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Now that the election is over…

According to Barnaby Joyce, having won the election, the Coalition has a mandate from a “higher power” to do anything they said during the campaign (and plenty they didn’t).

For starters, the Coalition received 42% of first preference votes which means 58% of the electorate did not endorse their policies.

Secondly, as voters, we have no chance to say I agree with this but not that. We have no opportunity to make amendments, no way to take the best of what the different candidates were offering and reject the things with which we disagree. It is an ‘omnibus’ choice.

Thirdly, if they are going to use the notion of a mandate to impose all of their policies then they should not be able to dump them as soon as they win. The Coalition went to an election promising to rein in tax concessions for wealthy superannuees only to back track immediately just as Howard did when he promised to match Labor’s policy on increasing the superannuation guarantee and as Abbott did in his infamous “no cuts” election eve speech.

Too many times we have seen the Coalition say they are on a “unity ticket” on popular Labor policies which they promptly abandon after the election.

This idea that “winner takes all” seems to have led to governments thinking they own the Treasury and using the money in it for their own ends.

A prime example of this was provided by our Deputy PM on Insiders on Sunday morning when asked if he would be releasing the cost benefit analysis commissioned by the government into that spectacular piece of pork barrelling where Barnaby expects two hundred families to pack up and leave Canberra because he made a deputy captain’s call to relocate the pesticides and veterinary medicine authority to his electorate.

BARRIE CASSIDY: Are you going to release it?

BARNABY JOYCE: I don’t think at this stage.


BARNABY JOYCE: The decision has been made.

BARRIE CASSIDY: What was the point of the analysis then? Why did you do it if you were going to ignore it?

BARNABY JOYCE: It was one of the processes before the election. Now that the election is over…

So there we have it. Who cares about spouses who will have to quit their jobs, children who will have to leave their friends and change schools into an entirely different system, the minimum $34 million bill for the move, and the loss of talent from the people who will resign. Who cares that the National Farmers Federation, Animal Medicines Australia, and CropLife Australia are all against the move.

We, the taxpayer, paid $272,000 for this cost benefit analysis and we have every right to demand to see it. If Mr Joyce wants private advice about a decision he made all on his own then he should pay for it.


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  1. Jaquix

    Yes Kaye, I too want to see this cost-benefit analysis. Labor should be pushing for it too. Though heaven knows there is so much else to be doing at the moment. These 42% ers (the Libs and Nats) are too cavalier in casually and wilfully spending taxpayer dollars, at a time when they keep carping on about budget “repair”. Plebiscite ditto. As to their mandate, they only have a mandate to put their election promises/policy up to parliament. It always bugs me when they say they have a mandate for every single thing they ever uttered. If at the ballot box we were handed a list of policy/promises to vote on, they might have a leg to stand on. We could tick Yes/No and that might give everyone a better idea of what the voters really wanted (apart from voting the same way their Grandad did). In the absence of such a list, and squeaking in over the line with one spare seat, having lost 14, they are really pushing it to claim a mandate for anything.

  2. Kaye Lee

    If we want to be real, every person elected has a mandate for their policies so Labor has every right, and indeed an obligation, to object to anything that goes against their stated policies.

    Labor and the Greens got 45% of first preference votes. They both went to the election promising a parliamentary vote on SSM.

  3. susan

    Jaquix, picking up on your “voting as Grandad did”, I think that the written test for Australian citizenship should include questions on our three main political parties and what they stand for. That would be really interesting!

  4. Matters Not

    too want to see this cost-benefit analysis

    You could always FOI it. But don’t bother because it’s now a Cabinet document and it’s probably been stamped with ‘legal and professional privilege’ on every page.

    Nevertheless, because there will be many in Cabinet who oppose this notion of sending a whole department into the bush, (and because the Libs hate the Nats), the document will leak. Indeed, it’s probably already in the hands of a trusted journalist who’s just waiting for the right time.

    If I were the ‘bruised tomato’ I would be very careful as to what I consumed. These people deal with dangerous chemicals on a daily basis.

  5. Fedup

    I wish they would literally drown this stinking SSM. You would think by listening, reading or hearing anything on the bloody news this is all they talk about! I’m sick of it. It’s time this bloody government and all politicians made a final decision and get on with running the country for all ordinary Australians! Unfortunately it doesn’t matter which way it goes in Parliament these people will never, ever be satisfied! There are many more important issues affecting this country right now like border security, unemployment, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, a government that cannot even run it’s departments correctly, squandering money left right and centre but the only thing we hear about is bloody SSM! Every time you turn on the news is this topic. If they can’t run a bloody parliament then they shouldn’t be running the country.

  6. Michael

    Thank you for identifying the issue – the Barnaby democracy/mandate logic or how things work in his political world.
    I wonder how many voters in his electorate would now agree with “Barnaby’s Way”

    I can see a TV series coming on.

