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What a competent government would have done …

Who said there’s no difference between Labor and the LNP? I thank Henry Johnston for pointing me to this media release by Bill Shorten (on 17 March, 2019) which provides us with one glaring difference. Read on, and be the judge:

A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia’s firefighting capabilities with a national fleet of aircraft and dedicated smokejumper units to keep Australians safe from bushfires.

All Australians understand the devastating impact that bushfires have. Lives are lost, homes destroyed and communities shattered.

Our firefighters and emergency services personnel are among the best in the world, and they do a tremendous job, often putting their own lives at risk. But they need more support from government.

At the moment, Australia doesn’t have a government-owned fleet of water bombing aircraft – making us reliant on borrowing from private companies domestically and from overseas.

The bushfire season in Australia is lengthening and already overlapping with the northern hemisphere, increasing the risk that we won’t be able to access the aircraft we need at times of peril.

At the same time, the Federal Government’s contribution to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre has plummeted from 50 per cent of funding to just 23 per cent, reducing our overall firefighting capability.

The Bureau of Meteorology has identified this summer as Australia’s hottest on record, which included devastating bushfires in Victoria and Tasmania. Now is the time to invest in giving our firefighters the resources they need to keep us all safe.

Labor’s national firefighting package will deliver:

$80 million to establish the National Aerial Bushfire Fighting Fleet of aircraft

This fleet will provide standing aerial firefighting capacity that can be used on demand in emergencies.

It will include retro-fitted Black Hawk helicopters as they are phased out from active use by the Australian Army and Erickson S-64 Air-crane helicopters (or ‘Elvis’ as they are commonly known) which has a 2,650 gallon tank capable of snorkelling or scooping fresh or salt water.

It’s expected that the national fleet will include a standing capability of up to six Large or Very Large Air Tankers, and up to 12 heavy rotary wing helicopters.

The benefits of aerial firefighting are clear. Aircrafts offer speed, access and observation advantages over ground crews. Containment is more effective and the final fire burned area minimised using aerial capability, thereby reducing demand on ground crews.

Australia’s first ‘smokejumper’ units

Smokejumpers are firefighters trained to be rapidly deployed by helicopters at remote fires during the short window during which those fires can be contained.

Smokejumpers usually rappel from helicopters and use chain-saws, hoes and other dry firefighting tools to establish a containment perimeter around the fire. They then patrol the perimeter to ensure the fire does not jump containment lines while working with water-bombing aircraft to ensure the contained fire is fully extinguished.

California and other US states currently have a number of smokejumper units which have proven successful.

As part of the $80 million commitment to establish a fleet, Labor will work with the states and territories to establish smokejumper units across the country.

$21 million for the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC)

A Shorten Labor Government will stop the Federal Government’s reduction in funding for our firefighting capabilities by returning to a 50-50 funding split between the states and territories and the Commonwealth.

Labor’s investment will ease the burden on state and territory governments, develop new national programs including a national risk management model, and national research and development programs including trials of new aircraft and night firefighting activities.

Labor can pay for new firefighting aircraft the smokejumper units because we are making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes for the top end of town.

Well, at least people who receive franking credits are happy and Clive Palmer will get his mine.


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  1. New England Cocky

    Another positive Labor policy that the MSM chose to ignore, likely on the orders of the US citizen who controls so much of the Australian media. Time use a Fiji strategy; media ownership only by Fiji nationals.

  2. Phil Pryor

    People do not seem to understand policy and philosophy, nor do they react with awareness and common sense. One should read all offered policy and should check past performances, the gaps and lies and exaggerations, and, if necessary, choose the best, or best of the worst, or the least worst. It is honest and accurate to say that Australian political awareness is below average by any known standards, and cannot be otherwise, for an observance of patterns and results and personnel since 1901 shows this clearly. The weight has gone with habit, region, insolence, revenge, ignorance, pose, tradition, fear, anything but intelligent appreciation of needs. This dogshit stinking Morrison government, full of deviates, crooks, crims, cruds, careerists, petty thieves, ambitious larcenists and devoted liars, is a superstitious outfit, totally unfit to think their way out an accusation, a problem, a situation, without recourse to fascist fraud.

  3. Yes Minister

    Who said there’s no difference between Labour and the LNP? I thank Henry Johnston for pointing me to this media release by Bill Shorten (on 17 March, 2019) which provides us with one glaring difference. Read on, and be the judge:

    A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia’s firefighting capabilities with a national fleet of aircraft and dedicated smokejumper units to keep Australians safe from bushfires.

    Ahhhh, but the writer of the above has conveniently chosen to ignore one significant point. That is that Bill Shorten is a politician, and as we all know, when its a politician and its lips are moving, it is almost certainly lying.

    I’ve said as much to politicians of various persuasions and told them that if they seriously expect me to take them seriously, I expect a stat dec sufficient to have them for a whole raft of criminal offences when their lies are revealed. I’ve seen far too many instances of deliberate bullshit from all political tribes to trust any of the clowns. Doesn’t matter what colour jersey they wear. My immediate reaction is that they are full of shit and it is their responsibility to convince me otherwise.

