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Please don’t call me biased, I’m not.

Tuesday. March 20. 2018

As the analysis of the weekend’s elections continues and the bias of all the contributions expose themselves to further scrutiny, any number of conclusions will be reached.

But first, what is bias?

“I would say it is either an inability or unwillingness to want to understand an opposing point of view.”

If you, as I do, converse with people who won’t even read what you have written yet still put forward a point of view on it, then they are assuredly biased. If you post a text version because they won’t click to The AIMN and they won’t read it, then beyond doubt, they are biased.

In fact, they are worse than biased, they are anti-democratic because you cannot possibly believe in democracy if you believe that your party is the only one who should win, ever.

Put to me a factual evidence-based policy or narrative and I will examine it and judge it in good faith. Therefore I am not biased. I am willing to consider the other point of view to see if it fits the framework of my personal world view and the ideology of the party I follow. If it doesn’t, then I reject it on that basis. If I reject it without due consideration, then I am biased.

Now let me analyse the weekend based on what I know. In South Australia, Labor had been in power for 16 years. Longevity is considered to be the first enemy of any incumbent government. However, given they started with a deficit of four seats due to redistribution, they performed remarkably well and are well-placed to win the next election in four years.

The Liberal Party, who managed to win with a 7% swing against them, was ably assisted by a politician who believed his personal popularity was enough to break the duopoly of the major partyies. Xenophon gained almost 20% of the vote but came over as an ill-prepared hillbilly with no policies, but a huge sense of humour. However, 20% should guarantee you a seat or two. All these anomalies might even suggest the Liberals were lucky to get across the line.

In the Senate he was good at identifying a problem, selling his vote for nothing, and then claiming the credit for the brokerage. He now is an example of why minimalist parties don’t have an extended lifespan. In more recent times we have seen minor parties from both sides of the political divide try to break our two party duopoly. They come and go but always the people come back to the left or right of their original political attitude.

The Democrats tried to keep the bastards honest. Pauline Hanson has come and gone and come again. Next time she might go forever. She bombed out in Queensland. Clive Palmer put some weight behind his Palmer United party and is said to be considering another go.

Australian Conservatives under Cory Bernardi face an uphill battle. There may be a place for a conservative, but not with Bernardi as leader. They are more likely to have short-term success under the likes of former PM Tony Abbott, but would face the same long-term problems as the others.

So, it seems that we are prepared to give minor parties a go when we are upset with the two majors but then revert back to the majors when we realise the minors cannot achieve much. Former ACTU president Ged Kearney proved to be a formidable campaigner in Batman and the Greens are unlikely, with the benefit of incumbency unlikely to take it from her.

All the infighting said to the electorate was that minor parties suffer the same human emotional inadequacies as the majors over time.

The weekend – if it has proven anything – is that minor parties are just as vulnerable as the majors. Labor has learn’t, or has already realised, that good candidates and good policies, even if risky, are more to the electorates liking. I’m not sure what the Liberals have learnt. It was a clayton’s victory at best in SA.

As for the Greens, well, they have been around for a long time and seem to be jumping up and down on the one spot. With a 7% swing in SA, 5% in Bennelong, 12 % in WA , 6% in Tasmania and 5% in Queensland.

Clearly the Greens have to reconsider their strategy if not their future. Maybe the end is nigh and the electoral cycle will continue as all before them which leaves us with the thought that maybe the minor parties have done their dash until the next protest party comes along.

My thought for the day

“If you have a point of view, feel free to express it. However, do so with civility. Then your point of view is laced with a degree of dignity.”


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  1. Joseph Carli

    While I would agree that The Greens have been “jumping up and down in one place”, their one-policy “smashed avocado” agenda being spread pretty thin over their whole political slice of bread, I would extend the analogy to the entire Australian electorate…With the BiiiiiiiiiiiG mistake of putting the Lib’s back in the driver’s seat in SA. for what seems little other reason than an extension of the idea that “everyone loves a parade”…the State is a passenger, like the last times that a Lib’ leader was in control, of a slow-motion car-wreck!…With Marshall already throwing the renewable energy baby out with the bath water…It is only a matter of time before serious discussion of restarting these old charcoal pits up near me in the Mallee is not open for serious consideration!
    But hey!..turn it into a sporting venue and throw a couple of shrimps on the pit BBQ and the whole family can be invited!

  2. Freethinker

    If the Greens do not come with strong and popular progressive policies and still keeping the present leadership will disintegrate very soon.
    IMHO Di Natale is a moderate right who go a bit with the “mild lefty” flow in the party to keep his leadership.
    Generally, IMO, people keep going to the big parties because they are conservative by nature and only the young generation vote for alternative parties.

  3. Terry2

    Whilst I don’t live in SA, I was annoyed and actually emailed the ABC – quite rare for me – about the constant references to tired and ageing and occasionally past their use by date when referring to the Weatherill government.