  7. townsvilleblog

    Politicians promises are a modern mystery, I still remember Hawke saying that “in 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty” facts are that 3 million Australians are currently living in poverty, including children. In those days we naive voters believed he was saying that there would be a redistribution of wealth beginning with the rich paying their fair share of tax. Of course that was NOT what he meant, Hawke had the most opportunity of any Australian PM to deliver what he promised, but couldn’t get him tongue out of Alan Bond’s bum long enough to do anything for the Australian worker or working family, living on starvation wages.

    I’ve long given up on politicians promises, when I saw Abbott delivering his election eve speech I was immediately alarmed because he had picked out his focus, if he had gotten into power, which he did. He attacked every item in his election eve speech and then some, everything he did was a huge detriment to Struggle Street families. The lesson I learnt long ago is never trust a politician, especially if he/she is a right winger.

  8. Fedup

    Not one of them has any integrity in my book. Except a few! They are all lying sons of bitches who couldn’t tell the truth if they tried. I doubt if any of them know what the truth is! They do and are going to do more damage to the needy of this country and it makes me sick. I say to hell with all of them. Australians will pay the price one day very soon! I am sick to death of listening, hearing and reading of SSM. No matter which way the vote goes they will never be happy anyway! If they go the way of the bloody Plebesite, the poor will pay for it. The poor pay for every f*cking thing in this country whilst the rich get richer! If you think I’m pissed off, you had better believe it!

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    Constitution is very clear. For legislation to become law, it has to pass majority vote MPs on floor both houses.

    Nothing about mandates that say winner takes all. Nothing about election promises. Nothing about PMs. Nothing about parties.

    Yes Barnaby thanks to having majority of one have mandate to form government. Nothing more nothing less. That can change at anytime, if the numbers change.

    It is up to Turnbull to make the government work.

  10. Douglas Pye

    To my way of thinking, a “Mandate” would come hand in hand with a ‘working majority’ ! – to fulfill election undertakings (promises?) ….. or in this age of ‘spin’ (& outright lying ?) is the skinny element of ‘truth’ that may lie within, sufficient to carry the day?

    And we’re raising children in this toxic atmosphere ! ….. what ??! …and all the talk about ” Freedom of Speech ” ….?? …..

  11. Carol Taylor

    Fedup, SSM happens to be important to *ordinary* Australian families, or at least those who believe that equality is something which Australia should aspire to.

    Perhaps if you didn’t spend so much time dwelling on SSM and concentrated on issues that you personally feel are of importance, you’d be a lot happier for it. And so would the rest of us who have to put up with your whinging.

  12. Michael

    All gaps in expectations are issue based – how do we split our one vote into for/against each issue on an election platform?

  13. Jaquix

    Michael – at the ballot box we get a further paper- a list of our party of choice’s policies and promises, to tick off as to whether or not we agree with them. Like a giant plebiscite for the main issues. Wouldnt change the vote, but the information would be rather useful to know!

  14. Jaquix

    Tony Abbott must be laughing fit to burst, as all the fuss and bother his plebiscite brainwave is causing his arch enemy, Malcolm Turnbull.

  15. Fedup

    What else is there to dwell on as you so put it. It’s there morning noon and bloody night! Must be the only thing these politicians can fight about! They already have the same equalities that married couples share except a piece of paper! I still say this is wrong whether you like it or not there are many that believe in these values!

  16. Fedup

    You bet it would then we might have a real say in what idiots are elected on our behalf. Trouble is with that is these bastard lie through their teeth to get a vote. Then we know the rest after the elections. Lies and more lies!

  17. Kaye Lee

    If Barnaby is going to take an election win as an automatic mandate for all their policies, it follows that if you disagree with one thing they are proposing, you shouldn’t vote for them.

  18. Don

    Jaquix, I can see TA enjoying the spectacle of all the fuss. MT has to endure the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ – the machinations of the conservative think-tank whose primary, almost adolescent purpose, is to erect roadblocks for change by the more liberal and progressive side of the party.

  19. paulwalter

    The transcript there: Barnaby thinks HE is a higher power. I do not think he is a higher power, doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head for a start and the IQ is not worthy of a gnat let alone a human let alone a power more effective than him.

    He is not decentred at all..his ego subsumes all. If an enlightened being asked him to explain his ideas he would just tell it to eff off in the interests of national security, as interpreted by him and his fellow lordly “guardians”.

  20. paulwalter

    As for this blasted omnibus, about time someone took it up to the Blue Mountains or the Otways and ran it over a cliff.

  21. Michael

    What’s left is informal

  22. Jaquix

    Being an amateur student of body language, I watched Tony Abbott last night talking about the government, and ended up with “and I support the Turnbull government” but his body language betrayed his real feelings: His eyes narrowed, and his tongue came out and licked his lips !!!

