped by Abbott.
    I used to wish the ALP could form a co-alition with the Greens in a desperate desire to see the Labor Party return to its roots? I had pretty much given up on them, but when they start advocating secrecy in dealing with poor despearte people and sanctioning abuse of children?
    And yes they do sanction it if they vote to permit it to go unreported.
    Labor has lost me for good.
    Green is the only way now!

  8. bensab3bensab3

    Thank you Victoria for putting into words my thoughts as well. I understand the difficulty of finding a suitable solution, there probably isn’t one. However, with the aggressive, amoral, regressive Prime Minister and Cabinet we have had to endure for the last 2 1/2years, it is imperative we don’t give this disgraceful coalition ammunition to destroy Labor, and take office again. We simply cannot afford to have this ideology governing Australia , too much damage has already been done. I can see the annihilation now. I have been agonising over how I feel about this, but nagging always in the background is the kniwledge that Abbott will be merciless, and as destructive as he always has been. I am probably one of those new Labor voters (2013) you talk of. Passionate about our precious environment, and the present and iminent dire consequences of this fast warming World. I joined, as I want to have a voice. So I hope you don’t get abuse, I hope those reading this will open their minds to the difficulties, and the danger of another 3 years of Abbott. I do believe that Labor will not be brutal in this.

  9. Jim

    This sums up what is wrong with Australian politics, power at any cost, principals be damned.

    It’s not sport either. Sport is a business these days. Barracking for one side in politics is foolish. If both parties exchanged policies who would you support?

    Also it seems undemocratic to say you don’t have enough support so you have to fool to public into thinking you are something you’re not just to get their vote. Win it on merit not bullshit.

  10. NormanK

    Very well said. Asylum seeker policy is the Titanic of Australian politics. It will take a long time to turn around and this can only be achieved from the helm. Wait ’til Labor are in power and then harass them.

  11. Steve777

    A grown up country should have no problem with few hundred or a few thousand asylum seeker arrivals each year, even the odd spike into the tens of thousands. It would work within the law, cooperate with its neighbours in search of a solution and bear its share of the load. We live in a peaceful, prosperous country in a troubled world. People risk everything for a chance at a better life here. That’s not a bad problem to have when you come to think about it. Some parts of the world are so bad people risk everything to get out.

    The Liberals can persuade a significant tranche of Australians to vote for a neoliberal future for this country by cultivating moral panic over asylum seekers and dogwhistling to bigots. It doesn’t have to be a large number – a couple of percentage points at the margins can win elections. Much easier than trying to persuade Australians of the virtues of privatising the delivery of health and education and rationing it by ability to pay, gradually dismantling Medicare and public broadcasting, winding back the social welfare safety net and working with corporate interests to force down down wages, conditions and bargaining power for the great majority of working Australians.

    Labor has decided to beat a strategic retreat on asylum seekers and concentrate on the main game. In an ideal world, indeed in a grown up country, it would not be necessary. Unfortunately we live in neither.

  12. myzania3350

    I was thinking similar thoughts over the course of today. I can only hope that once in office, they’ll be able to do some hard humane politicking – laying the groundwork for a true regional solution while still making sure those on boats are sent back? I don’t know.
    But I’m still seriously tempted to put them second and Greens first, with all the other “me too” policies. Glurk!
    LNP at the bottom, of course.

  13. corvus boreus

    Asylum seekers are not the ‘Titanic’ of Australian politics, they are a squeaky little chew toy that gets tossed around and mauled every time the dog-whistle gets blown.

    Fed-Lab joins the Libs and Nats in showing absolute zero-tolerance for unauthorised maritime arrivals, whilst defending (in a ‘bipartisan’ fashion) the institutions of brown-bag policy and a culture of rorts and junkets in politics.

    Labor obviously does not give a shit about my vote.

  14. Cranston

    Labour has not failed to shift public opinion towards a safer and more human refugee policy. It has failed to even make an effort to do so. In government and opposition, they have stood behind the Tories and cheered for them. They have never made any case for reversing our disgraceful and inhumane treatment of refugees other than abolishing TPV for a short time. Rudd and Gillard were no different and no better than the execrable Howard.
    Until the ALP rediscovers its principles I’m not going to vote for them. If necessary, I’ll attend a polling place as required by law and put a blank ballot in the box.

  15. Paolo Soprani

    Whilst I admire your pragmatism, Victoria, I simply cannot vote for a political party, any political party, that has been sucked in to the asylum seeker non-event and thinks it’s OK to imprison innocent people in concentration camps on tropical island hellholes indefinitely. These people are innocent. They have committed no crime, and if the price that has to be paid is another dreadful Abbott term of government then so be it – until the political class realises that what the country really needs is politicians with the guts and the balls and the basic intelligence to start preaching and persuading a better way, a less toxic way, a more ethical way to conduct politics than the broken, corrupted mess we now have.

  16. Dadda

    Labor is not the only alternative to Abbott

  17. allanr44

    Victoria, I understand your argument. But I do not agree. I HATE this policy. but I unconditionally ABSOLUTELY DESPISE abbott (who, in a disarmingly moderate way, I refer to as clownshoes – lower case intended, as it is with all the coalition). But I cannot accept that the end justifies the means.

    Here’s a thought. What about promoting a policy of inclusion? Let’s stop offshore processing altogether, and bring asylum seekers to Australia, millions of them, and, after appropriate assessment, settle them in rural and regional Australia. We have plenty of room. Give them work, allow them to contribute to our economy, our society, and our sense of that old chestnut, ‘a fair go’. Yes, there’ll be bogans, decrying the very idea. But guess what? They’ll do that whatever the policy. Bigots are bigots, and they need to be culled. I firmly believe that most Australians, not the vocal minority, just hate the cruelty imposed on these poor people. They cringe with embarrassment every time the UNHCR criticises us, when it isn’t even us, it’s clownshoes and his philistines.

    So, the argument goes … Do we do the political thing, and play the shorten/clownshoes political polka? Or do we show a bit of guts, and put the humane and decent policy to the Australian people? You may be surprised at the outcome. And if the higher ground is captured, the neocons are gone for the foreseeable future. Sounds like excellent value to me.

    PS: I no longer support what used to be the ALP. I am now a Greens supporter. Imperfect, but way better than the alternatives.

  18. Joe

    I reject your assertion that a labor voter that supports a turn back the boat policy is a johnny come lately or a fairweather supporter. I consider myself, though not necessarily a died in the wool labor voter ( I have voted Greens before) i definitely am very left of the center, yet have recently come around to the idea of a turn back the boats policy. Not the way Tony Abbot is enforcing it yet certainly part of an overall strategy. Why? Because I can’t think of anything less humane than allowing people to give their life savings to a bunch of criminals that then shove them in ever crowded, less than seaworthy boats. To what end? often to a life of modern slavery owned by the same criminals that brought them here. No matter which way you look at it the policy has (and I understand we don’t have the full details) but at the very least significantly reduced the flow of boats and I don’t see how anyone, left or right, would argue that’s a bad thing.
    It has to be part of a policy of increased refugee intake, increased aid to poorer countries and some sort of strategic plan amongst all the local states to increase positive outcomes for refugees.

  19. mars08

    Oh it’s gonna be stunnning!!!

    The ALP will form government… and once in power… it will rapidly (and seamlessly) adopt a humane, compassionate policy towards asylum seekers!!! Yaaaaiiirrs…. that’s the plan, right?

  20. Patrick

    I’m kinda hoping at some stage in the next decade there is a major schism in Australian politics. I’d love to see Labour Left unite with the Greens to form a genuinely electable progressive party.

  21. Keith Woolsey

    At least close Manus and Nauru, if the boats have been stopped why do we need them? Hey Patrick, love the Labor Left/Greens alliance idea!

  22. Fustercluck

    Like it or not, the numbers say Labor is unlikely to win the next election without being at least seen to adopt a turn-back policy. Do you think AS will be better off if the Tory arsehats get back?

    Will any of us?

    I loath the way we’ve treated refugees, however I loath the potential damage to the entire nation from another 3 years of The Lying Friar even more! What sort of country will my kids and grandkids have to live in?

    It’s no time for Labor to be placating those who ignore the realities when there’s so much at stake!

  23. Peter

    SO to win Government Labor thinks it should act and feel like the LNP? So you have no values left? You will give them all up in an attempt to win Government – to win no matter what – If you want to and act like LNP, why not go in coalition with LNP?

    Why should a swinging voter vote for you? Why not just vote for the party thats already in? After all, its their turn back policy that you want to carbon copy. Why vote for a second rate copy when you can have the real thing? Why vote for the party that has miraculously changed its position and admitted it was wrong to oppose Abbotts turn back policy all along? You were wrong, they were right – by your own admission. Why should a swinging voter trust you? You can’t even stay true to your word, you can’t stay true to your beliefs. Why should a Labor voter trust you? – Now in an attempt to win the next election you are willing to sell out your values to become a defacto LNP party – or at least you are attempting to look and feel the same – to become down and dirty with them.

    Labor has shifted so far to the right, for me they are no longer the Labor Party I have been voting for since Bob Hawke came into power – I voted for a Bob Hawke Labor government. And have been happy to support Labor right up until now. I wont support Labor at the next election as you have sold out on your values, you have decided to ‘get down and dirty’ with the LNP. I really don’t see much of a difference between the parties.