  4. Kaye Lee

    There were many of them NEC. Even the ones that got bad publicity were the right thing to do for the country.

    Cue the IPA’s Freedom Boy Tour, the death taxes bullshit, the Kill Bill campaign, the ridiculous brainwashing that unions are bad, and the Austalian’s relentless climate change denial, and scary bears sick asylum seekers set to invade us

    Throw some dead cats on the table courtesy of Israel Folau and the oh so troubled Alan Jones…..

    Remember Michaelia Cash’s crusade to save our utes….well gee it seems the government has realised that was one screech too far, now that the election is over of course. It’s getting so that very few MPs and Senators from WA are allowed out any more.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Ahhhh, but the writer of the above has conveniently chosen to ignore one significant point. That is that Bill Shorten is a politician, and as we all know, when its a politician and its lips are moving, it is almost certainly lying.

    I have worked for three prime ministers and countless ministers over three governments. In that time I only knew of two politicians to deliberately lie: John Howard and Joe Hockey. I never worked under Abbott, so he’s not included in the short list.

    I believe Bill Shorten.

  6. Vikingduk

    From my recollections, this would not have been our first “smokejumper” unit. This proposal would have restored what we once had — a national parks and wildlife crew that existed for 20 years. One of many services gutted by our completely f#cked political class. A professional and supremely competent crew dropped into inaccessible areas to fight fires. All of that expertise gone. And with the albanese I love coal tour of FNQ, who exactly is left to address the major fly in the ointment, climate change?

  7. Carol Taylor

    Indeed, in the bitterness of hindsight we can contemplate what might have been. Whether it’s because of his denialism, or because of waiting for the Rapture or whether it’s because Morrison wanted his holy icon the Surplus protected, we are now having to suffer the consequences. Whether Shorten would or wouldn’t have lived up to his word is irrelevant, it’s the fact that the Liberal government was privy to the exact same information as Labor, yet chose to do nothing.

  8. Keitha Granville

    An excellent policy, one of many, that the bulk of the electorate chose to ignore.

    It will be fascinating to watch the PM quietly adopt some of those ideas and pretend he was always going to.

    Sadly there are still rusted on Libs who believe the bs – the Greens are to blame for preventing fuel reduction burns, Climate Change isn’t really bad, it’s a State responsibility ie it’s not our fault

    Too bloody late

  9. corvus boreus

    Even if you are cynical about how much of the ALP improved fire-response agenda would have been practically implemented (we do love a surplus), it shows a realistic awareness of the ever-escalating threats and the resultant need to increase both availability of resources and ability to co-ordinate their deployment.

    And yes, as Vikingduk has stated, the ‘smokejumpers’ are a reincarnation of thespecialised NPWS crews who used to operate as an effective form of remote area first response, before budgetary dictates forced their disbandment.

  10. Christine Farmer

    How can the government not see that instead of highly expensive submarines we need a dedicated and properly equipped force for firefighting and dealing with other disasters? However, it seems that they have so painted themselves into a corner that this is unlikely to happen. Having refused expert advice from firefighters in the autumn of last year it will be interesting, and probably horrifying, to see how they try to wriggle out of making the sort of commitment necessary to be able to cope with such future disasters.

    Until Morrison and friends admit that climate change is not something that might happen in the future but something which is happening right now, and that things are not going to return to “normal“ , I fear nothing will be done to prepare for what looks like a foretaste of our summers in the future.

    It’s not man-made terrorism which is our problem, but the terrorism of nature. If the number of people who have died in these fires had died in a terrorist attack just imagine what the response would have been.

  11. Glennis Whitney

    Also all the lies and shit from the 60 million $$$$$”s from Clive Palmer and all the shit that came out Pauline Hanson’s mouth. The imbecile never got my vote Dumb BASTARDS!!!!! That includes “Smerky Morrison”.

  12. Baby Jewels

    And today we’re told he’ll spend $20 million on hiring 4 water bombing aircraft – for the whole of Australia. Why not $60 million and get 12? Afterall, he just spent $250 million on his own comfort – his upgraded private aircraft.

  13. Wendy Tubman

    Clive Palmer will NEVER get his mine.

  14. Michael Taylor

    I certainly hope you’re right, Wendy.

  15. Glennis Whitney

    And his wife Baby Jewels she tags along everywhere he goes other PM wives didn’t all the time, only on special trips Nevr see her do anything on her own like PM’s wives are suppose to do

  16. Linda Cockburn

    The Greens have a commendable policy for bushfires too, particularly around early response units. Not that anyone would know given the extend of the Murdocracy’s ability to poison waterholes.

  17. DrakeN

    Glennis, it’s a fundamentalist religion thing that wives are not to be trusted, nor permitted, to have opinions, make statements nor even have thoughts of their own.
    They have to be little more than breeding mares attached to their sires by philosophical umbilical cords.

  18. The AIM Network

    Our apologies for the problem with the pictures – it seems as though a corrupt file is causing the problem. We are trying to fix it.

