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Shorten’s great ‘election risk’ is worth taking

The headline in The Age today, ‘Battle lines: Shorten’s great election risk’ linked to the article ‘I can win’: Bill Shorten draws election battle lines.

‘Great election risk’ is good click bait. I’m glad it was, otherwise I might not have bothered to read the article. The mainstream media has a habit of giving us blazing, enticing headlines that, when read, reveal stories far removed from what the headline suggested.

After reading this particular article I would have been more satisfied if the headline was ‘Shorten is addressing the issues that Turnbull ignores: issues vital to the future of Australia’. Because that was the crux of the article.

It is unlikely that the Murdoch media will pay any attention to Shorten’s important statements (nope, just checked, they are nowhere on so it is up to social and independent media to help spread the message. Perhaps the reason the Murdoch media will ignore his statements is because they might win Labor some votes.

Many, many readers of the social and independent media sites don’t read anything published in the mainstream media. For good reason, of course. However, this is one article worth reading. Here are the main points:

Bill Shorten says he will put climate change at the centre of his campaign to become prime minister despite the political risks as he seeks to draw the election battle lines against the “underwhelming” Malcolm Turnbull.

As Mr Turnbull prepares to mark six months in power on Monday – and with early-budget and double-dissolution election speculation now at fever pitch – Mr Shorten says the Prime Minister has been a huge letdown for many Australians.

As Mr Shorten prepares to give a major set-piece speech outlining his election priorities to the National Press Club on Tuesday, he has declared he will not run a “small target” election campaign by avoiding tough issues.

Rather, Labor will continue to put out detailed and potentially contentious policy proposals, as it did on negative gearing.

And he won’t be shying away from the issue that did so much damage to Labor under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

“We’re going to fight the election with climate change as one of our big issues,” he said. “Climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity for Australia if we respond to it correctly.”

Labor has already proposed ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy targets and has promised to take a new emissions trading scheme to the election.

Asked about the political risk of taking an ETS to the people so soon after the bruising carbon tax debate, Mr Shorten said: “We’re risking the future if we don’t show leadership.”

“I’m not going to go down Mr Turnbull’s low road of just wanting the job for the sake of having the job. There’s no point being in politics – or seeking to form a government – if you’re not going to do anything to improve this country,” he said.

While the election is still considered Mr Turnbull’s to lose, there is a growing sense that Mr Shorten and his team cannot be written off.

He believes the election will ultimately be less about personalities and more about ideas – and he doesn’t believe the government has many ideas.

“My prediction is they’re going to have a couple of positive announcements and then they’re going to go negative,” he said.

The election will also be about unity, conviction and authenticity.

“I run my party, Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t run his,” Mr Shorten said.

“My party’s united, Malcolm Turnbull’s party is divided. I don’t have to pretend to be what I’m not – Malcolm Turnbull does.”

Bingo! Bill Shorten wants to do something about climate change and Malcolm Turnbull is a leader of a divided party.

But this article began with the suggestion that Bill Shorten is taking a risk in making climate change mitigation an election issue. I disagree with this suggestion. I believe we are taking a risk if we don’t address climate change. This is, and should be, one of the major issues this country faces. Bill Shorten wants to talk about it, but meanwhile elsewhere we’ll be reading we should be having discussions whether or not climate change is real, or they’ll keep promoting the opinion of deniers, or this suggestion from Lenore Taylor that much about this election is unknown.

Well this is known: Bill Shorten and Labor want to do something about climate change. One of the reasons they lost the 2013 election was because of their climate change strategies. I commend Bill Shorten for having the guts not to be deterred, and for putting issues and policy at the centre of the table.

If that’s a risk, then it’s one worth taking. The electorate deserve to know that he’s prepared to take it.



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  1. susan

    Excellent. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  2. keerti

    Finally Shorten begins to lead rather than follow. The environement is the real issue facing australians. We’ll probably see in the liberals list of policies a by-line which amounts to “we’ll wreck the environment.” It will be in small print, but after the election if they win they will claim a mandate for all their policies, regardless of the fact that australians have a high rate of illiteracy!

  3. David (other)

    i look forward to his Press Club speech and to the question and answer phase afterwards. There will be plenty of MSM Press Gallery members looking for blood on behalf of their owner(s) and devout ignorant readers.
    Great opportunity for Bill to impress on a national stage.

  4. John Kelly

    It sounds like Bill is gearing up. If so, using the National Press Club is a good move. Policy will trump personality every time if it is genuine. The Liberals always struggle with policy. It’s one of those annoying little things that get in the way of being in government, as distinct from governing. Sound policy from Labor will put the Liberals on the back foot and force them to go negative. Go hard, go long.

  5. cuppa

    The NSM/ABC tried their best to ‘Get Bill!’ Well, they failed, and Bill is standing stronger than ever, with a united team behind him.

  6. Ruth L

    This move is long overdue.We need to spread the word as you suggested Michael.
    A so called ‘risk taker’ is what we have needed since Julia Gillard departed.
    Perhaps we could ask The Saturday Paper to analyse the ‘pros and cons’.

  7. Deidre Zanker

    Great article. Shorten and his team can win the election on good policy. Let’s hope less voters are listening to the Murdoch/IPA lies. The rest of us will need to promote Shorten’s good policies at every opportunity. I doubt that our democracy can survive another term of Murdoch muppet government. Many lives and futures would be destroyed for what purpose? To keep a wealthy power mad despot in control in his final years.

  8. Wally

    Climate change debate between the leaders will be interesting given Turnbulls beliefs being opposite to the LNP policies.

  9. cowper133

    Thanks for drawing attention to the article Michael. I’m one of those people who refuses to buy main stream papers anymore, although, I’ll sometimes follow a link to SMH. Hopefully people will start to sit up and notice that Labor have put out their policies early so people do have time to discuss their merits. The policy vacuum from Libs is stark in comparison! It is very much up to everyone who does care about good policy to influence those around them and the broader audience through social media if they can.

  10. Michael Lacey

    Win or lose fight for something that counts and push it as hard as you can!!!

  11. Bighead1883

    First off to — keerti March 12, 2016 at 3:22 pm
    You obviously are an @Greens and know nothing of what Shorten or Labor stand for as is shown by your inane comment.

    Well written Michael Taylor and certainly an improvement on anything the Murdoch press can do on Shorten or Labor
    AS the 2016ALPNatCon held recently in NSW had so little airing it`s as you say [social and Independent media] left to show the opposition`s viepoint
    Even our ABC is now just a sounding board for conservative politics,showing as much time to US politics as to homegrown
    For those interested where Australia`s alternate government will take us then you`ll see all these on Labor`s Policy page
    Positive Policies

    Our vision for Australia’s future

    A Bill Shorten Labor Government will be about health, jobs, education and standing up for middle class and working class families. A Bill Shorten Labor Government will be about putting people first.

    Positive Policy

    “Your Child, Our Future”. Innovation Through Education. The Full Gonski

    Positive Policy

    No $100,000 Uni Degree Debts

    Positive Policy

    Positive Plan to Help Housing Affordability

    Positive Policy

    More Teachers, More Individual Student Attention

    Positive Policy

    50% Renewable Energy By 2030

    Positive Policy

    More Start-Ups in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths

    Positive Policy

    Coding in Every Australian School

    Positive Policy

    Labor Created Medicare. Labor Will Protect Medicare.

    Positive Policy

    Infrastructure Projects Mean Local Jobs

    Positive Policy

    Labor Will Protect Your Weekend Penalty Rates

    Positive Policy

    Multinationals To Pay Their Fair Share of Tax

    Positive Policy

    Marriage Equality in 100 Days

    Positive Policy

    Plan to address Domestic Violence

    Positive Policy

    Closing Down Superannuation Tax Concessions for the Very Well Off

    Positive Policy

    A Humane & Compassionate Approach to Asylum Seekers

    Positive Policy

    Labor’s TAFE Funding Guarantee

    Positive Policy

    Making Mental Health a National Priority

    Positive Policy

    Best Practice Tobacco Policy

    Remember these are the things Australia is crying out for and if you don`t care then YOU are part of the problem

  12. Michael Taylor

    John, no matter how well Bill Shorten performs at the National Press Club – even if he dazzles – that night all we’ll hear about from the MSM is how he was 15 seconds late, that his tie didn’t match his shirt, or that he failed to deliver a sound policy when asked what Labor would be doing about the illegal fishing of the Patagonian Tooth Fish by Chilean boats in Australia’s territorial waters.

  13. Carol Taylor

    It’s the ultimate wedgie, put out POLICY and watch Turnbull either cave in to the far right which will reinforce the increasing impression that he’s as weak as p*ss or watch the LNP tear themselves to shreds with internal divisions. Either/or will do.

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    I suspect Shorten is in the place he planned to be at this time. I suspect he has read Turnbull better than any of us.

    Labor appears to be ready to go.