    This included Fran Kelly and presenters on the Drum. I wondered who put these words into their presentations or were they spontaneous reflecting a personal bias.

    This sort of subliminal bias does impact the thinking of some voters and is a device used by political manipulators to create an unfavourable image of an incumbent government or aspiring politician.

  4. Joseph Carli

    Terry2 While I agree with you on the wankery of Fran and her colleagues when it came to describing the Wetherill govt’..unfortunately, the election was won mainly on the electoral boundary changes, the vote swinging away from the Liberal Party, but not enough of a percentage to Labor…and with such a small population, one has to wonder on the need for such exaggerated extensions of those boundaries by the electoral commission (adjudicated upon by Amanda Vanstone’s sister!), whether THAT was the intended idea….considering that Labor appealed against those boundaries and effect granting the Liberals an undeserved win.
    Sure, there will be those who would claim it was not so..but we have to remember and take into account that with the Liberal Party we are dealing with upper middle-class criminals.

  5. John Passant

    Good article. Your view of the SA election, which I agree with, is something I was just writing about in a draft article. Great minds …..

  6. Terry2

    By the way, I think is should have said : passed their use by date

  7. Kronomex

    The poor ickle corporations desperately need the $50 billion in tax cuts…awww…
    Now the LNP are also going to be massively magnanimous and help the unemployed as well with a rise in their benefits of a huge 50 cents a day. Never mind, when the corporations get their tax cuts there will be employment for all and tons of money will flow up…oops, down to the ordinary person in the street. Hooray for Malcolm…

  8. Kyran

    It is hard to get a line on the effects of the redistribution in SA, as so much information is scattered across so many different areas. As Mr Tyler pointed out, this is a vagary of the SA system. The summary seems to be that the Libs had 22 seats at the last election and, as you point out, were scheduled to win another four this time. They have 24 at present, with Adelaide and Mawson both going down to the wire and oscillating between a ‘Lib retain’ to a ‘Labor win’. This is the only link I could find that is still measuring how the voting is going at the moment.

    This time around, there was a 7.4% swing against the Libs, which went to SA Best, who couldn’t convert.
    Before issuing edicts on the stupidity, complacency or apathy of voters, it may be advantageous to wait and see how they actually voted. If it’s a case of the Libs running on 24 seats and they have to appoint a ‘speaker’, things might not be so rosy for them. Even if they win the two in doubt and scratch over to 26 seats, it isn’t a resounding success as that was specifically the imbalance the redistribution was set to address. As adjudged by her worship, Ms Vanstone.
    The other problem with the SA result is the upper house. If the Libs had such a resounding win, how could this have resulted in an upper house that seems unlikely to let Marshall get away with too much?

    “Bearing in mind that only half of the Upper House was up for election, that result would take the overall composition of the chamber to eight Labor, eight Liberals, two Greens, two SA Best, an independent (John Darley) and a Conservative (Dennis Hood).”

    Without a doubt, the best quote out of that link is this;
    “That would be two SA Best gains at the expense of Dignity,” ABC election analyst Antony Green said.
    So succinct, don’t you think? Everything about this result is at the expense of dignity!
    “If you have a point of view, feel free to express it. However, do so with civility. Then your point of view is laced with a degree of dignity.”
    Thank you Mr Lord. Take care

  9. Keitha Granville

    “only the young generation vote for alternative parties ”
    I am 65 years old, and until recently have ALWAYS voted Green in the Senate and in state elections. Until the present leader. Bob and Christine were genuinely passionate Greens, with ideology that didn’t waft around with the current political breeze. They always maintained their principles and so they maintained their support base.
    I don’t know what will happen to the Greens, but making any decision to be an alternative is probably foolish – they should stick with the Senate federally, concentrate on basic Green principles and get back to the core.

    SA may realise it’s mistake over the next 4 years, and if the Labor party choose a good leader they will be back.

  10. Freethinker

    Keitha Granville, I am 72 and do not have voted for a big party since removing Fraser from government.
    The Greens are now “blueish/green” and have to change the leadership to go back to activism but not only for protecting the environment but also to remove neoliberalism from the Australia political landscaping.
    The ALP with the current leadership is not going to do that and forget about the Coalition so we need the Greens with a broad alternative policy.
    Unfortunately and IMHO Bob has changed quite a bit since his early activist years and I put the blame firm on him for having Abbott government.
    I am a true left person and IMO the Greens have to go in that direction and Bob pushing to removing Lee for NSW was showing where he start now.

  11. Terry2

    You may have noticed that Newscorp, as part of their attack on Labor’s plan to cut out cash refunds on Franking Credits, are using the slogan Labor’s tax grab will affect pensioners with taxable incomes of as little as $18,200.