    I know many other Labor supporters have had a gutful too and they can no longer support this continual shift to the right. When policy and social-economic stance by any party moves away from the position you hold important, its time to find another party that holds the values the same as you. This is not Labor. This is not Liberal (LNP). The Greens get the tick as their social-economic views are what I believe in. Labor once were like this, they are not now. I have not changed my views, they are exactly the same that I had back when Bob Hawke came to power. Its you Labor that have changed! So much so that I can no longer support you.

    You will find the more you shift to the right, the more you will lose support from the left. Thats to be expected, and if they were true to themselves they cannot stand with a party that is moving more and more to the right. How can we tell who you are now? Are you Labor, or are you Liberal? Or maybe LLNP Coalition?

    Not happy Labor!

  24. mark delmege

    Look on the bright side (if you can) pre election KRudd told all the lies possible to get into office just like TABbot. They lie, cheat and do and say anything to pick up a few votes. That said I have no faith in them anymore anyway. No real leadership no real alternative vision no real fightback just neo liberal lite is the best we can expect from that lot.

  25. Annie B

    Victoria – …

    Politics – as we all know, or should know – is a very dirty game. ( Dirtier than the Port Adelaide / Adelaide clash could EVER be ).

    When I first saw this on TV this evening, i.e. Shorten – seeming to go along with the LNP on ‘stopping the boats’ ( how many times has the abbutt said THAT ? ) … I thought – ” Ok that’s him out – he can go to hell in a basket … no more support of Shorten from me” .. ( and I have supported him throughout with some very solid reservations at times ) …

    Then I thought about it …. why would he DO that ? …. what political gain could he be trying to achieve.

    A level playing field is what … ( and political reporters said much the same thing ).

    Abbott has no rejoinder, no come-back, and must be sitting extremely uncomfortably at this point. … the risk Shorten took was within and with his own party. … But no-one could tell me that they didn’t know, and didn’t support his political ploy. …. Still and all, there will be ALP members of the Caucus, who will object.

    At the same time that Shorten did this alleged ‘turn around’ … he quietly slipped in his ideas for bringing asylum seekers to Australia … might have been nice to be 100% of them, but 50% increase is better than 0% increase. … and he has cast the first of his nets. … A dicey fishing area he’s looking at, but then – he didn’t weather the Union faction, didn’t dish the dirt on his colleagues ( Rudd / Gillard ) along with a half dozen others in the ALP … without being a brute in politics. ….

    And frankly, it will take a brute to stand up to a brute, in a brutal game. …. And it is – brutal. … I doubt anyone here could argue with THAT.

    Nasty isn’t it ? ….

    Can we trust him ? … can we trust the ALP? …. [ It IS a pity the Greens are not strong enough (yet) to make Government … with a fresh approach. ] …. If we were to ‘guess’ the outcome of this advance into the ALP’s plans for the future, we would have to look at two things ( read – two men ) … and frankly if anyone could possibly trust the pee-em even for 0.05% of the time, I’d be amazed. ….

    As far as being trustworthy IN Government, I would have to trust the ALP more than I ever would the LNP, their leader, or any of their ministers. … It’s no use bemoaning the fate of asylum seekers – it has happened, courtesy of the current government. … A vile and disgusting state of affairs, as it stands today.

    The ALP have much to gain …….. and also much to lose. … problem is, many in the community will not see the reasons behind the machinations in this political ‘move’ by Shorten. … And therein, possibly lies a big problem.

    Shorten has taken it on – let’s see how far the poltical game play gets – and how many of the ALP’s policies for the future now comes to light – little by little, would be my guess …

    After all, ‘timing is everything’.

  26. mars08

    Following the Coalition spin on budget deficits, domestic spying, troop deployments, trade pacts AND asylum seekers. Pander to the billionaires, bigots, bogans and bedwetters.

    Such a brilliant strategy! Essentially confirm that Abbott’s policies and actions are the correct path to follow… admit that the Coalition has got it right. And then expect the electorate to vote for the ALP rather than the Coalition.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  27. Annie B

    And before anybody corrects me …. ref : “and frankly if anyone could possibly trust the pee-em even for 0.05% of the time, I’d be amazed.” ….

    I was addressing the 99% of commenters here on the AIM Network – not the 45% first pref. voters who put LNP at the top of the list in 2013. !!!!


  28. Sonya

    Thanks so much for this perspective. Very helpful

  29. kerri

    Mars08 you make so much sense! Why vote Lib Lite when you can vote Full Lib?
    Victoria? I, and I am sure many others await your thoughts?

  30. M-R

    I have my fingers crossed that this will mean Shorten is so crushed by his internal opposition that he will have to resign.

  31. David

    I am too angry to even think about having a go at you Victoria, which I wouldn’t regardless of my anger with Shorten, the despicable weak Marles and the Right faction promoting this obscene backdown.
    I will reserve my comments until the outcome of the Conference Resolution is known after the weekend. My day was made less horrific reading Anthony Albanese’s comments chastising Shorten. At last the left along with the lovely Anna Burke is finding its voice.
    I leave it there until…………

  32. kerri

    David? Where can I read Albo’s chastising? I saw Anna Burke and the woman is an angel! Way over the heads of most of her peers for humanity and humility. A REAL politician!

  33. David

    I omitted to add a PS…..Shortens change of tune has nothing to do with his abysmal polling of course.

  34. mmc1949

    I can see where you’re coming from, Victoria, but it lacks logic. If you like Liberal policies, surely you vote Liberal, “not” Liberal-Lite. On the other hand, those who think like Kenneth McGrath will turn from Labor, with it’s currently stated policies. Labor has to tell the story of refugee success in this country and the rightness and benefits of doing our bit to help. If Shorten isn’t up to the task, even at this stage and with the drawbacks involved, he should be replaced.
    If we do suffer another three years of Abbott taking us to hell in a hand-basket, I would prefer to make the journey with “my” conscience clear.

  35. eli nes

    little billy just became bill shorten of the beaconsfield and has found a solution to the rabbutt’s first slogan.
    The other day he struck a blow to the rabbutt’s second slogan on carbon price Especially, if he keeps hammering this is little jonnies and the Pope’s solution.
    The third the rabbutt has borrowed and spent so much that a few figures on debt will sink the debt slogan.
    The fourth is arrogance of cigar sucking hockey and his budget attacks on the poor.
    The fifth is the FTAs of robb and the promise of sending overseas possible $500 billion out of Labor’s AAA economy.
    The sixth is the trashing of conventions by bronny bias

    I am refreshed and hopeful that this amoral bully will be shown the damage he has done to this country and be so ashamed as to give himself a knighthood and retire to England.

    ps Victoria: We shifted, from the peninsula, into a fibre temporary trust home on Osborne ave, only 60 yards from the power house fence. But we had tilley lamps and a wood stove. The ice truck, the green grocer van and the baker’s horse drawn cart delivered to the door.(the huge blocks of such long-lasting ce was precariously carried by the weird scissor-like tongs), We shifted to the trust homes of brick duples in woodie west. We were Ports and still are but dad and I (not mum and the girls) when the woodpeckers started went with them. When they joined lindsay head’s eagles we returned to the fold.
    Fair weather supporters follow all teams, I would not be so sensitive firstly as we could have won another 5 games with a little luck and secondly 10 goals 1 was typical of the way our opponents have lifted against a great team, the real maggies!!!!!!!!

  36. Anon E Mouse

    Alternatively Labor could start demanding greater accountability and transparency about the ‘great big secret, very expensive, boat turn-back on water operations’. Hell we don’t even know how many boats have been lost at sea, how many survived the turnbacks, how many crew were paid to turnback, how much of that money for crews to take boats back actually was paid to the crew and how much was pocketed elsewhere. How about Labor starts demanding transparency and fairness for those in off-shore and on-shore detention centres, their health and living conditions, where the money is going and how these contracts are awarded…

    Labor should be screaming about kids being abused in Australian run detention centres in Naru. We have a Royal Commission about the sexual abuse of children happening right now – but what about the kids in detention centres.

    There is a hell of a lot Labor can do, but Bill is plain incompetent.

  37. Anon E Mouse

    I will not be voting for a Labor party who is just ever-so-slightly less far right than Abbott. I will not be voting Green either because they are too bloody cosy to the Libs – voting with them against Rudd’s ETS, removing Hockey’s debt ceiling, and shafting aged pensioners.

    I will be voting independent and in the senate I will be going along with roo poo throwing ringins – at least Ricky Muir has some back-bone to stand by his values. Ricky Muir is more Labor than Bill Shorten could ever hope to be.

  38. mars08

    From an article in The Age from January, 2014…

    …59 per cent of people think most boat arrivals are not genuine refugees….

    A strong majority of Australians, 60 per cent, also want the Abbott government to “increase the severity of the treatment of asylum seekers.”

    Groups most strongly favouring harsher policies are older Australians (aged over 70 years – 68 per cent), and self-employed people (71 per cent). People in Queensland and Western Australia are slightly more supportive of a more severe approach (65 per cent and 64 per cent respectively) than in Victoria and NSW (both 62 per cent).

    Give the public what they want, right? Easy! Especially if the people being hurt are isolated, traumatised, demonised, weak, foreign, vulnerable… and CAN’T VOTE.

  39. Greg Harnett

    Well, I don’t agree with your support of the lesser of two evils and as far as offensive behaviour from AFL fans go, switching sides is pretty tame compared to a still very vocal number hurling racial abuse. But then maybe we just have different priorities.

  40. Anon E Mouse

    How much dirtier are you prepared to feel when Abbott unleashes even harsher measures on asylum seekers. Rest assured he and his bridesmaid Morrison will find new ways to make life even harder for them, just so they can say they are ‘tougher’ than Labor. It is surely a dance with the devil.