  15. cornlegend

    Carol Taylor
    ” Either/or will do.” yep.
    What we need is Tony to decide he wants his rightful role as PM back and whiteant a bit more than at present
    He and the monkey pod crew aren’t doing too bad but need encouragement .
    I’ll email him again and tell him we miss him and want him back 😀

  16. Terry2

    Yesterday Turnbull, talking to Wendy Harmer on ABC radio, went to a lot of trouble to explain his thinking on a Double Dissolution and he faithfully recounted the content of section 57 of our constitution but the thrust of what he was implying was that it is quite normal, where the Senate fails to pass a piece of legislation on two occasions, to have a dissolution of both Houses and an election.

    If it were such a mundane procedural thing then we would be having DD’s on a regular basis but it is not a conventional approach for the government of the day to take.

    Turnbull’s attitude is ‘just pass the legislation and all will be well’ but that is saying to the opposition and the cross benches in the Senate, ‘put aside your principles and just do as you are told’.

    In my view, this has nothing to do with the ABCC but is all about Turnbull’s manipulation of the constitution and he wants the electorate to believe that the parliament is inoperable and must be dissolved ; a long way from the truth.

    He may find that his ploy backfires and rather than a DD election giving him a majority in both Houses as he wants it may well be that, even with the changed voting arrangements for the Senate, that the Australian people will smell a rat and elect a non compliant Senate.

    Have you notices, in the meantime that all of the taxation reform that was on the table for discussion has not only been removed from the table – and put in the ‘fridge – but even the bloody table has been shunted into the back yard.

  17. cornlegend

    Michael Taylor

    “fishing of the Patagonian Tooth Fish by Chilean boats”
    I thought you were having a piece of us so I googled.
    bloody ugly things 😀
    I’m emailing Bill the google link to Patagonian Tooth Fish so he’s up to speed on the ugly buggers 😀 just in case some MSM journos read your comment and pose the question

  18. Trevr

    Good article Michael If you read Murdoch’s gutter press you wouldn’t know that Bill Shorton everything is in a race called an Election. About time Bill upped his game, maybe he has a future other than a has been. Tony Turnbullshit is all at sea guarding the right flank from Abbott’s wanking partner dunderhead Dutton. As for Big hat No cattle Big head 1883 and his shopping list of what he wants from Bill and Labor, fair dinkum get another hat or some cattle if the best you have is yet another attack on a female writer. Discourse not your favourite drum. Thanks again to Micheal and AIMN for a readable incisive view away from the mainstream turd polishers and political bias jockeys.

  19. DisablednDesperate

    Great article as always. I think it was John who said policy would win over personality. You think? I hope.

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch Cash at the Press Club but will certainly watch this one.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Lenore Taylor’s article was very good too. Today I heard Bob Day saying the legislation about the ABCC was THE most important thing facing the government.

    Could I suggest that people are far more worried about proposed changes to university fees, paid parental leave, childcare subsideis, retirement age, superannuation, hospital and education funding as well as climate change action.

    Surely they aren’t going to fight an election just on union bashing?

  21. Dragon

    Keerti I think that you have well and truly under estimated Bill Shorten what is the point of coming out too strong too early by the time the election comes round it would all have become white noise!!! Bill Shorten has worked on building a strong and non divisive team – Goal achieved! Bill Shorten has strategically put out sound policy in a timely and considered fashion – Goal Achieved! Bill Shorten knows that the truth of the matter is that MOST Australians want our borders closed so he came up with a more Humane policy to ensure refugees did not languish for years on end in detention not ideal but Australians themselves have to take some responsibility for wedging Labor given the rAbbott got in on STOP THE BOATS! He has produced an excellent policy to move the country forward on climate change again Australians must take responsibility for putting the handbrake on this with the rAbbotts AXE THE CARBON TAX – As we gear up for the election Bill Shorten will come out blazing the man has a plan and he has shared some of it but I believe there is much more to come from Bill Shorten and Labor – Bill Shorten is no fool and I suspect a very safe pair of hands and right now this country of ours needs him and Labor back at the helm and steering our ship

  22. my say

    Union bashing is all they have to go to an election on,what hypocrites, how many liberals havebeen forced to retire or stand down ,
    Australia and Australians are in the hands of the voters,hopefully this time they will vote on policies and not the man,voting for the man has got us into the mess we are in now
    The actions of Turnbull is disgusting changing the senate voting system and calling a DD are the actions of a desperate man thinking only of himself ,
    I like many hope this back fires on him and they are all sent packing ,

  23. Bighead1883

    Trevr March 12, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    You wrote “As for Big hat No cattle Big head 1883 and his shopping list of what he wants from Bill and Labor,”

    So let`s have a look at you here
    “As for Big hat No cattle Big head 1883 and his shopping list of what he wants from Bill and Labor”
    So the above link {and policy outlines] to the Labor policies page is my shopping list? = Sam Dastyari is right,you are cancerous in your thinking

    Then you add
    ” fair dinkum get another hat or some cattle if the best you have is yet another attack on a female writer. Discourse not your favourite drum”
    Last I checked Michael Taylor is a male [only he can confer his true gender] and to whom do you really infer?

    I thank you Trevr for your moronic tirade because it allows me to post yet another link to Bill Shorten

    Practical policies, positive future: read all about it

    Labor has launched a new booklet outlining 50 practical policies it will take into the 2016 federal election.

    A year ago, ALP leader Bill Shorten said Labor would be defined by the power of its ideas and over the course of 2015, the Opposition has rolled out more than 50 practical, positive policies.

    “These are 50 genuine, concrete and constructive policies to take to the Australian people at the next election,” said Labor leader Bill Shorten.

  24. Jaquix

    I think Malcolm is treating his role as PM as if he were still a barrister, arguing a case with words. A barrister doesnt have to take any action, just use words as a weapon. A PM cannot get away with the use of a silver tongue forever.

  25. Miriam English

    I’m glad to see Bill Shorten and Labor step forward. I wish them the best in their effort to unseat the current LNP loons and I hope they manage to do so. They’ll need as many small parties helping as possible. To this end Bighead1883 is working against Labor’s interests by doing all he can to insult and alienate those who would vote Greens. At the same time as making a big deal of positive messages versus the kind of negative ones the LNP love so much he launches into a nasty couple of insulting posts against Greens sympathisers. Pull your BigHead in, mate, and understand that, regardless of your personal hates, the Greens are Labor’s allies. Albo’s nasty propaganda did Labor great damage.

    I have a feeling that the changes to Senate voting will actually see more independents and small parties in the Senate because it has made voting under the line massively easier. Many people probably wanted to vote under the line, but having to number around a hundred boxes without making errors scared most people off. Now I think we may find more people voting under the line, and accordingly larger numbers of independents and small parties getting in.

    Incidentally, I was looking online for a conversion from US dollars to Australian dollars so I typed into Google “convert AU$ to US$” (without the quote marks, of course) and as well as giving a gadget that let me check the exchange rate it showed a very interesting graph showing the exchange rate over the last few years. The LNP gained government in September 2013. Type what I wrote (convert AU$ to US$) into Google and have a look at what happened to the exchange rate around then. It is a great demonstration of the of the LNP’s ability to manage the economy vs Labor’s. That little graph should be shown everywhere to rebuke the idiots in the LNP when they try to say conservatives are good money managers and progressives are bad for the economy. In actual fact the reverse is true. Conservatives wreck economies and progressives rebuild economies, as is shown by that graphic.

    A while back I found (but unfortunately didn’t save) a similar diagram of the US economy. It was striking that every time a conservative government was elected the economy tanked, and when progressives got in they repaired the economy.

  26. Matters Not

    There are Labor Party ‘policies’ and then there are Labor Government ‘priorities’ (which emerge after the election) and as ‘history’ demonstrates there’s a significant mismatch between the two.

    Labor Party ‘platforms’ are simply a ‘wish list’ or a ‘sales pitch’; they’re like a rail platform, designed to get ‘in on’ but certainly not to ‘remain on’. (Not suggesting that the ‘Conservatives’ are any different.)

    What Shorten will actually do, in contrast to what he says he will do, will be of interest. But perhaps not because he is still to actually get there.

  27. Florence nee Fedup

    The fly in the ointment for the government is, they have been unable to beat up ant excitement over CFMEU. In fact most are more angry about white collar crime.

    Added to the fact most TURC recommendations are falling at the first hurdle, Not even getting near a court.

    The companies involved have shocking safety records as well. Not much sympathy being raised for them

    The ABCC is a fizzer for the government,m Very hard to build a case of obstruction on that one. As for the charity bills, not wanted by the charities themselves.

    PM has allowed to be wedged into a dangerous situation by the government he is supposed to lead.

    In Shorten, we have one who has patience, capable long term planning, preparing well though out and researched policy. Making sure he has crossed all the “T”s, dotted all the “I”s.

    A man who has united the party strongly behind him.

    Has been happy for Abbott and co to portray him as a weak idiot. Waiting for the the to spring his trap.

    It is my experience through life where one sees a bully ruling the roost, it is generally the quiet mild man, sitting in the corner, that eventually brings them down.