    I don’t claim to be a tax expert but I do understand that those retirees on low or with no taxable income are not necessarily battlers. Frequently they pay a lot of accounting fees simply to achieve a low or zero tax status.

    My point is that if Newscorp are going to use these shrill headlines then they should be obliged to declare actual income and assets not just taxable income : after all, Qantas has had no taxable income in recent years yet their CEO takes home around $25 million !

    It’s all in the spin !

  12. Ronson Dalby

    I have voted Greens at all levels for years but now believe they’ll be extinct in a short few years unless they get rid of RDN and stop their rightwards movement (this may be just a perception but perception is everything in politics, isn’t it?). At this time feel that I’m disenfranchised. There’s no way I could vote ALP or Greens (LP has never been a consideration since Howard was treasurer in the 80s) at the next federal election with how I feel at the moment.

  13. wam

    What a great giggle this morning,JL.
    Unlike you. I have a perpetual bias and have never found sufficient reason to vote for the party of pig-iron bob or for the mini-parties like democrats, phon, slimy X or the grins. I have known and helped clp pollies on an individual basis but am unable to understand their fundamental uncompromising acceptance of a single undiscusable point of view on topics like prejudice, welfare, collateral damage and racism and their blind belief in and acceptance of their truth.
    dignity is associated with:
    stateliness, nobleness, nobility, majesty, regalness, regality, royalness, courtliness, augustness, loftiness, exaltedness, lordliness, impressiveness, grandeur, magnificence;
    humanity is not there.

    ps good one johnno she did show how right bowen was to call this government ‘fundamentally dishonest…’ and even murdoch cannot fool all the people all the time so newscorp, ch9 and the LNP dishonesties may be exposed?

  14. Keith

    I guess from your definition of Bias; John, I’m biased.
    The Vietnam war had an impact on the way I feel about the LNP. They sent conscripts to fight in an ideological war between communism and Western Democracy, the dominoes falling was an extremely successful analogy used by the LNP. But, when the veterans came home they did not get support from the LNP politicians when the veterans came in for unwarranted criticism from citizens. The veterans did not get a jot of support from the LNP immediately after the war. The LNP have continued in not supporting veterans or citizens generally since. The Department of Veteran Affairs needs revamping; but, you can bet that it will continue to create hell for veterans needing assistance with bugger all input from the LNP.

    I’m starting to wonder whether Maslow’s view on how people think is determined by how well off they are is relevant. Many Australians are struggling to make ends meet; the more abstract matters of how Australia should be governed is not so much of a matter of importance against worrying about where the next dollar will come from. Hence, there is not much analysis of the trickle down crap and negative gearing. Keeping people poor being a way to maintain power.

  15. helvityni

    Do not worry, John Lord, you are a civilizing influence on commenters here on AIM, not that I’m all that confident that any of us can improve any adult’s behaviour in real life or online….

    We can influence young children though as parents, and hopefully at least some teachers do the same…

  16. New England Cocky

    The Greens are handicapped by a pseudo-Liberal leader, a muddle class professional who appears to lack any experience of real life among the working classes. Doing deals with the LNP misgovernment is a sure way to political extinction as shown by the Democrats under Meg Lees with the introduction of the GST.

    Australian voters want policies that will provide a vision of the future in which every Australian benefits through working towards a national goal, like the original Snowy Scheme (not Snowy 2.0 for later sale to multinational corporations at Australian taxpayer expense).

    So where is the re-direction of the Burdekin into the Channel country, the generation of hydro on every stream going over the Eastern Escarpment, the training of unemployed persons in remote communities to build, install and maintain solar and alternative energy systems for their communities? Certainly NOT with the present NLP misgovernment … and NOT with the city bound ALP.

  17. diannaart

    I’m biased; to be alive means being biased.

    In fact anyone arguing they are completely objective on any issue have outed themselves as a liar.

    I am biased against condescension, authoritarianism, self-aggrandisement, bullying – such as is exemplified by the Libs, Nats (far-right in general) and more than a scattering across the Left.

    At least the control freaks of the Right are easy to identify.

    Not so easy within my own political/societal tent – Richard Di Natale certainly deserves scrutiny. He is not so much about spruiking Greens policies (which are many, various and well thought out, as any visit to the Greens website will demonstrate), as he is more about establishing himself as alpha-dog rather than leader.

    Many people confuse leadership with dominance – a global trend right now.

    A trend which indicates humans have a long way to go before they grow up.

  18. Kaye Lee

    “Many people confuse leadership with dominance”

    How very true that is. It is a mistake a lot of teachers make too. The real leaders teach/help others to lead rather than demanding a following. If you have to use intimidation then you are not a leader.

  19. johnlord2013

    There are many definitions of bias. The editor of this blog is the most biased football supporter I have ever come across. There is also Confirmation bias and Generational bias. I have enjoyed your comments emmensly.