    As for disloyal supporters, it is not that supporters are disloyal to the Labor party, but Labor has become an new reich-winged party – it has abandoned its loyal supporters.

    Maybe the left-leaning social justice battlers like me will notice if Labor abandons its dance with the devil and rediscovers its soul.

  41. Evan

    The one thing that seems to have been forgotten in all this discussion is that the leader of the Labor party cannot make unilateral decisions unlike what seems to be the case with the Liberal party.
    Shorten may say that something is his personal view on an issue but it cannot be said it is the party’s view until it is ratified by the National conference.
    To swallow the MSM propaganda that what has been reported is Labor policy is to fall into their trap. Shorten could easily be rolled on this issue at the national conference and until the outcome is known everything really is speculation.
    Please do not fall into the trap of the liberal party and their supportive hacks in the MSM.

  42. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    I am just hoping that neither major party gets a majority and, since Labor beats Abbott hands down when it comes to negotiating with the Greens and the independents, then we have a faint hope of no more Tony.
    And I support hands down the need for Labor to commit to an ICAC.

  43. Conrad

    Thanks Victoria for your musings. And I do understand them. A relative of mine accepts the need for less-carbon in the environment, wants more progressive taxation reform, wants more finance for hospitals and education, urges reform of political donations and has other progressive views. But it is also a fact that he has a bee in his bonnet about overseas people trying to come to Australia and this threatening our way of life. He would see the refugee issue as a hot-key issue, so your analysis about Shorten’s stance would certainly apply to him. Sad but true.

  44. Annie B

    @ Anon E Mouse — ref : your post – July 23, 2015 at 10:34 pm.

    “Alternatively Labor could start demanding greater accountability and transparency about the ‘great big secret, very expensive, boat turn-back on water operations’.”

    Labor ( or anyone ) can demand all they like; the Liar-bril government will not answer ANY questions. … They hold the ace card ( for the moment ) … and simply do not have to reply to anything asked. Ever. … Besides which – with the Bishop speaker still in the chair ( on probation – wot a laugh ) … the Opposition would not even get the questions out and on the table. !! … She won’t change her tactics, and neither will the LNP.

    Although, I am sure this latest poltical manouvre by the ALP would give the abbutt much pause for thought(s).

    @ Evan ……

    Admittedly, the MSM ( especially on TV ) edit out what they don’t want … and manipulate listeners, one way or the other … ( depending on their particular bent ). ,,, But when a spoken word is shown .. they cannot ‘unring bells’. Not possible. … The relaying of Shorten’s words, were not a manipulation by the media – Shorten manipulated it himself, for most likely a considered reasoning. …. It was not as though he was ‘caught out’ saying something that was not intended for public edification. …. He wasn’t. … he cast that net out to catch a sprat – and I think his hook was well baited.

    the abbutt could not stomach his favourite 4 word slogan being trashed ‘we’ve stopped the boats’ ( and it has been trashed now – think about it … ) …. by the opposition, because they ‘appear’ to agree, partly by reference to a former Labor government who did not do the right thing themselves, by asylum seekers. … My only fear is that the abbutt might take a leaf out of Shortens’ book, and start ‘admitting’ his own parties’ wrong doings over particularly, this past 22 months. ,,, THAT might have more people thinking what a great fella he is. !!

    @ Rosemary –

    agree …. Labor must commit to an ICAC, with hints towards the end game – to be able to put into effect eventually – an ICAC. ….Unfortunately, I don’t think that can happen now. ,,, More’s the pity.


    Just wait – and watch.

  45. trishcorry

    I haven’t read through the comments yet; so I don’t know if they are favourable or unfavourable. However, I would like to convey this to you. Firstly congratulations on another very good article and secondly congratulations and also an extending of shaking of the hand through the portals of the internet on keeping a cool head long enough so you could write this piece.

    I had a go last night after watching 7.30 and mine was just full of expletives and anger. I too have been thinking today about “What is important to us as a nation?” After trawling through hundreds of comments all over social media and news forums yesterday; what really stuck out for me was, what are people wiling to sacrifice based on one issue? I am glad that you have addressed this so thoughtfully here.

    I do however believe that Shorten needs to come out and lay down the “Labor’ Law of how things will be and differentiate from Abbott. I am hoping for transparency, humane treatment, proper access to medical and legal and definitely sanitary items for all women. I think Shorten can also involve the Greens on this, by asking them to work with Labor on improvements to the treatment of Asylum seekers in detention. A tripartite agreement would only be beneficial to developing this policy.

    Again, congrats. Love your work.

  46. Pauline

    Unfortunately I live in a safe Liberal seat so it is the Senate that holds the key for me. I can understand the article, but for me, I have been disgusted by Labors stance in opposition especially supporting regressive legislation for “protecting” our borders, and to prevent “terrorist” attacks. I no longer feel that they can be trusted to represent my views. However, I really want to see Abbott turfed convincingly at the next election, and am hoping that he does not get handed the election due to an unrelated world event, as 911 did for Howard. Abbott’s tactics are to promote fear and create artificial demons that require a champion to save us…ie him. The current Labor stance should be to challenge and dispel the myths, but instead, they seem to be doing a “me too” approach, which will lose voters like me. There are some excellent people in the Labor parliamentarians, but they are not being allowed to shine through, and messages such as this one on turning back boats are conflicting with core values of many Labor supporters who now face a voting dilemma. It is significant that support for thr Greens has taken a sharp upturn in recent weeks. The Labor conference will determine the policy, but to support it is immoral, but to reject it will reflect poorly on Bill Shorten.

  47. clarelhdm

    Oh dear. What can I say? Shorten couldn’t even wait to allow this issue to be debated at national Conference, and thought it would be clever to wedge the Left faction by going public on this before conference. This is democracy? This is Labor listening to its grassroots? Unfortunately for Labor, the Libs are better at this game than they are. They were already cooing about the ‘split in the Labor party’ and ‘Why would you trust them with your vote as they are obviously not in agreement on this issue’.
    Telling us that Labor will sort it all out once they get into government is absurd. They only just got out of government. They had the chance then, and when their internal squabbles caused them to lose favour with the electorate, what did they do? they kicked their favourite squeaky toy (thanks mars08) and got dear Bob Carr to announce a return to hard line policy against all those ‘economic refugees’.
    A week or so ago a young Scottish MP Mhairi Black gave her maiden speech. She spoke of how she had not left Labor, but that Labor had left her, and that politicians needed to be signposts, standing up for the right path, the right way to live, and not weathervanes, blowing about in the wind of public opinion. I can only endorse her words here, and cry from my heart for how much we need a better type of politician. Be inspired here
    I am not so sure this is a slippery slope. There is money involved here, big money. Union ties to the detention industry. You may feel dirty Victoria, and so you should, because Labor is truly dirty here. Have a read of this

  48. stephentardrew

    I am personally getting absolutely sick of this crap and the reams of arguments. Refugees are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. This is the same expediency that is leading the environment into a hell hole. Both parties are horrible, immoral, inhumane self-interested cowards who are leading us down a path to pure racist discrimination. We created many of these refugees and my fellow cowards you are cruel and horrible excuses for intelligent beings.

    I am sick of the false justifications. You do not belong in a democracy in which you have the benefits of birth and opportunity while you would deny it to people who are suffering intolerably. You my dear inhumane citizens and leaders will be put to shame in the future and will be rightly recognised as morally compromised and totally selfish primitives. You were born into opportunity and deny it to those who suffer. How the hell are you going to build a better world for your children when you drag them into moral turpitude. Cowards each and every one of you.

  49. John Doubst

    Victoria your football analysis seems overly long winded and doesn’t quite have the same gravitas as the recent actions by Bill Shorten with Labor Party policy direction.
    Victoria you are not unlike Shorten in that you take so long to say something most of us have no idea what you want to say.
    Is it along the lines of Shorten is only a fair weather friend but at least his there?
    Unfortunately Abbott seems to be running rings around Shorten as far as being able to get his ideas out concisely and you may have noticed that Abbott seems to of taken his gloves off, become less of a fighter as he turns into the final straight before Calling an Election.
    If you are a labour supporter or Maybe just an Abbott hater, you, as am I are in big trouble.
    For reasons that defy reason Shorten thinks by leaving no gap between their Asylum policies he is going to win votes. Eh?

  50. Bob Breinl

    I agree with Keith Woolsey, if they do turn back, then at least close Manus and Naru centres. Cruel unjust punitive detention doesn’t save lives lost at sea. It destroys those same lives on land.

  51. randalstella

    Congratulations to Labor for doing what should be impossible – turning a knuckle-dragging would-be thug, a mental incompetent, a moral cripple, a dangerous and destructive hoon, a psychopathic liar…. into a winner!
    And who said just on one issue? Do they pay any attention?
    And nice autocratic touch there on the concentration camps, preempting the national conference. What leadership.
    Johnnie Roskam,IPA head and best mate will be proud as punch.
    A country led by pillaging gangsters – ‘opposed’ by gutless wonders.
    And by the show here, Labor supporters can be trusted as much as their Party.
    Where’s the ICAC – that would win votes without any timid fears of feral retribution? As corvus says here, the opposition to that is the sign of just who and what now is Labor.
    They are not pretending to support the Bott. The apologist liberal party regret any suggestion that they do not admire and respect him.