  28. Florence nee Fedup

    Miriam, at the end of the day, voters find a way to make any system work in their favour. What we need to do, is to get below line treated same way as above. If not, we will just have to number all.

  29. Bighead1883

    Miriam EnglishMarch 12, 2016 at 8:37 pm
    To this end Bighead1883 is working against Labor’s interests by doing all he can to insult and alienate those who would vote Greens. At the same time as making a big deal of positive messages versus the kind of negative ones the LNP love so much he launches into a nasty couple of insulting posts against Greens sympathisers. Pull your BigHead in, mate, and understand that, regardless of your personal hates, the Greens are Labor’s allies. Albo’s nasty propaganda did Labor great damage.

    What a load of horseshit Miriam,the Greens are no friend of Labor and I`ll assist Albo at every turn I can to out that Twitter troll @greensjeremy Senator for the scum he is
    The campaign in Grayndler is/will be vicious and the shit was piled on by Jim Casey first
    Your greensplaining doesn`t work on me because we all know how full of it Greens and the social media backlash on diNatale and past Greens acts of bastardry to Labor are laid bare

    Especially when SHY spoke of Greens refugee policy in treating AS offshore in Malaysia and Indonesia
    The very same Malaysia policy denied Julia Gillard
    Greens hypocrites are going the same way as the Australian Democrats=into oblivion beginning in 2016 Fed election

  30. Pamela

    Not impressed… yes action needs to happen on climate change… but he also needs to address inequality and I don’t see anything there to do that… they also still support WFTD, the Cashless Welfare Card which are punitive measures that do nothing to address the real issue’s like no work… I’d be more interested if he came out saying he would reverse those and implement an income guarantee, and stop off shore processing and remove meta data retention… until then they have aided and abetted the LNP to bring in some of the policies that are hurting, the poor, disadvantaged and minority groups… they have voted for 38% of the LNP policies, the greens only 6%, it is pretty easy to see who i the real opposition here. Looking forward to the new senate voting reform where I don’t have to vote for either of the LNP or the ALP!!

  31. Matters Not

    Conceptually, there are ‘means’ and there are ‘ends’. Historically, political parties (means) were formed to achieve certain goals (ends).

    Now, there is complete confusion between the ends and the means. Political parties (in the view of their advocates) are now ‘ends’ in themselves. As for ‘means’? Take your pick. Leading the pack is ‘whatever it takes’.

    Because the ‘Party’ must come first ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

    It’s the same ‘world view’ as advanced by George Pell when he chooses to forget what was bleeding obvious.

    The Church must be ‘reified’ as must the Party,

  32. Florence nee Fedup

    I think Shorten will be working hard not being pinned down, on in the scheme of things that are important but petty. Things such as cashless welfare cards.

    It will be the big picture that counts. We should have learnt that from Abbott when he created perception of non existent carbon tax. Stop the boats. Debate went no further.

    Shorten will have to work hard to maintain control of the election agenda. That battle has been on since Abbott was dumped. I think Labor is on verge winning that one.

    There is a serious game of chess in play. Shorten as Keating explain it, played with Abbott’s mind. Now in process of playing with Turnbull’s.

    Yes, PM it is indeed exciting times.

  33. Sir Scotchmistery

    I’m still slightly gobsmacked that the MSM haven’t interviewed Wendy Deng about liberal policy. She would know more than most.

    As for ALP and LNP frictions, I find the whole thing ODD.

  34. paul walter

    So what is the headline about? Trying to portray Shorten as someone unbalanced who takes foolish risks? I never get past the ability of msm to publish such dishonest stuff.

  35. diannaart

    Looking forward to a definitive and detailed package of proposed action on climate change.

    Am also eager to hear that damage to to Gillard’s policies, Gonksi, NDIS and NBN (or was NBN Rudd’s?), will be repaired along with LNP’s decimation to CSIRO and other science research organisations.

    Am also crossing my everything to hear about humane onshore assessment for asylum seekers and, most importantly release into the community with all the medical and psychiatric supports needed by the people detained in Nauru and all our off-shore concentration camps.

    Cherry on cake would be the cancellation of school chaplaincy programs with money saved to repair lack of maintenance to public schools.

    Not really expecting a serious analysis of Australia’s defence requirements – but wouldn’t that be nice?

    Also, I have stated previously that I would be voting for Labor for the lower house, NO THANKS to Bighead! And I still intend to vote for Labor because, pragmatist that I am, I see a further term of LNP’s nationally destructive incompetence as worse than Labor’s cack-handedness.

    1. Get Labor in

    2. Work on political diversity.

  36. Trevr

    Big hat no cattle bighead 1883. Think you can insult your way to victory. Fair dinkum. A few cattle are not gunna help you, but no doubt you think you have a right to be yet another dickhead aggressive male. Kick the LNP on vote day so hard they never land again. vote however you like but remember the problem is Australia’s experiment with democracy where a 2 party preferred gerrymander stillbirths representative Parliamentary Democracy to a 2 horse political party race where the voters accept welfare bludging MP’s whose allegiance is to their party not the Australian people. If Bill was in Gough’s cabinet he would have been called a pissant.

  37. Bighead1883

    TrevrMarch 13, 2016 at 2:31 am
    What an amazing being you are
    Because I don`t swallow the Greens tripe water you call me what ever names you see fit and name me as the aggressor
    Do you Greens believe this to be your little utopia here at AIMN?

    Diannaart I`ve blogged alongside you for years and I`ll still vote Labor despite your NO THANKS {why}

    The whole reality boils down to sensitivity in Greens who believe they can attack a political foe and not be attacked in return

    I`m a creature of habit and habitat who never runs from a fight,but to one and now with AusVote`16 on us my political Party,Labor has two enemies to face,LNP and Greens
    The LNP wish to take away all things Labor has built up for Australia and ONLY Labor can save them from being totally destroyed
    Jobs being the paramount as housing bank repossessions are reaching record highs and the ending of Neg Gearing will see a housing building boom

    What can or could the Greens offer Australia? a balance of power at best and you all know where that ends when playing with the LNP,just ask Meg Lees Richard di Natale

  38. Kaye Lee

    The more I listen to people yelling at each other, the happier I am that I am not a member of any political party and if anyone thinks they are likely to attract support by abusing people, I would suggest you consider another approach. Rather than “not backing off from a fight”, how about you consider moving towards common ground.

    Sometimes people vote differently. Are we then to, for evermore, say remember when ten years ago they voted against us? How are we to ever move forward with that attitude?

    Di Natale said they will do no preference deals that in any way benefit the Coalition. Preference deals mean nothing to me – I allocate my own preferences. The priority for all of us is surely to remove this government. We should be devoting our energies to that and fine tuning policies, negotiating to find things that we can agree on.

    United we stand, divided we fall

    PS Michael Kroger is very enjoying stirring this pot. Don’t give him the satisfaction of seeing his strategy work

  39. Miriam English

    Bighead, just look at your posts above if you wonder why others consider you the aggressor. You come out with fairly rabid streams of insults and hatred against anyone hinting of Green associations.

    As for Medicare, NDIS, Gonski, NBN, Unions, Jobs, the Greens stand for all those too. When Labor does things in the interests of the Australian people the Greens will help them. When Labor stands for things that disadvantage Australia then naturally the Greens won’t help there. However the Greens don’t have a party culture the way LNP or Labor do. They care about humanity instead of non-human entities such as parties. The LNP are probably the most generally anti-human group in politics, with their belief that money and superstition are much more important than humans, with only about one in 17 of their decisions favoring humanity in general or Australians at large. Labor are generally much more interested in humanity, although, disappointingly, about a third of the time they agree with the LNP in anti-human decisions.

    Labor and the Greens and other progressives all need each other. The strategists in the LNP would love to divide all the progressives. In your irascible blindness and your tribalism, Bighead, you are giving the LNP exactly what they want most. I’m sure they really laugh it up when Labor devotees like you attack your allies.

  40. Kaye Lee

    It is future policies that count and Labor are doing well rolling them out and taking full advantage of the hamstrung LNP. They are the only alternate government. The Greens are the conscience of the Nation who should get better at negotiation – sometimes you have to give a little. They certainly don’t always have to agree but they need to emphasise their areas of agreement and then civilly try to find compromises where they differ. There will always be different priorities but that can’t stop progressives from working together.

  41. terry

    surely they not going to fight a election just on union bashing ? when there’s so many other issues , very good question kaye . probably share that article after you write it .

  42. Terry2

    If rogue unionists are such a problem that we need to have a Double Dissolution and an early election to get the ABCC legislation through, why is it that we have yet to see any criminal charges or convictions – correct me if I’m wrong – arising from the Heydon Royal Commission ; even Kathy Jackson still remains free of charges even though a civil court found that she had misappropriated $ 1.4 million from the HSU.

    As has been noted elsewhere all this spin about the Double Dissolution and the ABCC has completely removed the focus from tax reform, the deficit, debt and the budget ; how easily we allow the government spinners and the compliant media distract us.