  20. townsvilleblog

    Not having had much of an education, and having to rely upon my wits to get to where I am, it does seem fairly black and white to me. If you are a boss or a wealthy person you should vote Liberal because they have the policies to make you wealthier, if you are a f-a-r-m-e-r (I’ve spelt that slowly so they can catch up) then you vote National Party because they have the policies that help you to avoid paying your fair share of taxation and help you to get richer. On the other hand if you are a working person (wage slave) you vote for the Labor Party because they have ‘some’ policies to assist you to exist.

    Of course two out of three ain’t bad. When the L’NP gain government they do everything they can possibly do to help the rich get much richer, by cancelling programs that help ordinary people survive, so that what was once a government service, you now have to pay for yourself, thus taking money from the poor. If only the Labor Party would, instead of coming in and trying to assist ‘everybody’, just concentrated on their constituents as the tories (LNP) do.

    The first thing they could do apart from imputation credits is to introduce a mandatory 15% minimum tax to be paid on every corporation that operates out of Australia, where their massive incomes are taken. Move two would be the introduction of ‘a living wage’ so that one income families did not have to eat bread and jam every meal if the non-working adult could not cook. These tory bast@#ds have had six years now, and have buggered the economy (not that the MSM tells us about that) there are 2.59 million people here either unemployed or underemployed with well in excess of three million Aussies living below the poverty line, How much tory bullshit is this population prepared to cop before they get angry enough to fight back via their ballot boxes?

    For an old bloke who was politically active in the 1970s onward, I don’t understand why people are not marching in the streets on a daily basis against the treatment they are receiving, please would someone educate me why the current generation is so frightened?

  21. etnorb

    Yes the Libs “won” the SA elections but this state has had enough of Weathermans’ lies, money wasting schemes & lack of compassion for the aged, as evidenced with all the crap going on about the scandals etc at an aged care facility here in Adelaide called Oakden. His grandiose “developments” (sic) has seen SA have the highest energy prices, lack of enough electricity supply in times of high demand, & the premature closing of the Port Augusta (coal fired) power station. SA now has the world’s most expensive hospital which is going to cost us taxpayers over a million dollars a day, for over 30 years (?), just to pay for the building! He has sold off ALL the once Government owned businesses etc here in SA, for very low prices & has left this state with nothing left to “sell”–even though he “promised” that if he got re-elected he would not sell off anymore–WTF?? We now have exceedingly expensive tram services that go really nowhere at huge cost to this state & he wanted to have even more tram lines into suburbs with no room for any trams, NO “reliable” power supply–yes we have batteries, solar panels & wind farms but they are not guaranteed to supply the power needs of this state when high demand etc is needed, & the list goes on! I am a Labor voter & a former involved Union member (before retiring), so I think I can speak with some knowledge about just how dire SA has become under Labor for the last 16 years!! Trouble is Marshall & his Libs will spend the next 4 years just trying to get SA back on an even keel, so when the next election occurs, he will probably not have done very much (other than get us out of the huge hole we are now in!) so more than likely voters will be of a mind to (again!) elect the Labor lot! Time will tell!

  22. PhilC

    Etnorb, I’m a retired person, who was a union member and a union official, who votes Green, who was a member of the ALP, who lives in SA, and has always done so. Some of what you have said is a little bit right but so much is quite wrong, particularly in relation to electricity demand, pricing and supply. It is sad that you have fallen for the lies spun by the silly, non-investigative journos and the very stupid opinion givers of the Murdoch press and, sadly, the ABC.

    When we have peak demand is absolutely at the time when our power production from solar is at it’s highest.Power failures have always happened and the major power failure in 2016 was caused by the worst storms in our history and an inter-connector problem. The inter-connector and false assumptions by AEMO about demand caused the other much smaller blackout the following summer. I can’t believe you live here and do not know this.

    The very notion of base load power is what is actually creating problems for all of us. Coal fired power generation cannot be turned on and off quickly therefore it is produced to meet estimated maximum demand. If the demand is less than anticipated the costs are greater for the generator and therefore prices go up. Usually when demand falls, prices fall. For fossil fuel generated power the opposite happens. Renewables will restore the the balance, in this and in so many other ways. That is why the venal, immoral fossil fuel pushers keep attacking renewable energy sources.

    Please do some research and you will see that the way SA has been going is the way of the future. There are many objective, and informative, sites, that will help you to understand this issue better. Try Reneweconomy or One Step off the grid for starters. Please take some time to do it. I suggest you also do a bit more research about the RAH funding process as well. I am also deeply perturbed that anyone living in SA cannot see and comprehend the looming disaster that is waiting for us as a state, let alone the rest of world, through climate change.

    It is dreadful that the fool Marshall won this election but as John noted he shouldn’t be here for more than one term, unless we are completely stupid.

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