  23. Glenn K

    Fedup has an excellent point about the SSM issue. It is a damn diversionary issue from the current lack of governance of our country. Yes, it’s important, damn important as it is about equal rights for all citizens. In fact, it is criminal that we even have to debate it in our “modern pluralistic society” called Australia. Meanwhile, the MSM and the LNP fill up the airwaves with a manufactured issue (plebiscite etc) – wonderfully diversionary away from the reality they are doing completely screw all to run the country and the economy.

  24. kerrilmail

    Well said Carol Taylor!
    And Douglas Pye, I agree! The word “mandate” is bandied around with a meaning that doesn’t match my comprehension of the Oxford! If any government comes within a whisker of a “mandae” it has to be the new NT government!
    And 8’m guessing fedup will be a “no”??

  25. Wayne Manna

    I am sure Bob Hawke meant well when he made his now famous, or infamous remark, depending on your viewpoint. Unfortunately, Hawke himself was, as one respondent noted, often a bit too close to the corporate sphincter – surely siding with the corpulent Ables over the airline pilot’s strike was one of the most vile things I have ever seen a PM do in my lifetime – and is even worse given he was a Labor PM.

    The cold, hard and often evil reality of conservative politics is that neo-liberalism has ceased to be something politicians do – it has become embedded across many in society, who have become imbued with a personal selfishness that makes them easy targets for the “lifters”, “non-taxed”, “bludgers” rhetoric – which they then embrace, believing that they are personally worse off because of dole-bludgers and the other succours who bleed the government coffers. No mention is made of those at the other end of the social and wealth spectrum who shamelessly and relentlessly exploit government largesse for their own profit at the expense of the taxpayer purse (the best example is the health system).

    Conservatives have convinced themselves that if only society did not have to pay for those who are lazy, old, sick, unskilled, indigenous and disabled, the real drivers of the economy (those with economic power and control), could get on with the job of making us all wealthier. Of course, 40 years of rabid neo-liberalism has abjectly failed to deliver the economic cornucopia, but the conservatives stick doggedly and rabidly to their views – such views prevail even when the facts don’t support the claimed benefits (a bit like religion).

    At least under Labor, the transfers of wealth from rich to poor won’t actually stop the rich from being rich. Indeed, apart from idiots like Bond and Skase, as far as I know, no rich person has ever become poor because of Labor, or more correctly liberal or socially democratic policies. On the other hand, for decades and the world over, under conservative policies, many of those in the lower rungs of society have absolutely been made worse off and many more now live in poverty because of conservative policy measures that take their jobs overseas; transfer their local jobs to lower paid migrant labour or from full-time to casual.

    Now, to the shameful and typical pork-barrelling by Joyce. He is not alone in what he has done – both sides of politics play these dirty little games to bolster their own position. It is up to the media to keep shaming Joyce (but the right-wing media won’t do that) so that he is under relentless pressure to release the costings. My guess is they will show no overall benefit economically, but considerable cost to those forced to relocate – but as is always the case; the cost benefit analyses will inflate the benefits and selectively ignore costs.

  26. diannaart

    Dear Babs ( as Barnaby is known by his fiends friends.

    Mandates and important stuff you really need to know (quite serious now):

    What a mandate isn’t – A mandate isn’t a rubber stamp
    After a multi-party election the party with the majority of the seats in the House of Government (in Australia, the House of Representatives; in the United Kingdom, the Commons; etc) gains a mandate to form Government and the right to have its policies and promises presented to the Parliament for CONSIDERATION by that Parliament. A mandate isn’t a right for the Government to get “rubber stamp” support from the Opposition and “Cross Bench” Parties to the Legislation, etc. In Australia, it falls to the Senate (our Upper House) to REVIEW Government Legislation and propose amendments to that legislation to improve it. No Government has ever produced the “perfect” piece of legislation.

    What a mandate is
    Every Member of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, when elected, obtains a PERSONAL mandate from their constituents. In some Parties (eg. the ALP) once a person is elected to the Parliament they can nolonger personally represent their constituents, but must rather “toe the Party line” or risk expulsion from that Party. To the best of my knowledge, all of the other Parties allow their members to what is referred to as “cross the floor” when their conscience just won’t allow them to support their respective Party’s point of view.

    As mentioned earlier, every Member of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, when elected, obtains a PERSONAL mandate from their constituents based on the policies and promises put to the electorate by their respective Parties. As such, each and every Parliamentarian, when elected, has an obligation to their consitiuents to adhere to those policies and promises which were made and, if appropriate, to defy their Party room if the decisions of the Party room deviate markedly from those on which they were elected.