  43. Bighead1883

    Miriam English March 13, 2016 at 8:08 am
    Thank you for your civil response Miriam
    I have looked back up the comments and I see clearly that ad hominem attacks were done
    My responses were in defence and that will continue
    You tell me that the LNP must be laughing at my attack on Greens and we need eachother etc-
    I call this “greensplaining”

    Since the 2013 election loss you Greens supporters have done nothing other than attack Labor
    Hundreds of articles on AIMN support this
    So politely I say to you Greens supporters ‘go take a Suppository of Wisdom” because we do not believe diNatale

  44. Bighead1883

    The whole point of this exercise is for the LNP to gain both houses and using the threat of a DD if the new “Workchoices” aren`t passed
    This is also the DD trigger LNP want for their July2 election and diNatale has agreed to pass prior July1
    Adding this to a “SHAM” voter reform has lead to open warfare
    Glass jaw Greens supporters don`t like it that finally we`ve had enough,on all social media and this weeks Senate sitting are bound to divide the Nation even more
    First reading was 6 ABL or fill all below
    Where is the reform in [1st amendment]
    6ABL [or just 1]
    12 BTL or fill out lot

    If Greens are honest then they`d join the call for 12 BTL and that`s it

    PS the GREENS own website clearly states if voting BTL all squares must be numbered otherwise your vote is informal
    But hey,show me your glass jaws please

  45. Kaye Lee


    That amendment has been agreed to I thought?

    “The report recommends, and the the government has agreed to, amend the legislation to allow optional preferential voting below the line.

    The ballot paper instructions will now state that voters must complete at least six preferences above the line, or at least 12 preferences below the line. Voters will be free to continue numbering as many preferences as they like beyond the minimum number specified.”

    The change is likely to smooth the way for the legislation to pass through Parliament with the support of the Greens and Independent Senator Nick Xenaphon

  46. Kaye Lee


    I have written previously about the ABCC and what a ridiculous choice it is for a DD trigger

    A Bunch of Complete Crap (ABCC)

  47. Bighead1883

    Kaye LeeMarch 13, 2016 at 10:27 am

    No it hasn`t and Labor plan to obfuscate via filibuster all this coming week

    Turnbull says Senate will keep sitting until passed even into the week end etc

    My source is correct

  48. Clean livin

    Florence Neefedup: correct! MSM have been hammering the point of Shorten doing nothing as a leader should.Howver Shorten spelt it out early in the peace of his opposition. 1st yr. Review policies and listen. 2nd yr, develop policies. 3rd yr announce developed policies!

    In contrast to the Abbott / Credlin government. 1st yr. trash election promises. 2nd yr. (partial, as they didn’t make the full yr) do nothing. 3rd yr. hand over toa less disliked person, white ant and divide. Nowhere is policy development mentioned, even after 8 years of opposition / government.

    Should be an interesting campaign with the Government actuallyhaving to announce policies rather than three word slogans from bogans!

  49. Kaye Lee

    You better let all the media know then bighead because they are all reporting that the amendment has been included.

  50. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee,
    That was just to shut down debate and get the wording right, as it was a Senate 2/3 Cut Off day
    It had to be in motion format so it could get jammed through in time for A DD.
    Senator Bob Day asked that it be delayed for a month to allow Department to provide Information to the Hearings that the AEC could not answer
    The AEC in fact, in the Hearings suggested seeking advice from Departments but was shut down by Rhiannon .
    A number of other Senators asked for the one month stay on the vote but thatalso was stifled by the Greens .
    The one month delay would have meant the legislation in its current form would have passed, but not in time to be include in change Malcolm needed to have it in his DD request .
    It would still be passed in time for a normal Federal Election held t the appropriate time
    This was nothing more than a Greens appeasement to Malcolm

  51. Kaye Lee

    March 2

    “The Government has considered the issues raised and the recommendation of the Joint Standing Committee to introduce a form of optional preferential voting below the line as well as above the line and has decided to adopt that recommendation,” the Prime Minister’s statement said.

    “The Government will move amendments to that effect during the Committee stages of the debate on the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016.

    “Those amendments will provide for instructions to voters to number at least 12 boxes from 1 to 12 in order of their preference when voting below the line, together with a related savings provision that any vote with at least 6 boxes numbered from 1 to 6 below the line would still be considered formal.”

  52. Bighead1883

    Kaye LeeMarch 13, 2016 at 10:47 am

    And do you personally support this as being better?

  53. Kaye Lee

    Yes I see it as an improvement. I always vote below the line and filling in over 100 boxes was a PITA.

  54. Bighead1883

    Kaye Lee March 13, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Between 97-98% of people vote above the line as Anthony Green`s figures show

    So with now 6 ABL or just 1 still counts
    and 12 BTL or at least 6 in the boxes or filling in all the squares is better IYO

    I see

  55. Kaye Lee

    Yes. It is one way to counter the power of factions. You can’t tell me that putting Joe Bullock top of the ticket was a good idea?

    Obviously if you only have to number 6 to 12 preferences below the line a lot more people will take advantage of that so they can direct their own preferences. Can you tell me why you object (assuming you do)?

  56. Bighead1883

    Kaye Lee March 13, 2016 at 11:19 am

    First let`s clear these points up

    1- Voting sheets for the Senate will be counted but the actual vote will not
    It will be placed into an envelope and put back into the ballot box which will be warehoused and counted at a later date

    2- You do not address the likelihood of the High Court into your assessment

    Assuming all goes as LNP/Greens want in this the voter education spiel is the stuff of Clark&Dawes

    You know it ain`t over and you know how much of a Senate shitfight is coming this week
    Bye now

  57. Miriam English

    Bighead, do you think having to fill out about a hundred boxes below the line was better?
    I expect that the changes to below-the-line voting will increase the number of people willing to vote below the line. That improves our democracy and increases the chances for small parties and independents.

    If agreeing with the LNP was an intrinsically evil thing to do, then how do you manage to reconcile your love for Labor with the 30% of times Labor sides with LNP versus the 6% of times Greens side with LNP?

    Please note that I’m not a member of the Greens, or of any party. My votes simply go where the Australian people benefit. That has never been to LNP. It used to be to Labor until they began approving of spying on us all, putting refugees in concentration camps, calling Wikileaks a criminal organisation, watering down anti-greenhouse gas emissions laws, blocking an independent commission into political corruption, and so on. All of that doesn’t mean I’m anti-Labor. I’m happy to recognise when they do good things, but I won’t gloss over their bad decisions. Most of my votes have gone to the Greens simply because they have made progressive choices matching what I want. When they stop doing so I will have no loyalty or allegiance to them and they’ll not deserve my vote. Until that day happens and unless a group with even better aims comes along, my primary vote ends up with the Greens, with secondary preferences to Labor and from there down to lesser parties.

    Call it “greensplaining” (whatever that means) if you wish, but please know that it looks a lot like a toddler with his fingers in his ears making a noise to block out what’s being said.

  58. Kaye Lee

    Your first objection is just a matter of logistics – it will take longer to count. You are implying there could be deliberate tampering. Surely the AEC can guard against that?

    On point 2, I am not a lawyer so you will have to elaborate.

    I also think you underestimate people if you think this is beyond comprehension.

    Is this purely about wanting more time to understand the implications? Labor should have been able to work that out by now.

    When fighting against something you should be able to say why and present a better alternative. Or would you prefer the current system stand?

  59. Kaye Lee


    Yes I was disappointed that they would not seek guidance. Obviously the rush is a political move. What do you think of the below the line option?

  60. Bighead1883

    We`ve done the round robin
    All ABL votes are “Party Votes” and will be counted how each particular wishes after you numerations are exhausted
    The Vote 1 [97-98% of the vote] above the line is not extinguished and the 1-6 create 6 preference whisperers

    Now going below the line the amendment says you can mark 6 or 12 or you can keep going and mark as many as you wish up to and including the lot

    So the reforms is a Maccas order [would you like ballot box fraud with your order]

    Yes Miriam I am concerned of ballot box fraud because it happens all the time and Transfield or G4S guarding them scares the living shit out of me because I KNOW there will be fraud

    Example of how easy this is
    If I know that 631 Senate votes came in from Leonora in WA and they`re in sealed envelopes [and I know it`s box No] what`s to stop me having a replica with my picks already inside 631 envelopes?

    In close elections they go missing entirely

    If this was fair dinkum voter reform it would have 6 BTL in a norm election or 12 in a DD
    No ABL at all
    But it`s not it`s a sham

    PS also to add if this was fair dinkum voter reform then the States gerrymander would be addressed
    Tasmania having 12 Senators to NSW having 12 is not a joke,it`s criminal

  61. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    To quote cornlegend (27/3),
    “I would like to see below the line voting with a minumum of 10 , but a formal vote as long as you number at least that, but also being a formal vote if people number more to give a wider spread of their preferences , so, if you wanted to number, 10, 20 or 60 or whatever, that would still be formal”.