  52. chrisnicholls

    A very considered essay. I and many others, no doubt, are highly sympathetic to its message and reasoning. However. No. It is just not bloody good enough for the Australian Labor Party to appease the Australian voter, and going along with its base fears. History is redolent with the results of sticky appeasement. It doesn’t work, it just makes the purpetrator look weak and ineffectual – like Shorten. And it doesn’t work! It never works.

    In the immortal screenwords of the Prison Warden in Cool Hand Luke, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate”; not only that, but we have a failure to lead. This is all about fear, and fear is not like the ups and downs of a football match. Fear robs us of reason. Fear robs us of the reasoning to enable us to see rationally, that to accept such bitter and dangerous pills as compassionless government, the breaking of social democracy (such as it tenuously is in this country), is somehow appropriate in the light of the terrible fear of another Abbott Government. Another three years, and maybe another and another…

    It is truly about principles. If we don’t stand up for what is right, what we know to be true – our principles – then any such government is base and we are all morally corrupt. We have to stop the flight from reason and and determine that the only course of action is an alternative policy, and one considered by all of the experience and knowledge we can bring to bear, to determine a better solution than demonisation, than anti-humanitarianism, than concentration camps, than loss of life at sea, than rape and torture, than giving into our base national xenophobia, and turning back the boats.

    Our current Opposition is ineffectual, weak and rudderless (no pun intended). At a time when the Australian people should have an alternate leader shouting from the ragged ramparts, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light”, we have one who tells us, “we have to admit we were wrong”; and “stopping the boats” is important, and that the way to do that in part is to “have a policy of turning back”, the Abbott government is ‘right’…

    This stance will ultimately give us another term for the Abbott Government.

    This is what I would have said, if I had been Shorten:

    “The migration of asylum seekers by boat to Australian shores was and is, unacceptable; not because these people are cheats, not because these refugees are terrorists in disguise, not because they are all ‘economic refugees’, and not because they are ‘illegal’, but because they are in great peril in doing so, traveling in failing, sinking fishing vessels. Life is important, and these men, women and children coming to our shores is such terrible conditions and by such perilous methods has to stop.

    So, the Labor Party, in government under my leadership will do the following: maintain the current regime of the foul Abbott Government for a period no greater than it takes for us to gather the expertise, ideas and knowledge of how to deal with the situation and come up with a far better alternative than this brutal compassionless garbage the current Government is spewing out to the Australian people.

    We have been wrong in all our policies to date in this matter. This will now stop. We will gather Australian and international expertise and come up with a real alternative to the dilemmas we face. Such things are not unique to Australia, the world is experiencing increasing levels of global conflicts and unrest. So let us unite as a people and come up with solutions which work, but by other means than the current outrage the Abbott Government has perpetrated on the refugees and the Australian people, so that once more we can become the land of the ‘fair go’, reason, and compassion.”

    It is always about leadership. Not just a having a popular ‘policy’.

  53. randalstella

    ‘We had to destroy the village in order to save it’. Pragmatic reality epitomised.
    Of course it was not our village, only theirs. We would not kill or torture anything that matters to us. We’re that decent.
    Stop the boats. May they rot in our hell holes. One shit hole per score of desperates. They stink.
    Being desperate is a sign of vulnerability, a fallibility. Fallibility is a sin. Any decent culture knows that. How strange they are, not to know that about us. Have they no values at all?
    Or, send them back to be murdered. Serve them right for bothering us. They are sent back and they are murdered. That’s clarity of policy for you. Got to stop those drownings (from bothering us).
    Ah, the niceties of strategy.
    You see, there are no analogies but the footy, and which team gets up. It means that much. She condescends to guide us.

  54. Gordon Ferraby

    If we go down this line of thinking then why not take it further ?.I don’t know how far a “logical/pragmatic” conclusion you wish to travel to
    but on that basis (needing to win government ) and perceived voter popularity shall we for example:

    Agree that the terror threat is so real that we should embrace stripping of citizenship on the same basis. (A recent poll say 69% of Australians believe ISIS is THE MOST important issue.. )
    Agree to have laws that overrule the jurisdiction of the high court and independence of the judiciary.
    Agree with laws that potentially can lock up journalists for 10 years.
    Asylum laws that require doctors, teachers, nurses etc to not report abuse on pain of 2 years jail.

    And whilst we at it, a plutocracy (ie. government by the wealthy for the wealthy) is far more efficient at “getting things done”; embrace it.
    I could list a litany of similar examples of places one can go and justify by way of your proposed pragmatism.

    Do you trust politicians operating within a 3 year cycle (permanent electability the top policy concern) that much ?
    One reason we got Abbott is that type of thinking.

    Whilst I’m not proposing it would come to pass here in the 21st Cent.:
    The German population of 1933 (roughly) adopted pragmatism and “safe” leadership, and relinquishing responsibility (partly through fear and doubt). One day after the carnage was over, and a tragic chapter of human history was over; many said “but we never realised, we didn’t see it for what it was. It happened so slowly and insidiously”.. and they were sincere.. most really hadn’t.

    Change can happen so gradually.
    Be pragmatic..democracy is deeply flawed ( The USA Republic..people don’t even vote for a candidate , it’s an electoral college that cost Al Gore the Presidency..Florida ignored the popular vote).
    We need to abandon it as our ideals are for sale ?..Is this the pragmatism you really wish for ?.

    It is said “the people get the government they deserve”. Remember that next time you vote.

  55. corvus boreus

    Predictions for 2016 based upon current trends.

    Looks like Abbott will be returned with a reduced majority.
    Labor might increase very slightly on 2013 results.
    Greens will see a greatly increased electoral share, as will many independents.
    The informal vote will probably also be a big winner in the 2016 election.
    Political corruption will continue unchecked, and we will slide further into civil disunity and governmental repression.
    Meanwhile, in the biosphere…

    (Sigh). I’m off to plant some trees- it’s raining.

  56. Gordon Ferraby

    I’m afraid, very afraid..that you maybe right.

  57. chrisnicholls

    Politics is not a team sport. It’s serious life and death stuff. We should be more careful with our analogies.

  58. kathysutherland2013

    @ Stephen Tardrew – I agree. These are human beings we’re talking about, and instead of offering them the support they need, some people want to use them as political footballs. How despicable! Yes, I want to get rid of Abbott too, but stooping to his level is worse. Shorten has shown no inkling of human compassion, only political expediency and that’s not good enough. If he can’t be trusted with the lives of those asking for help, what can he be trusted with? There’s no guarantee now that a Labor government won’t try to pass the sort of legislation the LNP government has passed. No, I can’t support Bill and the Right. Happily for me, I live in a seat held by the Independent Andrew Wilkie – the only member to speak in Parliament against the Border Protection Bill.

  59. Kaye Lee

    Am I to understand that you think it is ok to do anything at all to win? Would you still cheer loudly for Port if they coat-hangered or tripped their opposition, if they engaged in verbal and physical abuse, if they bribed the umpires?

    Bill Shorten is a short man with a huge ambition. He wants to be PM by hook or by crook. He will do whatever it takes to achieve what he believes to be his rightful position. He will play the political games even when it means sacrificing his constituency and wedging his own party. The revelations from the RC show that Bill does deals that enhance his own power. Why would a company pay the union dues for its employees? So Bill can up his numbers. There is talk of similar skulduggery in his leadership contest with Albanese.

    Obviously I agree that Abbott must go – he is a dangerous puppet. But Shorten is showing he is cut from the same cloth. He is a dealer when we need a leader. I am getting to the stage where I trust Shorten less than Abbott – only because Abbott is such an obvious fool, Shorten is much slyer.

  60. David

    Something else our ‘brave’ right faction led Opposition has been deadly silent on and concerns me greatly is the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. I haven’t been able to ascertain if it is on the agenda for Conference, but frankly it is disturbing we are being told nothing.
    NZ Labour (yes that is how they spell the name) are not so silent and under their not so lame duck new leader Andrew Little, noise is being made. Andrew has done great things reviving Labour’s fortunes over the ditch and he released this memo yesterday

    Dear david,

    As more information has leaked about the highly secretive draft Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, I’ve become more concerned about just what the government wants to sign us up for.

    That’s why Labour will not support the TPPA unless these strict principles are upheld:

    Pharmac must be protected
    Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
    New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of land and housing to non-resident foreign buyers
    The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
    Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access

    If these bottom lines are not met, Labour will not support the progress of the TPPA.

    Labour supports free trade, that’s why we signed a Free Trade Agreement with China in 2008. But the TPPA is more than just a trade agreement, and we will not support it unless we are confident it is in New Zealand’s interests and will not undermine our sovereignty.

    We’re sending an open letter to the Trade Minister Tim Groser and the Prime Minister asking them to not support the TPPA if it doesn’t meet these bottom lines. If enough of us sign the letter, they’ll be forced to listen or risk looking like they’re ignoring the will of thousands of Kiwis concerned that New Zealand is being sold out.

    david, will you join us and sign the open letter?


    It’s not good enough for the government to only release information to the public after they’ve signed the agreement, especially when our national sovereignty is at stake.


    Andrew Little
    Leader of the Opposition

    That is leadership, something Shorten should emulate.

  61. Anthony

    I see where you are coming from but at some point you have to stop compromising even if it hurts you in the short term. I dislike the sliding slope argument generally but that is exactly what we have here. If you look over a longer time period than just Abbott Australian politics has been a constant slide to the right as Labor keeps trying to compromise with the Liberal Party and present a “small target” rather than actually standing up and stating “Sorry this is what we believe is right, even if it hurts us this is what we should do”. Look at Fraser, so far left of the Labor party. Now did his opinions shift left or did the Labor party shift right? Possibly both but DEFINITELY Labor has shifted more and more to the right.