    A Party’s philosophy and ideology are the “constitution” within which all Party policies and promises should be made and, subsequently acted upon. Anyone voting for a particular Party should know what that Party stands for from observing how it reacts to different issues inside and outside the Parliament and the two need to be consistent. If the Government, as its title suggests, has the majority in the “Lower House” and the Opposition has the majority in the “Upper House” (ie Senate) then I would expect the Opposition to fulfil “its” mandate and at least critically review the Government’s legislative program and ideally make appropriate amendments to it to keep within “their” mandate that they obtained from their constituents.

    Thank you for your attention Babs – no worries if you have missed anything. The above definition will be tattooed across your rather generous belly, starting at the groin and finishing above your man boobs so you can easily refer to it anytime.

    Special regards


  27. Douglas Pye

    Thank you diannaart ….. isn’t it interesting how (over time) solid ‘stuff’ is eroded … I’m tempted to say ‘Deviated’ ( think ‘Deviate’ in the coarsest sense !! ). Plain psychology ….

    You may like to think of getting this up on social media, accompanied by an attention harvesting meme ! …. given the weight of corruption that’s currently directed at ( attached to ) the word ” Mandate ” by the Coal-itiion!! …. Could ‘go viral’ ….. and can enlighten many voters … ( along with Politicians …. dare in say Political Parties ? ) …..

  28. diannaart

    Douglas Pye

    Politicians of all stripes are in a race to redefine ‘mandate’ – only when they are in power of course. “1984” did not happen last century; Orwell remains in the near future.


    Wishing for the magic meme to go forth through the zeitgeist showering enlightenment upon us all.

  29. Michael

    Outside “mandate” talk, to me, Hawkey’s “no children” followed in the footsteps of Kennedy’s “man on moon” = set a challenging achievement target + set a time target = galvanise a nation into hyper-action (the only difference between an ideal and reality is a decision).

    It would be learning moment to explore why it did not happen.

  30. jim

    mrabbit will be getting off ” my idea he’d say”…Hey I’m sure if it’s in the bible “don’t have a plebicite” its gotta be in it?.
    Now if we could find that in the bible they’d change their minds and save us the 200mil right…..Proud Atheist

  31. TuffGuy

    The thing I can’t get my head around is that people like Barnyard do this porkbarelling thing because they think both it will bring some benefit to their electorate and will bring them more votes next time around. I mean there are already enough idiots in his electorate because he got voted in in the first place and has been for some time so why does he even need to do this? I can only think that they are just power hungry motherf%$#kers doing it because they can. They are obviously completely out of touch with the real world when they expect employees, partners and children to just up roots on a whim of a porkbarelling, power crazy politician. Just like when they MOG departments. They wake up one day and go, let’s make this department and that department merge into a new department, get it done by , just make it happen. They have no idea of the stress, chaos, disruption, upheaval, and whatever other adjectives you can think of that his creates. I say this will happen and it will be done. DIBP is probably the biggest train smash in APS history. It does not work, it is not working and it will never work. One of the biggest hurdles with this merger is the fact that people from the different original agencies are on different pay levels – eg. EL1 at Customs is paid different to an EL1 at Immigration. Add to that many employees are on various salary allowances, for things like working in remote locations, dangerous employment among many others. Then in comes this government with its non-negotiable wages policy and their solution is to just strip everyone’s allowances on top of the pay cuts handed out everywhere else.
    These wankers are supposed to represent US, THE PEOPLE, not themselves and their own vested interests. Moving the department to Armidale is in Barnyard’s vested interest, not the people’s!!!

  32. Douglas Pye

    As a child of the Great Depression, perhaps I’m out of my league ( shifting times) ….. I recently ‘liked’ something which read ……..
    ” Raise your words, not your voice – it is Rain, not Thunder that grows Flowers” … (shifting principles ?) …..

    Oh, and yes I did read George O. at the time, and put it back on the bookshelf ….. to read much, much later!…. much more closely!

    Hopefully there’s a Romantic in all of us ….. perhaps mine is close to the surface when I place meaning on words ( like Principle ) ! ….. & Mandate ? ….. 🙂 …..

  33. paulwalter

    Gotta compliment Wayne Manna, tho.

  34. diannaart

    The word ‘mandate’ has special impact as a reminder of my gauche and ignorant youth.

    At uni, sharing a flat in St Kilda with a couple of gay men (life was never boring) the first time I heard of the word ‘mandate’ was its use as the name of a nightclub at the time. I still inwardly giggle at this word and, must say, I prefer this definition to the one that authoritarian governments are trying on.

  35. Douglas Pye

    diannaart …. thanks for sharing …. 🙂 …. whilst I had heard of ‘man-date’ before , I s’pose I’m a bit ‘one eyed’ and totally forgot ….. with all the SSM debate too ! …. time for my nap …..

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