  62. Bighead1883

    in General
    Why Not Proportional Representation? is hosted and maintained by the ‘Friends of Democracy’ society based in Melbourne, Australia.
    We are a collection of concerned citizens who believe that in modern times the concept of democracy has become little more than an excuse for those politicians in power to justify their actions by the mere fact that they won the last election rather than by manifesting the true beliefs and values of the Australian people

  63. JohnB

    Kaye @t 11:19 am,
    No party contributing to the Senate ATL/BTL reform has any interest in reducing internal party factional power.
    If one seriously wanted to counter the power of factions there would be no voting for a ‘party framed’ ticket ATL – and the listing order of individual candidates BTL would not be in party determined order, but in ‘random’ order as determined by AEC procedures (as apply to HOR ballot papers).

    Even with OPV 1-12 (or minimum 1-6) the donkey party vote empowers the faction in the same manner as voting for the ‘party ticket’ ATL.

    The only legislation I can find (broadly) defining Senate candidate order is here:

    This electoral amendment is only aimed at eliminating micro/minor parties from the senate.
    More/fairer choice for the electors is sugar coating.

  64. Miriam English

    Bighead, I agree that above-the-line voting should have been eliminated. It gives the big parties double the exposure and so is less democratic. But that doesn’t mean it is a sham. We are one step closer to getting more accurate elections. More people will now vote below the line. That’s a good thing; better than before. It could still be improved, but let’s not go backwards to the silly situation where most voters were scared off from below-the-line voting by the prospect of numbering 100 boxes correctly and having to vote for people they’d never heard of.

    Election fraud scares me too. One hears stories of cemeteries voting and even sheep paddocks voting, boxes of votes going missing, and so on. Election fraud has reached utterly absurd proportions in USA, to the point where nobody believes their results anymore. We really need electronic voting using encryption to prevent tampering and to allow verifiability for all voters and the media, instead of this system where everything goes on behind closed doors. I’ve been an election counting monitor and I’ve seen one or two points where numbers could be manipulated. To think that that some of the more scheming and unscrupulous of those involved would not use such weak links is ignore reality.

    And yes, the gerrymandering of districts is appalling, with high-density population centers having the same power as a small number of families in the outback. That needs to be addressed. It should be one person, one vote, with no vote worth more than any other.

  65. corvus boreus

    Bighead raises a valid point about the statistical discrepancy in senate allocations from state to state.
    In NSW we get 1 senator per 625,000, whilst the Tasmanian allocation is 1 per 41,000, equating as 15 times the influence.
    This is obviously disproportionate and manifestly unfair.
    Unfortunately, any alteration to this arrangement must involve direct change to the Constitution, which specifies that any increase in senate numbers must be applied equally across all states.
    Changing the senate allocations to reflect actual populations (true proportional representation) is a worthy ambition which I wholeheartedly support, but constitutional change is a much harder and more complicated task than simple electoral reform.

  66. diannaart


    Diannaart I`ve blogged alongside you for years and I`ll still vote Labor despite your NO THANKS

    I’m not sure what to make of your response.

    I have never tried to change your allegiance from Labor in all those years of blogging alongside each other.

    My point was simply that, due to the immediate danger the LNP represent, am I am prepared to vote Labor for the House of Representatives – no thanks to your abuse of other commentators.

    I live in a marginal seat, therefore, I like to think my vote counts – maybe there is vote rorting; we have to deal with what we have right now and that is a 2 horse race.

    We can still vote below the line to the very end of the Senate ticket – whether the LNP & Greens get their changes or not.

    I never run from a fight ever, Bighead, I might require a lot of time out but I always return, particularly when I find someone who claims to be progressive but instead, doesn’t really listen to what others say and returns a disagreement with an insult. That’s what neo-cons do.

  67. Kaye Lee

    Thankfully I am not a party so can think for myself and I have no agenda other than to have greater control over my vote without having to fill in a ridiculous number of meaningless boxes.

    I can think of no way to overcome the donkey vote phenomenon other than to try to make people care more.

    I am not so sure that minor parties will be eliminated if they only require half a quota to get in at a DD.

    I ask again, what changes would you like to see if any.

    As for the security issues, if that is the only problem then work on fixing it. Have scrutineers present. Use signatures and seals. I don’t know. Surely that can be addressed.

    I agree about the disproportionate representation – particularly when they send us people like Abetz, Nikolic and Lambie

  68. Bighead1883

    No such thing as a fence sitter
    That`s only an excuse to be something for all people and that cannot work
    People have their mind made up a lot earlier than one would care to admit about elections which is why the spin goes on relentlessly

    In the next episode we`ll explain how the Greens ran split tickets in Melbourne and Grayndler last election
    Yes last minute how to vote preference differences and to whom Greens gave preferences
    Till then bye and enjoy your “greensplaining” Kaye Lee you Greens devil you

  69. Lord Barry Bonkton

    Bighead , so Labor don’t want any Green votes anymore ? After the election you will be whining about the Greens NOT voting with Labor .

  70. Kaye Lee

    I fail to see how expressing my point of view can be called fence sitting. How can I have made up my mind when I haven’t even seen who has been preselected?

    I truly do NOT care about the past. I care about improving the future.

    You keep saying bye. Am I expected to agree or leave?

    And your “greensplaining” dismissal will not intimidate me.

  71. Miriam English

    Kaye, there is one way to overcome the donkey vote: add a “none of the above” box to formalise the no confidence vote. This means politicians won’t be able to get away with making a small vote look like a bigger one. It will go some way to stopping the petty rivalry and one-upmanship so common now and give more motivation to not pissing off the voters and actually doing what is in the people’s interest instead of what looks like the party’s interest.

  72. nurses1968

    CFMEU next,then my Union?

    Sally McManus ‏@sallymcmanus 5h5 hours ago

    Change the date for senate voting reforms by one day please @Greens Do not aid and abet the #ABCC #auspol

  73. Vote Labor

    Seems the Greens are at odds with their leader on a DD.

  74. Florence nee Fedup

    Problem with changing numbers for the senate, is that it is a state house. Aim I believe to create level playing field for each state.

    Would lead to massive constitutional change, changing nature of our system of governing.

    Maybe it should be left to the states to change the voting system in anyway, not the federal government?

    Maybe MPs should learn to work with the houses the voter delivers.

  75. Geoff Andrews

    Has he REALLY gone? Dale Carnegie could have written a whole chapter on that bloke.
    He opens up on Keerti, who was “inane” enough to note Shorten’s improved performance, opine that the environment was the most important issue in the coming election then have a dig at the LNP. Like a bloodhound with a heavy cold, he immediately sniffs out a deadly enemy – a GREENIE!
    Out comes the soapbox and megaphone and, wasting more space than he deserves, berates his political allies (except those on his “The Following Have Green Tendencies..”) hitlist with a battological Labor wish list including the whimsical “50% Renewable energy by 2030” (so there, you green bastards) and the not-so-whimsical “A Humane & Compassionate Approach to Asylum Seekers”!! For the gods’ sakes, Labor’s inability to be humane & compassionate to these people for over six years is, I suspect, the reason for the rise of the green menace.
    Bighead1883 (an unfortunate choice of nom de plume for someone skilled in applying perjorative epithets to allies) may be au fait with 16 ABL, 8 BTL and the like but appears to be unaware that when Labor gets 42% first preference votes and then 50% two party preferred, most of the difference, the potentially winning difference, comes from the Greens.
    So pull yer head in and be thankful that, despite Labor being infested with right wing ratbags, we can still vote Greens 1, Labor 2.
    Miriam and Kaye.
    Totally agree with everything you write.

  76. Florence nee Fedup

    ABCC not necessary. Might make some sense if aimed at the construction industry in full, not just the unions that serve it. What is needed is federal ICAC to deal with white collar crime which is rife among other corruption.

  77. Bighead1883

    Id answer you if your IQ was above your patheticness`Geoff Andrews

  78. JohnB

    @Kaye Lee March 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm
    “..I am not so sure that minor parties will be eliminated if they only require half a quota to get in at a DD…”
    7.7% is virtually impossible for any minor party to achieve – PUP with all Palmer’s resources applied achieved 3.4% primary in NSW & 3.7% in Vic.

    Kaye the problem for all minor parties is this:
    Most minor parties attract <2% of primary vote in a senate election.
    Only with concerted (state or national based) support including how to vote ticket distributors at each polling place can they achieve over 3%. Refer Antony Green statements at the joint senate committee.

    Excluding territories, at a normal senate election election candidates need to accumulate sufficient preferences on top of their primary vote to reach 14.4% share of the vote to achieve a quota.
    At a DD senate election election candidates need to accumulate sufficient preferences on top of their primary vote to reach 7.7% to achieve a quota.
    With the abolition of organised 'group party tickets' there is no likelihood that any minor party could achieve that target.

    The Greens in 2013 achieved (rounded) :- NSW 7.8%, Vic 10.9%, SA 7.1%, Qld 6.1%, Tas 11.7% WA (2014) 15%.
    In a DD election (if their primary votes share holds to 2013 figures) they are almost assured of one senate seat per state, plus they will be in with a good chance to win a second senate position should the major parties win 5 seats each.
    The above figures, together with the abolition of group party preference arrangements virtually eliminates the flow of a significant number of preferences to minor parties; as the senate counting method eliminates the candidate with the ‘lowest remainder’ vote at each stage of the preference count most, if not all micro/minor parties will be eliminated from contention.