    With a PM as hated as Abbott is, with the gaffs he is constantly making its time Labor used this not to “me to” but rather to actually stand up and say “This is WRONG, we have to start showing compassion”. Look at the attacks on the Human Rights commissioner, is that going to be the next thing Labor believes it should compromise on? How about privatising the ABC which is on Abbott’s wish list?

    Lastly your article fails to look at one very important matter, this is NOT a football team, if Port folds you would be sad but suck it up, Fitzroy supporters survived. This policy though is actually costing LIVES, real lives of real people

    That report is from 2013 but does anyone honestly think things have gotten BETTER under the silence of this current goverment?

    and these are the people we can COUNT, the numbers dying before they even start (which is the whole POINT of Asylum), well how do you count that?

  62. David

    kerri hi, sorry I missed your earlier request, have just been going through the commentts. Here are updated link you asked for


    While I am here….Labors polling has been consistently ahead of Coalition 2PP on average, 4 to 6 points since beginning of 2014. A comfortable winning margin. This without Shortens brainless attempt at vote snaring from Abbott’s base and an attempt to lift his own personal disastrous numbers.

    As was indicated when he stood against Albo for the leadership. He was not wanted then and by all that is, as a bright light on the hill, he is not bloody wanted now,

  63. kizhmet

    Victoria – a thought-provoking article, thank you! And thanks also to everyone for your comments – I do not disagree with anything anyone has expressed here. Intelligent, thoughful debate rather than “hate” rants.

    Like you, Victoria, I “feel dirty”. VERY. Like everyone here, I find what is being done on Nauru and Manus beyond abhorrent – it is criminal. It needs to stop.

    Change cannot, and will not, be affected as long as LNP lead the coalition. It makes me utterly sick, but I do understand why Shorten has adopted this tactic.

    Yesterday I was prepared to ditch Labor and actually visited the Greens website and read through their policies. Today, less angry though still seething, I am keeping an open mind.

    I have never felt more desolate, disillusioned or fearful for our once fair country.

  64. David

    Kaye Lee…precisely. I have been saying it on social media long before this idiotic selling out of Asylum Seekers, Am abused but not bruised.

  65. Adrianne Haddow

    David, I am in total agreement regarding the TPP. Kudos to the New Zealanders for their stance.
    Would it be too much to have Labor in Australia make the same stance? Or to shout out loud about the dangers to our country’s sovereignty represented by this agreement to let the multinationals rule us ?

    In reply to Victoria, I have voted Labor since the heady days of Gough Whitlam when Australia became a more reasoned, socially just and principled place than it is now.
    I have watched Shorten and his faceless cronies manipulate the party to such an extent that a popular, principled leader was politically assassinated, and continues to be denigrated by the right wing of the Labor party and the rest of society.

    So you replaced a man with a vision for Australia beyond the peddling of our national resources with someone who is towing the Labor faithful into the same values, or lack thereof, as the inglorious abbott and his crew of corrupt ministers.

    Education forms the man, and given that the alma mater of Shorten was the same as that of abbot, I despair that we’ll just get more of the same under a right wing Labor. Given Labor’s agreement to passing of the data retention laws, the agreement to the gagging of real journalists and doctors and teachers and psychologists re. detention centres and the reluctance to press for a federal ICAC, the values of that alma mater are showing.
    This is not the party I once loyally supported.
    Thank the universe for the Greens.

  66. mars08

    Anon E Mouse:

    “How much dirtier are you prepared to feel when Abbott unleashes even harsher measures on asylum seekers. Rest assured he and his bridesmaid Morrison will find new ways to make life even harder for them, just so they can say they are ‘tougher’ than Labor. It is surely a dance with the devil.”

    Well put.

    The fabricated asylum seeker “issue” has become an auction on cruelty… just to win a handful of frightened, knuckle-dragger votes in the swinging seats.

    If and when the government totally withdraws medical services from the camps… or ignores sinking boats… will the ALP just meekly approve? Suppose it depends on the votes they need….


    Great job in making Abbott look like the mastermind of the perfect boats solution!!!

  67. Harquebus

    “politicians needed to be signposts, standing up for the right path, the right way to live, and not weathervanes, blowing about in the wind of public opinion.”
    I disagree. This is one of the main complaints from the public, that politicians do not represent their will.
    I want my representatives to vote the way the majority of their constituents wish regardless of their own personal views or those of their party.

    Accepting refugees does not solve the refugee problem. We have weak and gutless politicians who will not tackle the causes of people fleeing in boats. So long as there are tyrants, oppressors and abusers of human rights, there will be refugees.
    Could it be a matter of time before Australians start to flee and where would we go?

  68. Harquebus

    For those interested in the TPP. The single biggest threat to democracy that frees corporations from govt. regulations and accountability.

  69. Anon E Mouse

    @Annie B, what rubbish.
    Shorten has meekly followed where Abbott has led. There are ways of getting media attention – just ask Peter Beatie et al.

    The media can be manipulated, willingly even, if there is something to say – but Bill has just been compliant, meek, me-too.

  70. kerri

    David hi. Thanks for the links. I did manage to read an article on facebook and am glad that Albo has distinguished himself from Shorten. I feel so sorry for Anthony. It must be soul destroying to watch Shorten come in late and destroy the party Albo has worked for most of his life just to win PM. Really when you think about it this situation is not all that different to the Rudd/Gillard debacle in that the people want one but the “powers that be” support another.
    Victoria and other commenters who have made the suggestion 1/ get Abbott out. 2/ get Shorten in. 3/ get Shorten to change and become more moderate. Think it through folks? Tony Abbott has lowered political discussion and tactics to such a degree that even if he is voted out, his replacement will be just as mealy mouthed and disgusting a human. Morrisson? Dutton? J Bishop?? Even Turnbull ???
    Any one of these would scuttle the “take Shorten just to get rid of Abbott” boat in an instant! If Shorten wins and later becomes a human being. Or grows some balls. Or maybe even grows a spine to change boat turnbacks, he will be slaughtered as a liar and a promise breaker!! If Shorten copies Abbott, sorry he already is the mirror image, voters will not change from LNP to ALP?? The only way Labor can win the next election is to step as far away as possible from the LNP policies of punish anyone who isn’t Gina or Twiggy or one of “us” “Team Australiar” the greedy the entitled.
    Look at the enormous list of social, cultural and professional groups Abbott has seriously p*d off? Migrants, teachers, aged care workers and the elderly they care for, child care workers, indigenous Australians, car manufacturing staff, doctors, uni students, religious minorities AND all of their friends and relatives!!!!
    These people form a veritable horn of plenty for anyone wanting votes! Why focus on the red neck, swinging, fringe dwellers? Even if the red necks were to agree with what Bill and the ALP is currently saying, it is just the same as Abbott so why change???
    And Chris Nicholls your statement if you were Shorten is downright brilliant! Honest and allowing for change which way too many pollies do not factor in. They happily cut themselves off at the knees by crowing “I will never….” Or “not under a Government I lead” or some other fatuous crap to try to look stately!

  71. Annie B

    Have read all comments here, as most of us have … have read quite a few twice over, and have a question :

    Can anybody here, give an example of ONE politician anywhere, Federal or State, who are totally honest, who are not in the ‘game’ to obtain some form of power ( even if only in their own constituency ), who do not have a ‘price’ …. and who are not subject to the very game they play, who do not cave in eventually ( or sooner ) to the dirt that politics is, or who do not ‘ pretend ‘ to follow with good accordance, the rules we as a people expect of them. … Do we trust any politician , anywhere, to listen to us ( seriously ! – we get ‘standard reply’ letters to our well thought out pleas and ideas ), to deliver what we as a population want and need to see happening. …. Are we ever listened to at all – these days ? Seems not, which leaves us with quite a dilemma.

    The main contenders in this argument back and forth, have been Abbott and Shorten … the two potential ( next time ) leaders of this country. ( that’s if Shorten doesn’t get hurled out by his own party, or Abbott for that matter, goes – anything is possible ). Most with comments here show a distinct and intense dislike of both of them – for warped ideologies and shocking decisions, for the power hunger they display, and for their often deceitful ways of manipulating not only the populace, but one another as well. ( Not excluding myself from intensely disliking one, or both ).

    If nothing else, we are seeing politics as it really is, warts and all. …. It might be generations, if at all, before we can get a sense of decency, transparency and truth back into political endeavour.

    Initially, I asked for an example of one politician who could be completely trusted to do the right thing by all. … While there are a few names hovering around – I stop at the ‘completely trusted ‘ bit – as they are all human, and in the environment they find themselves, are so often subject to being brought down to low and lower than low levels. … the Speaker comes to mind, with her own self-deception, self-importance, and sense of absolute entitlement. … She plays a self appointed role of greatness ( in her mind ).


    Many would-be politicians begin with lofty and admirable ideals … and so many fall to the low and devious standards set by the political process.

    Well – that’s politics, folks. …. four words that hardly needed typing !!

  72. Annie B

    Anon E Mouse …

    Your comment : .. @Annie B, what rubbish. … So I ask – what “rubbish” is that ? …. I have made a couple of comments here and am not at all sure to what you refer ??