    Even in a DD, it is an almost impossible ask for any minor/micro party to build a 3% primary vote to 7.7% when > 80% of electors vote ATL (even when offered a BTL OPV as in NSW).

  79. Kaye Lee

    All of those figures are based on the current system so cannot really be extrapolated to what will happen under the new rules. I agree it will be tough for smaller parties but the sixth Senator could be elected with less than a quota – there will still be preference deals done but there is also the opportunity for many more people to direct their own preferences.

    Would you prefer it left the way it is?

  80. diannaart

    Wishful thinking:

    Imagine if all seats were marginal….

  81. JohnB

    Kaye @ at 5:25 pm,
    “…All of those figures are based on the current system so cannot really be extrapolated to what will happen under the new rules”’
    Not so.
    The figures referred to re quota’s (14.4% vote/6 senators elected & 7.7% vote/12 senators elected DD) to attain a senate quota apply generally to the senate preferential election system.
    The quota levels are not changed by the proposed electoral amendments – they are set by mathematical formula.
    The above quota figures can be readily demonstrated to be correct on a spreadsheet if one cares to enter the data – as I have.

    As I have described, it will be almost impossible for any minor/micro parties to be elected under the proposed system. A party other than the 2 majors with the next higher (initial) primary vote will most likely gain the last senate quota.

    It is not a question as to whether a sixth elected senator attains a full quota, but which minor party that 6th senator represents – the Greens on (around) 10% primary vote are that party.

    No, I don’t want it left the way it is – but that is not sufficient reason to adopt this rushed through amendment that does not address well known issues.
    I want it to be fair for all – no more, no less.
    We need diversity in government or we will inevitably track towards the US reality of two corrupt corporate driven majors.

    If we are to change the system it must be done with proper care and diligence. It is a complex system with many more deficiencies than these current proposed amendments address.

    LNP/Greens have stressed the issue of giving power back to the people by abolishing inter-party ‘group voting tickets’, but what about considering the major parties undemocratic voting ticket that is empowered by each party preference vote recorded ATL?
    Why are they still allowed?
    Why is any party empowered by electoral law to redirect a citizens single vote to other/multiple candidates?

    Minor parties cannot nominate 6 to 12 candidates for senate positions and thereby benefit by handing on preferences internally to 6 or more party candidates on a party preference ticket before exhausting.

    Then we have that very significant and well known electoral advantage of a party directed preferred candidate ‘donkey’ vote BTL.
    What about addressing the party directed candidate listing order below the line – why turn a blind eye to the majors nominating their own order of candidate listing – that empowers internal factions not the elector.

    Let’s fix it, but fix it properly for all concerned – citizens, big party or small party.

    I am of the opinion that any new bill their will, on assent, be successfully challenged in the high court to eliminate ATL party based voting…and the sooner the better for our democracy.

    Please indicate where that I have written above is not factual or otherwise erroneous.

  82. Kaye Lee

    If Labor is going to oppose the Bill but agrees that there needs to be change, what is their alternative? Where are their proposed amendments?

  83. Miriam English

    JohnB, I agree with almost all you have said, but if many more people vote below the line as a result of the changes then primary and secondary votes for small parties and independents will rise dramatically.

  84. JohnB

    Sorry Miriam, it just won’t happen that way – I consider it a false hope, most people are just not interested or engaged enough in politics to ‘know’, let alone rank 6-12 senate candidates.
    It is more likely to be party ticket order, or ‘1’ followed by semi random numbers to 12.

    96% of the people voted ‘1’ above the line in 2013.
    In NSW, where we have BTL OPV, 83% voted ATL at the last election.

    Antony Green at the joint senate committee claimed that achieving 5% primary vote will be virtually impossible for any future minor party without ‘how to vote’ distribution and support at each polling place.
    His evidence derived from statistics gathered over several recent elections:
    – show 83% of electors chose to vote 1 only on ballots where optional preference was available (but not specified by the ballot instruction) Note that the vote of those who only mark ‘1’ will exhaust at the completion of the local ‘party ticket’.
    – show that at elections where the ballot instruction was to vote 1-7, compliance was approx 50%.
    Since 50% do not follow the instruction, half the electors votes will expire at the completion of the local ‘party ticket’.

    We political ‘tragics’ are a minority – in fact only 2% of electors used the BTL 100+ option last election.
    Antony Green (statistically) predicts only15% voter utilisation of below the line OPV voting,
    With no flow on of unintended/organised/fortuitous preference votes from the majors parties, minor parties will find it impossible to accumulate 14.4%/7.7% of votes to attain a ‘quota’.

  85. Kaye Lee

    I believe that testimony was before there was the 1-12 option BTL

    “The amendment makes the legislation much fairer”

    “As a rough guide, candidates would need half a quota to have a chance of election. At a DD that would mean 3-4%.”

    Antony Green

  86. JohnB

    @Kaye 7:46 pm
    “If Labor is going to oppose the Bill but agrees that there needs to be change, what is their alternative? Where are their proposed amendments?”

    The gag has been applied ruthlessly by the Greens and the Govt. – no amendments can even get to discussion stage in parliament. There are strict time limits imposed on debate – the govt have the ‘blinkers’ on – determined to get legislation through before a DD cutoff date.
    Labor do not have the numbers in parliament to have their amendments heard.

    The govts. single minded objective is to rid the senate of crossbenchers at the next election – not to provide democratically optimum legislation.

    Of course, much of what I have proposed above would not be supported by either major party, as it loosens factional control of their party and senate elections – I support proper democratisation of senate elections that offers no entrenched/embedded advantage to any individual or party grouping.

    If the Green’s were up to it they could demand such across the board fair changes as a condition of supporting senate electoral changes, but they are not.
    Their objective is selfish in my opinion – to ensure that the Greens are the only remaining minority party in the senate, and thereby wield political clout disproportionate to their 10% primary electoral support, and locking out any other minor party from coming into the senate via the ‘preference’ harvesting route they themselves traversed to gain a foothold.

    Our governance is not much improved by these proposed changes – in fact a fresh avenue for corruption is created; powerful corporations excel in exploiting those holding disproportionate power, making (secret) offers that a party (or a few influential individuals) cannot refuse or resist.

  87. diannaart

    The gag has been applied ruthlessly by the Greens and the Govt

    John – I have to pull you up here, the Greens do not have that type of power.

    You don’t like the Greens neither does the LNP – LOL

  88. Kaye Lee

    Does that mean that Labor don’t have any ideas regarding senate reform? I am asking what they are if they exist? I don’t really care about party shenanigans. I care about ideas and I have heard none from Labor in this regard – just a lot of possibly justifiable whinging. Constructive suggestions are what i want to hear…not a history of grievances.

  89. JohnB

    @diannaart March 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm
    “..the Greens do not have that type of power…”
    Well they certainly do in the Senate.

    The Greens in the senate voted with the LNP to close down debate as below:

    Hansard: SENATE Wednesday, 2 March 2016:
    BILLS- Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016
    First Reading
    “Debate resumed on the motion: That this bill may proceed without formalities and be now read a first time.
    to which the following amendment was moved:
    At the end of the motion, add, “but, may not be further proceeded with until 12 May 2016.”…..

    Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of
    the Government in the Senate) (11:19): I move:
    That the question be now put.
    Senator Wong: Mr President, I have not spoken yet.
    The PRESIDENT: No, the Leader of the Government in the Senate will always get the call if he rises to his
    feet. You know that, Senator Wong.
    Senator Wong: I have not spoken in this debate…..

    The PRESIDENT: I am sorry, but the Leader of the Government in the Senate takes precedence. The
    question is that the question be now put.
    The Senate divided [11:24]
    Abetz, E Back, CJ Bernardi, C Birmingham, SJ Brandis, GH Bushby, DC Canavan, MJ Cash, MC Colbeck, R Cormann, M, Di Natale, R Edwards, S Fawcett, DJ (teller) Fierravanti-Wells, C Fifield, MP Hanson-Young, SC
    Heffernan, W Johnston, D Lindgren, JM Ludlam, S Macdonald, ID McGrath, J McKenzie, B McKim, NJ Nash, F Parry, S Payne, MA Reynolds, L Rhiannon, L Rice, J Ruston, A Ryan, SM Scullion, NG Siewert, R Simms, RA Sinodinos, A Smith, D Waters, LJ Whish-Wilson, PS Williams, JR

    Approx 10 divisions followed on issues to gag debate or prevent amendments by the ALP – the Greens voted with the LNP each time.
    That is how they voted on the first reading – the second reading is yet to come.

    It is not that I don’t like the Greens – I don’t like what they are doing out of opportunism and self interest.
    Not that it matters, I consider my environmental attitude is ‘greener’ than most Greens – my ideas of electoral fairness are also above that of Greens.

    i stand by all my comments above.

  90. JohnB

    @Kaye Lee March 13, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Antony Green (statistically) predicted only15% voter utilisation of below the line OPV voting,
    With no flow on of unintended/organised/fortuitous preference votes from the majors parties, minor parties will find it impossible to accumulate 14.4%/7.7% of votes to attain a ‘quota’.

    Green: “As a rough guide, candidates would need half a quota to have a chance of election. At a DD that would mean 3-4%.”

    I maintain it is difficult under current arrangements to get from 3-4% to a 7.7% ‘quota’ – but with only 15% voter utilisation of 1-12 BTL voting, ATL party cards exhausting asap, and major party supporters (approx 75% of the electorate) ‘donkey’ voting BTL it will be impossible.

  91. Matters Not

    Geoff Andrews March 13, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Re Has he REALLY gone?

    While one might hope, I very much doubt it. There’s so much more ‘damage’ he can inflict on the Labor ‘brand’. He has much more to offer because he specialises in same, and has done so over a long period of time.

    Who wants to associate with … that type of invective?

    I imagine at ALP headquarters, they are desperately thinking of ways to try to ‘shut him up’. To distance themselves. After all, who really wants ‘dog shit’ on their boot?

    By the way, Swan assures me he knows lots of ‘bigheads’ and their contribution is always counter productive.

  92. Matters Not

    I`m still tweeting you

    Not surprised in the least. You are almost unrivalled re the destruction of the Labor ‘brand’. And your persistence in that destruction continues.

    While Google might be my ‘friend’, Kroger is your best mate.

    As for:

    I`m gone

    True! And ‘delivering’ at so many levels. But at the most basic level, you keep ‘promising’.

    It really is hilarious.

  93. Miriam English

    JohnB, you mentioned something earlier about below-the-line voting being prone to perversion by the big parties through the donkey vote. You suggested the below-the-line orderings should be randomised. Does that mean they are not already? (I honestly can’t remember — my brain is all taken up with crap about computer programming languages pushing out almost everything else.) They certainly should be randomised. Any psychologist knows that such choices should be randomised, otherwise the results are pretty-much worthless.

    Imagine having a multiple choice exam where the first choice was always the correct one. It would be a pretty useless exam.

  94. corvus boreus

    Miriam English,
    I am pretty sure that the order of party candidates on the senate sheet is determined by the party rather than randomised, hence controversies like when factions within WA Labor elevated Joe Bullock over Louise Pratt in the last election.
    Having said that, I personally think that the ‘donkey vote’ is much more likely to occur above rather than below the line, since it is normally a reflection of people dutifully fulfilling their minimum electoral obligation on pure autopilot function (tick & flick), rather than attempting to make any kind of informed choice regarding individual candidates.
    Incidentally, ‘donkey voting’ probably accounted for a largish proportion of David Leyonhjelm’s votes, since his bloc (Liberal Democrats) drew the coveted top-right ATL spot on the NSW ballot sheet (the donkey default square).

  95. Miriam English

    A simple way to nullify the donkey vote would be to print many different versions of the sheet, with a different ordering in each. It wouldn’t be difficult.

    You’d only need to randomise the names once, then if there are 100 boxes print 100 versions of the sheet. Each version would simply move the order down by one with the last name on the sheet being pushed off the list and moved up to become the first name. You don’t need to shuffle the sheets before handing them out; just ensure they all go out to be used.


    It would work best in a sheet where there is no above-the-line voting.

  96. JohnB

    @Miriam English March 13, 2016 at 11:24 pm
    My understanding is that senate candidates are listed in party ticket order below the line.
    The legislation I have found is quite indistinct:

    I recollect reading a specific instruction by AEC to that effect but cannot now find it.
    A quick check of previous (2013) senate ballot papers online confirms that candidates are listed in party preference ticket order.

    When/if the ATL legislation is challenged in the high court, the validity of the AEC not enforcing randomised candidate order on senate ballot papers, but instead adopting party nominated preference priority tickets, and party nominated candidate name listing order should also be challenged.

    Party grouping on senate ballot papers BTL could also be challenged – as the constitution makes no mention of the existence of political groupings.

  97. Miriam English

    Thanks corvus and JohnB.
    I’ve sent a request to the Greens asking about all these points
    — why are they rushing the changes through?
    — why have above-the-line voting at all, given it distorts the vote in favor of big parties?
    — why not completely randomise the names?
    — why not add a no-confidence box to allow those votes to be formalised and pressure politicians to behave in parliament?
    — why not reduce the requirement for below the line votes to less than 12, after all, six or even one is fine for above the line, why not for below the line?

  98. Ryan Law

    nice to see labour coming out with palatable policys
    nice article thanks
    i do have to say though greens shouldnt of got coned by libs into pulling democrats moment they should of been smart enough to know not to trust coalition.
    the issue with our voting system was the quota system that emains unchanged not the preferences even xenophons justification for changes rested mostly on quota system issues that remain unchanged

    i used to be a greens voter but not after this last batch they have some really good members sara adam scott but they picked a dodgy leader and they did deals they shouldn’t of, ill be voting exclusively for independents of which almost all the minor partys agreed to preference labour in lower house to demonstrate their displeasure, from the sex party to the night watch to the shooters party to the animal justice party they are all preferencing labour over libs, nats or greens

  99. Ryan Law

    the real reason they are changing the preference system is that 20-25% of voters voted for a micro party or independent last election which netted a grand total of 8 candidates the other 75-80% of population got 68 candidates…. yet the MSM runs storys about how un democratic it was for those 8 to get in even though they ended up with 1/2 the candidates for votes as people who voted for major partys

  100. nurses1968

    Miriam English
    If you are asking questions please ask them why they have totally ignored the requests of the CFMEU
    Australia Unions,ACTU Campaigns Director Sally McManus and others in just delaying the vote for ONE DAY if nothing else
    to protect Unionists

    Change the date for senate voting reforms by one day please @Greens Do not aid and abet the #ABCC #auspol

    Sally McManus ‏@sallymcmanus

  101. corvus boreus

    Matter Not,
    ‘I apologise for the false and potentially libelous accusations which I previously leveled against you, both the baseless public claim of you having committed a criminal offense (electoral fraud), and my subsequent vexatious complaint to authorities (AEC).
    I feel like a total fool in hindsight, and, having learned from this humiliating experience, vow to, in future, not shoot my mouth off like some overly reactive and aggressively abusive ignoramus with little understanding of either basic law or common courtesy.
    Sincerely, …’

  102. Kaye Lee

    Ricky Muir is going to move a motion calling for the suspension of debate on the Senate voting reforms so the ABCC legislation can be debated and voted on. The Coalition can’t agree because they did a deal with the Greens to clear the three Senate sitting days for this week for Senate Reform debate and vote.

    He said if the government blocks his motion, it cannot then legitimately accuse the Senate of refusing to deal with the ABCC legislation and then cite it as a trigger.


  103. Terry2

    Is that a Mexican stand-off ?

  104. Kaye Lee

    It’s pretty funny if you ask me. Would the GG have the guts to call the bluff and say there is nothing stopping you from governing, get on with it?

  105. Michael Taylor

    Ricky Muir is a quick learner. He got ‘bullied’ by the government once (over the children in detention centres), but he’s not going to let it happen again.

    He’s got balls.

  106. Kaye Lee

    In 1974, Whitlam used as one of a number of double dissolution triggers the Petroleum and Minerals Authority Bill. It had been received by the Senate on the last sitting day in December 1973 and was scheduled for debate at the next sitting day, in February 1974. Had it failed to pass? In a subsequent High Court challenge, the majority held that it had not failed to pass and was therefore not a valid double dissolution trigger. The Senate was entitled to a reasonable time in which to perform its duty with respect to bills. It was not sufficient that certain Senators had stated they would reject the bill. What was relevant was the actions of the House.

  107. Terry2

    Sounds like Ricky’s argument.

    I’ve just heard Eric Abetz and Ricky Muir on ABC Breakfast : one is an ordinary Australian trying to do the best he can to fulfill his obligations as an elected Senator ; the other is a deeply flawed ideological party hack who just wants to play politics.

    Which one do we get better value from as a Senator : a no brainer in my view

  108. Matthew Oborne

    Bill is showing the electorate that Malcolm has his willingly decided his moderate image is not as important as appeasing the far right, As a campaign against the Liberals, the Liberals have supplied everything Labor could possibly need to use against them. Three years ago they said the economy was both doing great but could do better and the contrary position of it is all about to collapse, now they want to run a campaign on union bashing and the ABCC.

    Bold is the way to go, unions also need to be bold and take the right to strike to the high court as the Liberal party continue to send union jobs overseas.

    Penny Wong was out the other day with a union group she did well but didnt mention that if you are a worker in a union industry the Libs are trying to send your jobs overseas, they would rather higher unemployment and a bad economy than unions.

    We need a fair playing field the Liberal party wont mention the real changes they want to make if they win because they can’t dishonesty is the best policy for them.

    Shorten needs to put the ABC on the agenda because balance is stifling the public right to know about public interest issues.