    You mentioned Peter Beattie … he did indeed capture the media – his own self-description was that he was a ‘media tart’ … and went all out to make headlines, rather like Abbott does. … Shorten could do the same ? … IF he were a Liberal leader. …. He’d get plenty of media attention – News Corp owns and manipulates much of the media, and that’s Murdochs’ baby – so of course Abbott gets preferential treatment, so would Shorten in the same party situation. … Venturing to suggest it is not so much Abbott, but the Liberal-NP ideologies, wealth for the rich, elitist ideas, that attracts Murdoch.


    Agree with Kerri – about Chris Nicholls great ‘alternative’ speeches Shorten could give. … That’s if he could ever get enough time to say it all ? ..

    a) in front of cameras .. b) in Parliament question time ( as questions ) – he’d be shut down by the ignoble Speaker … c) in his addresses to Parliament, where he does indeed speak well, but he speaks to mostly empty chairs on the opposite side of that table. … The LNP show their contempt by leaving en masse. …. A few stalwarts remain – probably to make up the required number in the house ? ( I believe Labor has been known to perform that nasty little act, also ). … And his speeches are not widely shown.

    He could get out in public – in a rally sort of situation, which most likely would end up in a melee, when the LNP sent in their agent provocateurs, … and I believe the LNP would do just that.

  73. Lee

    What a ridiculous analogy. The outcome of a football match does not mean the difference between life and death for any person, whereas the decisions made by our politicians impact quite strongly upon most aspects of our lives. This has to be the most puerile article I’ve ever read on this site.

  74. Anomander

    Sorry Victoria, the football analogy just doesn’t cut it. Football teams are businesses run for entertainment and their own benefit. Football teams are nothing like governments who are responsible for the well-being of an entire country and its people.

    I too know we urgently need to get rid of Abbott and his evil government – hell only the gods could possibly comprehend the level of dismay, outrage and rage I feel everyday when I watch the actions of this worst government in our history.

    I appreciate your undying faith and belief in the ALP as the only viable alternative, however, I don’t believe the ALP are the solution. In many respects they are part of the problem – the two party system.

    Our politics is so broken, the only way to address it is to send the firmest message possible, by not voting for either major party. As soon as they start losing seats, they will be forced into action, but while we continue to support a dysfunctional system, nothing will ever improve.

    The ALP lost my vote years ago when they abandoned the principle upon which they stood, and pursued the Libs toward the right. They abandoned their heartland and their supporters, we didn’t abandon them.

    My full support now rests with the Greens – I am confident they have the integrity, leadership and vision to help reshape our politics and lead our nation in the right direction. All they need is space to get their message out and enough support to prove they are a viable force, but while we are stuck in the mind-set that only the duopoly can form government, nothing will ever change.

  75. Ali

    I can’t do the old ‘double backflip with a full pike’ sorry but the ALP has lost my first preference vote. I have voted ALP in most elections since the late 1970s because they have maintained an inclusive progressive platform. Now it has no platform – just a series of ‘vote catching’ individual policies. If we have to sink further under the Neo cons for another term, until people start to see how evil and selfish they actually are, so be it!

  76. randalstella

    Some misconceptions here.
    From my experience, I have adopted an interpretation of eagerly participatory mentalities that now works best in this highly systematised culture. It treats individual difference as the joke, the farce. It is this interpretation: if in doubt, choose weird. Weird coalition; not baffling failure to oppose or make any crucial difference.
    First, Shorten does not want to have power at any cost. If he did he would not be the thorough,systemic disaster he actually is. Abbott is his best bet of getting into power; and he is Abbott’s of staying in power. They are a team.

  77. Sir ScotchMistery

    Daddo is right. Another Liberal Party under Shorterm, or put in independents who reflect the actual will of their constituents.

  78. Anon E Mouse

    @ Annie B, Beatie was a Labor Premier. He was a self confessed media tart, but he got his message across.

    What has Bill Shorten done to get his message across – side with Abbott, following him like a coward mutt. Bill got his message across with this one though – again siding with Abbott.

    Bill is of the Gillard hard right camp, and we know how popular she was. Bill has manipulated power moves, but now he is in the hot seat he is like the dog that caught the car – he doesn’t know what to do with it.

    The only time I have not voted Labor was when Gillard was in power. I met her and what she said to me made me realise she was so hard right she should have been Howard’s deputy. Shorten was Gillard’s master manipulator – just look at the wikileaks that came from the yanks, and how Howse was sleeping with the enemy when he enthroned Gillard – hypocrites the lot of them.

    The real thing is, that I don’t have to vote for a Shorten led Labor party – one that is governed and dictated to by the big end of town.

    If one good thing comes out of Shorten’s statement supporting boat turnbacks, I hope it is that he loses support as leader.

  79. JeffJL

    “…there is far more at risk if Labor loses the next election than a bad asylum seeker policy.”

    How true. How true.

    To those who say they are not going to put in a valid vote, I say to you that you are effectively giving a vote to the LNP.

    Sure, don’t put the ALP at number 1, just make sure that they are above the LNP.

    For those who wish to vote independent and who don’t number all the boxes, check where the preferences will go. At the last Federal election most directed their preferences to the LNP before the ALP. Sure we got Senators Muir and Lazarus in the last election (and surprisingly refreshing they are), but we also have Senators Lambie, Madigan, Day and Leyonhjelm (OK not all elected at the last election).

    Don’t give Tony a second term.

    Congrats on all for not falling into the name calling of other sites in all your comments.

  80. corvus boreus

    Next election;
    My primary vote will be going to the lady with the science doctorate (GRN) whose work, intellect and personal ethics I respect.
    The beefy union rep in the red T-shirt who didn’t like my ICAC sign (LAB) will get some cold leftovers.
    The smirking cretin (sloth on cocaine) who runs a tourist park (NAT) will vie for last place with the racist/gun/god-nuts.

    The sloth on cocaine will very likely retain his seat, mainly because voting is, for so many people, a matter of generational allegiance, much like the mindlessly partisan barracking for football teams.

  81. Gordon Ferraby

    Annie B,
    An honest politician – Ted Mack.
    I also had the pleasure of sitting on some local North Sydney committees at the time he was Mayor.
    He served in local, state and federal parliament if you recall.

    It IS possible to to be an honest politician as Ted Mack demonstrated.

  82. Annie B

    Anon E Mouse

    I know who Peter Beattie was, and that while he was Labor Premier in Queensland, he had a kind of love/hate relationship with the Courier Mail up there … whatever, he certainly made sure he was heard, and did it well, from all accounts.

    Respect your personal findings about Gillard – I never met her, and was not as much into politics back then, as I am now. …. Abbott is a disaster and an evil leader. … Shorten does not ‘appear’ to be doing himself or anybody else any favours at this time. … he is not blessed with a strident voice, so whatever he is permitted to say – comes across as weak….. and perhaps he is weak. I say ‘perhaps’ because he has been in the game of politics for such a long time, and has weathered it so far.

    Basically, we agree on much so there is no point to argument at all. … What I am hoping for is two things –

    1) that Shorten is attempting to throw Abbott off balance by agreeing with him on the most outrageous of Abbotts’ draconian ideas to date – the abhorrent refugee situation …. even if this means the end of Shortens leadership of Labor ( although frankly, I don’t think he would be so altruistic !! ) … and

    2) that what’s sauce for the gander is also sauce for the other gander …. Abbott blatently lied his way into winning the 2013 election, and then did a total 180° turn around on ALL promises. … it’s possible ( only possible ) that Shorten has every intention of doing the same thing, especially ref. the refugees, and other matters he currently slides to the right on. i.e. he will slide back to the left, if and when he is in power …. However, that’s like playing a poker hand with only a pair of 3’s to show…. A dangerous move, and your wish might come true at that – he might be turfed out.

    I think we all have to remember this is politics – which is never decent by any stretch of the imagination. … We are outraged by Shortens’ ‘shift to the right’ … much the same as we have been ( and hopefully still are ) outraged by Abbotts’ vile ideologies, and fascist tendencies, and his attempts to frighten the populace into some sort of submission.

    I did not vote for either of the major parties in 2013, preferring to vote for smaller parties – which was a mistake, and as pointed out by JeffJL in his post – beware the preferences, and who is giving what to whom. … I will be very careful next time, and again, neither would get my vote if an election were held now.

    A lot now, remains to be seen !! 🙂

  83. Lee

    “For those who wish to vote independent and who don’t number all the boxes, check where the preferences will go.”

    Not every party actually publishes where their preferences will go.

    Does anyone know if it’s true that parties don’t have to stick with the preferences that they publish before the election? I’ve heard that they can and do change their minds but I’ve not been able to verify that. Mind you, I haven’t asked the AEC either.

    I always number all the boxes below the line because a lot of them don’t make their preferences known before the election.

  84. Annie B

    Gordon Ferraby – …. Thank you for a name. Ted Mack … I will Google him asap. …

    I don’t reside in NSW, although I have certainly heard the name – don’t know anything much about him though.


    JeffJL – … I was under the impression that invalid votes, were not counted towards anyone at all … they are more or less ‘dumped’ and when final voting is announced, xxxx no. of votes are deemed to be informal, or invalid. … Then there are those who don’t attend to vote at all, or do not register – preferring to risk being found out. …. If found out, and fined – they obviously would not come into account at all.

    In any case, I am pretty sure the AEC website would very quickly show the answers – particularly about whether informal votes would go, or not, to the government wishing to maintain their leadership. … will look that up myself when I have more time than I have now.


  85. Lee

    I sent a query to the AEC about Senate voting. I’m puzzled by the three group voting tickets.