    The Libs will always come off worse if public interest and the public’s right to know come first with the ABC and Labor have plenty of examples of how public interest is kept off ABC.

    In the 2013 election many of Abbotts proclaimations like union officials coming to support Abbott went uncontested because the only well resourced media has it’s hands tied.

    Shorten needs to Address the ABC, we simply can not have a media too afraid to report public interest issues.

    The Liberals lied 8 times more than Labor yet reporting on it in the ABC was roughly even. Balance does not reflect reality.

    The concept of Balance as they have it now is simply put the ABC’s reporting of the news should not influence voters.

    A party that seeks to privatise healthcare and education as well as reintroduce the ABCC as well as seek taxes from those who can least afford them deserves scrutiny because it is in the public interest.

    A hospital was partly put into private hands to deliver public services in South Australia and it was a disaster, the private company ripped out as much money as it could as quickly as it could and services were discontinued at that hospital.

    we see essential services being corrupted when taken over by private companies all the time.

    Rubbish removal is a good example.

    Rubbish companies have proposed providing services well below local councils costs and taken over the rubbish collection. councils sell their equipment and take the service only to find it become massively more expensive after a few years and the council can not afford to buy the equipment again so the ratepayer gets hit with a poor council decision.

    Breaking Bad is not supposed to be an instructional series on how to pay for your own healthcare but it might as well be if health gets privatised.

    That is public interest, the libs have also floated the idea of at what point should we deny life saving measures to the elderly, I bet a lot of you missed that, it wasnt made a big issue but it will be if the Libs get back in.

    My father had a complicated surgery it was experimental and was done because he only had days to live. He lived for over a year after that, much of it doing what he loved. What price does society put on that?

    The surgeon learned a more complicated procedure, our family had more time with my Dad.

    This issue will become more apparent if the Libs win this election yet the ABC didnt persue the matter. It is clear one solution to booming health costs due to Baby boomers is to deny them treatment that will extend their lives.

    Think about it The libs set a cut off point where you no longer get anything other than end of life care would it be then argued in the future that people didnt live past 65 much as is the argument for the pension therefore 65 would become the age within a few terms, would it be expanded?

  109. diannaart

    Apologies, I misunderstood.

    You mean the Greens in league with the LNP on this occasion (senate changes) hold some power. I thought you were claiming that the Greens …. oh forget it.

  110. diannaart

    @ Matthew OborneMarch 14, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Love your suggestions for Labor – there is a plethora of issues upon which Labor can differentiate itself from the LNP.

    Of particular concern is the infiltration of and preparation for privatisation of the ABC and, most likely SBS.

    We can already perceive the so-called ‘balance’ pushed onto the ABC news reporting – balancing fact with fantasy is not journalism.

  111. nurses1968

    Tere were actually 17 divisions all shut down.

    Senator Bob May made a telling statement

    Bob Day (SA, Family First Party) Share this | Link to this | Hansard source

    Why the rush? Where was the public outcry? Where was the harm and the imminent risk to the Australian public to justify getting this legislation through in the next week? The Australian Electoral Commission appeared before the hearing. We did not get the opportunity to question the Department of Finance, because they were not permitted to attend. We asked the Australian Electoral Commission about their capacity to educate the public and what their likely success would be in educating the public in voting 1 to 6 above the line, and they could not say. In spite of prompting and saying, ‘What about the New South Wales experience?’ and asking, ‘What is the likely result? What percentage of the population are likely to vote 1 to 6 above the line?’ they could not say. But I think we all know what will happen: the majority of people, over 90 per cent, will simply put a 1 above the line—and their votes will die, make no mistake about that. Their votes will exhaust.

    I heard Senator Fawcett last night saying that people voted for him once when he lost and isn’t that the same thing? It is clearly not the same thing. It is totally different. People backing the wrong horse and the horse losing is completely different to not putting any money on a horse at all. If the person who you put a 1 alongside has no chance, your vote dies. The great feature of the Australian electoral system is that every vote is precious. We have a preferential system. If the person you vote for as number 1 is not successful, then your vote transfers to your second choice. There is an obsession with these best-on-ground performances. Look at how many first preference, best-on-ground votes Senator Muir got. He did not get very many, but so what? Senator Muir may be the best back-pocket player in the world. He may never get a best on ground or even a second best, but could get, time and time again, one point every week. Our votes all add up. Preferences all add up.

    These changes to the voting laws are a sham. The minor parties and Independents being wiped out is not going to be a consequence; it is an objective. That is the objective. The Liberals, the National, the Greens and Nick Xenophon want it for the next election—what it is looking every day more and more like a double dissolution. This Senate is supposed to be a house of review. Senator Xenophon and the Greens have regularly pontificated about the dangers of rushing debate. I have not been here all that long, but I have seen so many mistakes being made and having to be corrected. Why? Because things are rushed. My father used to say that it is more important to do something right than to do it quickly, and we should pay heed to that.

    This order is about getting the facts on the table immediately as to how this legislation was put together and, more importantly, when. When was it agreed to? What were the dates that it was agreed to and, indeed, what are the steps that have led to it being amended already by the government? It has not even passed yet and there have been amendments. I support the motion.

  112. JeffJL

    Bighead1883 needs to have his head pulled in. A right wing troll could not have done more damage to Labor than he did.

    Re Donkey votes. How about number 1 on the ticket will always go to the DGAF (or for those who do not like shortening words DNGAF) party. You will not be voting informally but you will not be putting anybody into the parliament.

  113. Miriam English


  114. JeffJL

    Do Not Give A …..

  115. Miriam English

    Ha ha. 🙂 Actually, it’s not such a bad idea. If the first box was always the box indicating a vote of no confidence it would do the job nicely.

  116. Miriam English

    I happened upon an old folder of jokes on my computer and have been sending them to a friend. I found one that I figured you folks would like. It originally featured names from USA, but I changed them to suit Australia.


    While walking down the street one day, Tony Abbott is shot by a disgruntled gun nut. His soul arrives in heaven and he is met by St Peter at the Pearly Gates.

    “Welcome to Heaven,” says St Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there’s a problem: We seldom see a conservative around these parts, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

    “No problem, just let me in; I’m a believer.” says Tony.

    “I’d like to just let you in, but I have orders from the Man Himself: He says you have to spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven. Then you must choose where you’ll live for eternity.”

    “But, I’ve already made up my mind; I want to be in Heaven.”

    “I’m sorry, but we have our rules.” And with that, St. Peter escorts him to an elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf course; the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, the temperature a perfect 22 degrees. In the distance is a beautiful clubhouse. Standing in front of it John Howard and thousands of other conservatives who had helped him out over the years… Peta Credlin, Eric Abetz, George Brandis, Joe Hockey, Cory Bernardi, Peter Dutton, Greg Hunt…. The whole of the “Right” was there… everyone laughing… happy… casually but expensively dressed. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at expense of the “suckers and peasants”.

    They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar. The Devil himself comes up to Abbott with a frosty drink,

    “Have a Margarita and relax, Tony!”

    “Uh, I can’t drink anymore, I took a pledge,” says Tony, dejectedly.

    “This is Hell, son: you can drink and eat all you want and not worry, and it just gets better from there!”

    Abbott takes the drink and finds himself liking the Devil, who he thinks is a really very friendly guy who tells funny jokes and pulls hilarious nasty pranks…kind of like a University fraternity brother with real horns. They are having such a great time that, before he realizes it, it’s time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Abbott steps on the elevator and heads upward.

    When the elevator door reopens, he is in Heaven again and St Peter is waiting for him.

    “Now it’s time to visit Heaven,” the old man says, opening the gate. So for 24 hours Abbott is made to hang out with a bunch of honest, good-natured people who enjoy each other’s company, talk about things other than money, and treat each other decently. Not a nasty prank or frat boy joke among them; no fancy country clubs and, while the food tastes great, it’s not caviar or lobster. And these people are all poor, he doesn’t see anybody he knows, and he isn’t even treated like someone special! Worst of all, to Tony, Jesus turns out to be some kind of Jewish hippie with his endless ‘peace’ and ‘do unto others’ jive.

    “Whoa,” he says uncomfortably to himself, “George Pell never prepared me for this!”

    The day done, St Peter returns and says, “Well, then, you’ve spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now choose where you want to live for eternity.”

    With suspenseful music playing softly in the background, Tony reflects for a minute, then answers, “Well, I would never have thought I’d say this — I mean, Heaven has been nice and all — but I really think I belong in Hell with my friends.”

    So Saint Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell. The doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren scorched earth covered with garbage and toxic industrial waste. He is horrified to see all of his friends, dressed in rags and chained together, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. They are groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with grime.

    The Devil comes over to Abbott and puts an arm around his shoulder.

    “I don’t understand,” stammers a shocked Tony, “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and we ate lobster and caviar… drank booze. We screwed around and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and everybody looks miserable!”

    The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly, and purrs, “Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us.”

  117. diannaart

    Nice treatment of an oldie but goodie, Miriam


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