    Group Voting Ticket
    A Senate group may lodge a written statement setting out a preference order of all candidates in the election. This is referred to as a group voting ticket. Instead of a voter numbering all of the boxes ‘below the line’, the AEC will automatically allocate preferences in the predetermined order outlined by the particular party or group.

    Ungrouped candidates do not lodge a group voting ticket and so do not have a box above the line on the Senate ballot paper.

    A group voting ticket looks similar to a completed Senate ballot paper. A booklet with all the group voting tickets for the voter’s particular state can be viewed at a local polling place. The group voting ticket clearly shows the order in which the party or group will allocate a voter’s preferences, or votes. Each party or group can register up to three group voting tickets.

  86. Gordon Ferraby

    I’d like to impress on all of you appalled or concerned by the shift in ALP (well at least Shorten’s) position, to write to senators for your region. It is not a waste of time and on several occasions I have even sent submissions to senate committees either as a member of the public or as part of a group (NGO etc), There have been numerous wins that myself and a multitude of others have contributed to and make a difference.

    We have one of the most powerful Senates in the world. .as they say..”use it or lose it”

  87. Annie B

    @ Gordon Ferraby …

    Thank you very much for the link. …. I am impressed, particularly with Ted Macks’ real tendency to open discussions, open committees – indeed transparency in all. … Will look for further information … seriously.

    Not surprised though, that he was an Independent. … They bring forth often the best – they work on their own to a large extent, and do not have any position or reason to embroil themselves in party uproars. …

    Also like your previous comment to this – about our powerful Senate. … I have not had much luck in letter writing ( except for one occasion – which was ??? from Christopher Pyne of all people ) he was then parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services. ( Had to do with my mothers’ aged care in high quality Anglican care – a ‘not good enough’ situation ) …. mind you, he was making his way up the ladder at that point – in Howards Government. … But – to be fair, he made good on what he said he would do – and did investigate.

    Just might try letter writing again …. see how far it will go ?

    Cheers ….

  88. kerri

    The beauty of Independants, is they don’t have a party line to follow! This forces them to be familiar with issues and more importantly, as they cannot be voted for because the public really wants their party leader as PM, this means they need to be seen, heard and known to the voters which also involves them listening to their constituents. Wish I had a decent independant in my area?
    Also very important to tell all your loved ones, especially the elderly and politically disinterested, DO NOT take advantage of the offer to free post your vote to your local MP regardless of which party they stand for, who will then forward your vote in a bulk post to the AEC. As most ballots are filled in pencil this leaves the opportunity for votes to be tampered with! I am not saying they are tampered with, I have no proof of that, but I do not like the idea that a 70c stamp is worth more than the security of your vote.
    If you vote at a polling place, take your own pen and fill out your vote, below the line for preference, in a manner that precludes tampering. Closer to election time the AEC website (I think? Or just google Australian Election Vote Generator) has a page where you can explore the policies and beliefs of each candidate for your electorate AND generate your own “How To Vote” card!! I would love to say I found this myself but credit goes to my, now 21yo, whose first vote was 2013 as an 18yo. She found the page and generated her own HTV card. I did the same. Then you just take the printout into the cubicle with you and vote accordingly. You could even use this to help elderly family members to vote appropriately. It gives you the opportunity to mull over promises and policies in the comfort of your home. My mum is as stubborn as a mule and even lazier so she sent her vote to Kevin Andrews and then joined her pensioner friends in wondering how it is he always wins when none of them know anyone who actually votes for him?

  89. Anon E Mouse

    Why isn’t Labor pushing Abbott to prove he has renounced his British citizenship. If he hasn’t he cannot be an MP let alone PM.

    If Shorten were to demand proof, the media would love it, so would a lot of us.

  90. kathysutherland2013

    @ kerri – that’s what I do, make my own how to vote card. Takes a while, but I’m damned if I’ll be told how to vote by ANYONE! I can’t follow the intricacies of the deals all the parties make. House of Reps is not so bad, but the Senate is pretty scarey because of all the vested interests and the funny little parties.

  91. mars08


    What a ridiculous analogy. The outcome of a football match does not mean the difference between life and death for any person, whereas the decisions made by our politicians impact quite strongly upon most aspects of our lives…

    Correct! Federal politics is most certainly not a harmless diversion… it is destroying lives… it is hurting vulnerable, isolated, helpless innocent human beings!

    “And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jewish swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in—your nation, your people—is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.

  92. Gordon Ferraby

    Annie B,
    Sorry this is so long. I hope this will further improve your moral and confidence to fight.

    Writing and submissions are the most comfortable way for most people; it’s something approachable and I encouraged you to have “another go”. Remember that local members like to keep their jobs and they are not happy if it’s at stake. Barnaby Joyce is a prime example, expressly at logger heads with Tony himself because he knows full well if he fails to represent his electorate, Alan Wilkie an (IND) in previous government, will slaughter him. Only reason he got the seat is Wilkie retired.. well Wilkie is back and he has the community with him.

    This may not be for you but 2 other ways I and others have taken advantage of are the regional press and direct phone calls to Senators and their aides representing not our state but based on portfolio. This included the Liberals .

    Though it requires a well thought out plan/control and overcoming doubt/fear , the regional press (even if it owned by Fairfax–forget Murdoch) can be helpful. It is not comfortable for most people but building relationships with regional press (or indeed your local if in a main city) can land some story that can even be taken up by other papers of the publisher. We had 2 such successes (not perfect) recently with the PES and the funding of NGOs locally

    Examples –

    Fighting the axing of fighting the Pensioner Education Supplement:
    The PES is a lousy $30-$60 a fortnight that gave in particular non age pensioner pensioners and single parents on Newstart the means to study (usually by distance education). Remember Hockey’s “learn or earn”. Axing this was diametrically opposed to his own policy. After direct phone calls to Green and ALP Senators responsible for the portfolios and an interview with a local journalist who also chased down the local Liberal member ( we were given over 1 hour and ended up on page 1); we successfully fought to have the parties fight this during the 2014 budget (they were not going to). Unfortunately the government in early 2015 regulated the single parent component bypassing the senate, but the Senate DID block what was in their power to do so.. Most of the senators hadn’t even heard or knew what the PES was.

    Defending the funding of local NGOs:
    This will be an ongoing battle; especially due to the privatisation of services to Mission Australia and 2 USA companies working officially in partnership. Mission Australia is not the 100% not for profit organisation people think it is btw.
    Funding was extended after a serious local fight through press and advocacy to senators (including Liberal) to first extend funding by 1 month and now in some cases 1 year. It has save numerous local jobs and helped organisations such as the regional women’s violence refuge to name one. Each delay buys important time and makes the member stop and think. There are examples in the past where a member has crossed the floor.

    Ultimately we will lose most of the battles unless the government changes but just winning some of them makes such an enormous difference in regional Australia that even partial results are well worthwhile. In a big city it just tends to be a more localised issue.

    I know taking things beyond a letter/phone/submissions is too uncomfortable for most but even without social media people do band together on many issues. When a group works together there WILL be one or more of their number who are willing and able to pursue these more “scary” avenues.

    1 individual can make a difference if they can persuade others/senators/etc to join together and draw a line on a worthy issue.

    BTW, I don’t join marches. It’s not for me; it may be for you. I do what I’m able and willing to do and that is not marching. We’re at our most effective if we fight with what we are willing to do and are using our best personal abilities.

    Just do what you can and feel comfortable with. Everything you can do matters.
    Even writing one letter you never hear back from.

  93. corvus boreus

    Gordon Ferraby,
    Thank you for your contributions, both the information and advice. Logical, rational, factual, practical.

    I particularly value the suggestion of directly contacting senators representing your state. The upper house is the greatest voice we really get in our electoral system.

    I have a list of all my state senators. I shall peck some queries.

  94. Douglas Evans

    Biggest problem with this piece is its supporting analogy. Voting for a political party should have nothing in common with supporting a football team. The former should be all about making objective judgements about the implications of policy, the latter is a matter of subjective. emotional, tribal allegiance. Labor supporters disillusioned with a major aspect of their preferred party’s policy mix have the perfect way of registering their disillusionment. Vote 1 Greens and 2 Labor secure in the knowledge that unless you are in the Federal seat of Melbourne your vote will go to the ALP candidate in your electorate but the message will have been sent in the most effective way, especially if you drop him or her a line telling them what you are doing and why. Only way to attract a politician’s attention normally is to whack them where it hurts most, in the ballot box. I have previously advocated this approach to hand-wringing Labor voters and have been perplexed by the widespread rejection of the concept. The impression I get is that voters feel that they owe their allegiance to one political party. This strikes me as stupid – political parties do not feel they owe us anything. Their allegiances are collective and corporate and driven always by perceptions of their own best interests (not ours). I understand that Party members like VR and TC cannot countenance such a measure but I’m blowed if I can see why others could not. Ah well I await the usual response. I’m getting used to rejection.

  95. Gordon Ferraby


    I definitely agree with you. I have found that the tribal thinking you describe is one of the most counterproductive approaches to change.
    Australia seems to be amongst a group of countries where many people even though they’ll swear blind to the contrary,
    tend to fear their government. The government and politicians in general should fear us and as you describe, inexplicitly, it is quite the opposite; they fell they owe us nothing.

    In the distant past I too fell victim to allegiance. I owe them nothing, WE owe them nothing ..UNLESS they can effect change to improve and manage our society to the benefit of us all. But even then, isn’t that why we elect them. I believe if more of the population avoided party allegiance, politicians might consider us more seriously.

    Maybe if we as a county had actually fought for our independence and “democracy” ; ( i could be wrong, but I believe we’re the only western “democracy” to date that hasn’t). people might value it more. Probably a good idea we didn’t go there but gets one thinking.

    But now I’m sounding like a subversive… . Off the soap box ! . Another discussion for another time :).

    One thing though..I don’t take any notice of rejection other than to improve my argument; neither did Walt Disney.
    If he had we would have never had Mickey Mouse !

  96. Gordon Ferraby

    Correction of an earlier post.
    One of my earlier posts mentioned Alan Wilkie. I now realise I had got confused with Tony Windsor.
    I’d like to correct that mistake. Sorry for any confusion.

  97. Annie B

    @ Douglas Evans ….

    A great idea you have there – to let the party you’d prefer, but are not happy with – know by letter just how you intend to vote … A sort of ‘warning’ … ” if you don’t deliver, you’ll be further down the list next time ” – kind of thing.

    At this point in time, my voting would be 1 – Greens, and 2 Labor with 3 onwards – all the independents and then whoever else – making sure LNP is on the bottom. … Will also download the how to vote cards as mentioned previously on AIM here or elsewhere – and figure it out when the next election comes around … Have always listened, learned and ticked the boxes mentally, then decide on the day who gets my vote. Will approach it differently next time – and a letter will be sent to as many Labor ( including State – even tho it will be a Federal election ) … as possible – just to let them know.

    Would think we should all do what Douglas has suggested on that.

  98. JeffJL

    @corvus boreus. Not much different to the way I will vote although there are some nasty parties I will be putting after the LNP.

    @Annie B. I am taking the liberty that most people on this site are more against the LNP than against the ALP. Thus if they do not vote or vote informally then the LNP will benefit from the readers actions.

  99. cornlegend

    Ah Douglas Evans ,
    “The impression I get is that voters feel that they owe their allegiance to one political party. This strikes me as stupid ”
    And you arent tied lock stock and barrel to the Greens .
    I must have been reading a Dougie clone all these years .

  100. Douglas Evans

    I thought you were dead. Apparently not quite. I’m a middle of the road social democrat. I vote for parties that reflect social democratic values. For decades I voted Labor in the mistaken belief that they were at heart a social democratic party. Me stupid. Fortunately I eventually discovered Australia has a genuine social democratic party. One whose policies I can wholeheartedly support. I started voting for it and then I joined it (although my membership is currently lapsed). That Party is as everyone knows the Greens. Not complicated really I’m sure even you can understand it. The comment you picked out (as you might have noticed if you still had any brain cells firing) was directed towards agonized Labor voters who just can’t kick the habit but would like to deliver a strong message to the Party that just keeps disappointing them. A time may come when my difficulties with particular Greens policies force me to move my vote elsewhere to send a message to them. No party owns my vote. Fortunately for me though Greens policies and I are on the same wavelength for the time being. .

    As you well know two-thirds to three quarters of Greens voters second preference Labor. Accordingly their votes for the next few elections yet will continue to flow into the Labor bucket lending a degree of respectability to Labor’s steadily declining primary vote. That’s fine by me because although I can’t in good conscience vote for Labor until they get their act together (Hell may freeze over first) they remain preferable to that other evil rabble as the Party of Government. I’m lucky enough to live in the Federal Seat of Melbourne (although I’ll be moving to Jenny Macklin’s electorate in a couple of months). That means that so far I have the satisfaction of knowing that not only am I voting for a Party whose Policies I can wholeheartedly support but my vote will in all likelihood help to elect a thoroughly decent, honest, hardworking candidate Adam Bandt. Lucky me.

    When I move to Macklin’s electorate I will of course continue to vote for the Greens as I approve of their policies. I read policies cornlegend it’s surprisingly easy, you should try it. Then unless there is some major political seismic activity in Melbourne’s north eastern electorates my vote will probably end up in Macklin’s pile – assuming she re-nominates. That’s reasonably OK with me also. Macklin has always seemed to me a hard-working honest politician. Until we can get a Greens candidate up in that seat Macklin is welcome to keep it warm. I’m lucky I’m shifting to that electorate. Close by we have that evil bastard Kevin Andrews, who the good burghers of Ivanhoe keep sending back to Canberra – God knows why – and Martin Ferguson’s love child the right wing slug David Feeney. I would not be happy with either of these as my local member.

    Of course the Greens are unlikely to form government in their own right in my lifetime. That’s a shame but that’s democracy. As Lindsay Tanner once pointed out to me, by voting for the Greens I am restricting myself to ‘shouting from the sidelines’. So be it. I vote for the party whose policies I approve of not for the next best thing because it might have a chance of forming government. No Party owns my vote. The Labor Party think they do – they think that about all Greens voters – but they don’t. They took their social democratic constituency for granted for too long and they lost it to another Party that filled the gap that Labor’s laziness or incompetence (or both) created.

    So there you have it cornlegend not that complicated really. Now time to toddle off to bed.

  101. Lee

    I have received a prompt response from the AEC about preference voting for the Senate. I’ve included it here for others who may be unsure about it.

    “A party/group can lodge up to three group voting tickets (GVT). Where two GVTs are lodged, half of the votes are allocated according to one GVT and the other half are allocated according to the other GVT. Where three GVTs are lodged, one third are allocated according to one GVT, one third to the second GVT and one third to the third GVT.

    The AEC will have all GVTs on its website before the day of a federal election and they will be available for viewing at each polling place.

    However, you can vote according to your own preference by numbering the boxes below the line.

    With regard to your second question: no, preferences cannot be changed after the election.”

  102. Annie B

    @ Gordon Ferraby ….

    Sorry for the late reply to your excellent posts / suggestions. …. and the information and advice you have generously given. … and apologies, I think I posted something here, intended for you, but addressed to Douglas Evans ?? (July 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm )…. however, I do also respect Douglas’s contributions –

    Writing is more the go for me, than trying to stay out of trouble in rallies etc. … It’s quite a while since I last wrote ‘letters to the editor” of the Herald-Sun, simply because I cannot trust that newspaper / rag, to report anything without bias in their main by-line reporting, and would consider their publication of my letters ( and it did happen on several occasions ) … to be in the rubbish bin or fireplace the next day. Well hell, that’s where most daily newspapers go !! … the H/S are also guilty of some outright peurile garbage at times.

    I think one has to be selective in choosing a subject to hammer home, via writing ( or email ) …. I would like to write on two dozen ( or more ) items / projections, that currently trouble me, but one has to be prudent so’s not to be seen as a terminal pest, and therefore taken nil notice of.

    I will continue however, to try and have a little impact to local and federal members in my area, via letter.

    And this time, I repeat ( with error fixed ) … that we should all consider Gordons’ suggestion to get to writing to federal members, about policies we are not happy about.

    Appreciated your comments also – about allegiance. … You are sooo right – we do NOT owe the parties anything …. they owe US, and at the moment, they are in arrears. ! …. Pity we don’t have any other way of absolutely firing them, except at the ballot box.


    Anon E Mouse ….

    Re : “Why isn’t Labor pushing Abbott to prove he has renounced his British citizenship ?.”

    They may be sitting on that one … – to pounce when the time is right, or to simply raise the matter at some opportune time or when Abbott appears weakened. …. Certainly, enough people have delivered the ammunition.

    Just a thought …………

  103. Matters Not

    Why isn’t Labor pushing Abbott to prove he has renounced his British citizenship … Certainly, enough people have delivered the ammunition.

    Really? While I agree that there have been ‘allegations’, I’m yet to see any ‘proof’, broadly defined.

    But perhaps you have a link?

    If not? Then why not?

  104. Annie B

    @ Matters Not …….

    Re : ” But perhaps you have a link? ……… If not? – – Then why not?” ….

    If ANY of us could provide ‘proof ‘ as to abbutts’ legitimacy ( or not ) of remaining in parliament, it would have been done many months ago – and been spread across cyber space at the rate of knots.

    There is, however, much to question … particularly,

    Matters pertaining to Anthony John Abbott – have been ‘restricted’ ??

    It shows under the sub-heading of “Reason for Restriction” ( 33(1)(g) ) … the following : 33(1)(g) Information or matter the disclosure of which under this Act would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs of any person (including a deceased person)..

    As far as I know, abbutt is not deceased ( although ? one might think from the neck up – he might well have a few dead thingies up there ) …. and then under sub-heading Series Number ( A446 ) on the same page, “Click to see which Government Agency or person created this item” … it goes to :

    Now, if you wish to go through ALL of the 42 links provided to explain ‘reasons’ … please feel free. …. Interesting that this ‘archive’ entry, was changed on 12 Feb 2014, accepted on 19 Feb 2014 – all at around the same time that questions began to be raised. ,,,, hmmm.

    There was also a letter, which I cannot find at the moment, addressed to a woman who had enquired, and was replied to by a spokesperson in the Department of the Prime Minister … which detailed that the RN document ” did not exist” or ” had been lost “. …. ( words to that effect ) … I have to wonder if that person who wrote and signed that reply, is still on ‘staff ‘ in the pm’s office ?? 😉

    Readers here, will no doubt remember that one !!

    I am not giving you any further assistance to your questioning. …. I rather thought your query was aggressive in terms, and I have probably done more than I should have, in attempting to help.

    While any RN ( Renunciation of citizenship ) form is not forthcoming, all is conjecture – but with good reason.

    Good luck in your own search, if that’s what you want to pursue !!!!!

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