  19. totaram

    Keitha: “Sadly there are still rusted on Libs who believe the bs – the Greens are to blame for preventing fuel reduction burns, Climate Change isn’t really bad, it’s a State responsibility ie it’s not our fault”

    They are not just rusted on Libs. They are just ordinary disengaged and gullible voters, but since they are bombarded with the lies from every side 24/7, they come to believe them. That is how Labor lost the election in 2019 May, and that is how the coalition will continue to win in the future. The media ownership laws have been diluted to such an extent that the entire mass-media is now owned by the oligarchs. Stokes/Murdoch rule the roost. You even have programs on TV which subtly suggest that “Labor and the Greens will trash the economy”, without giving any evidence for that. Now “everyone knows” that “the coalition are the better economic managers” (whatever that means, but now solidified into “can produce a surplus budget”).

  20. RomeoCharlie29

    Well, that was an opportunity missed, Australia, even if you are cynical about the utterances of politicians, at least Shorten had the right words. We can all be cynical about whether they would have been followed through, but you can’t argue that he articulated the needs, and some of the solutions. When this situation calms down, if it does, there will be some big questions to answer. One of them might be how did we elect this bunch of clowns who even now are politicising it with a Liberal Party ad, when we had a real alternative.

  21. DrakeN

    No problem with them this end.

  22. Roswell

    Michael, if you’re here; I think the problem is caused by one of two things. It could be a corrupt .png file or you’ve filled up your server space. Might pay to delete a lot of the old posts if the image file isn’t resolved.

  23. Kitty

    Scott from marketing has already got the ad out. Despicable politicking.

    Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP
    We’re putting more Defence Force boots on the ground, more planes in the sky, more ships to sea, and more trucks to roll in to support the bushfire fighting effort and recovery as part of our co-ordinated response to these terrible #bushfires
    4:24 PM · Jan 4, 2020

    Let’s not forget what he said in an interview with 2GB when he was still holidaying in Hawaii.
    20 Dec 2019

    This clip is part of a Channel 7 News report that is doing the rounds on twitter.

    James W.W. Rose



  24. Michael Taylor

    Forget what Roswell said … if anybody has problems with the page, please keep refreshing and it should come right. Our web host is looking into it, but they can’t do a full review until all hands are on deck 13/1.

  25. Kittty

    Twitter storm going on about Morrison’s ad. Morrison a touch defensive and very wrong.

    Scott Morrison @ScottMorrisonMP
    It is a legal requirement in Australia to include an authorisation on all video messages used on social media by Australian MPs. The video message simply communicates the Government’s policy decisions and the actions the Government is undertaking to the public.
    11:26 PM · Jan 4, 2020

    Ben Davison @ClubeGaffer
    A government ad, not a party political ad, would be
    “Authorised by the Australian Government Canberra.”
    You made a political ad, promoting your party’s use of the powers of government, including OUR defence forces, and now you are misleading people about what you’ve done.

    Meanwhile The Chaser has made a new ad for Morrison.

    𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙲𝚑𝚊𝚜𝚎𝚛 @chaser
    Just got our hands on an updated version of that video from Scott Morrison #ScottyFromMarketing
    11:55 PM · Jan 4, 2020

  26. Bruce

    In response to Michael Taylor, i remember a Labor leader who said, “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead’. I think that Michal has conveniently forgotten that big lie.
    Want proof?

  27. Kaye Lee


    You link to a 4 second clip which conveniently leaves out the part where Gillard said “I don’t rule out the possibility of a CPRS, a market-based mechanism.”

    You also conveniently ignore the admission from Peta Credlin that it was not a “carbon tax” – that she made Abbott deliberately lie about that for purely political purposes.

    Peta Credlin admits the climate change policy under Julia Gillard’s Labor government was never a carbon tax, but the coalition used that label to stir up brutal retail politics.

    Credlin, the former chief of staff to Tony Abbott when he was prime minister and now a political commentator for Sky News, said the coalition made it a “carbon tax” and a fight about the hip pocket rather than the environment.

    “That was brutal retail politics, and it took Abbott six months to cut through and when he did cut through Gillard was gone,” she told Sky News on Sunday.

    So who were the liars?

    All experts have said that a price on carbon pollution is the best and cheapest way to achieve emissions reduction.

  28. Terence Mills

    To those who are saying that this ALP policy statement, as linked by Michael, was all hot air and political rhetoric, could those people direct me to the Coalitions’ policy statement on this issue.

    I’ve done a Google search but nothing is coming up – is it possible that the Coalition have no policy ? Surely not !

    Remember, this statement of policy was issued in March 2019 at a time when Labor were reasonably confident of a win in the May federal election.

  29. wam

    Waltz of the cuckoo, you have shown the way for albo to quietly drop hints to the autocue about scummo et al.
    My facebock had ‘onselling’ the journalist aghast that scummo’s mob are making sure gladys gets the blame with no shit on scummo.
    Good old gerard jumps to attack labor for the panic??

    Sadly god will concede that man has f.cked up and he cannot fix it by himself, so scummo et al will do the job for him to the clapping and cheering of the faithful.

    My daughter and family live in el dorado, a little town in the victorian hills. They lost power last night so no calls to save batteries for fire alerts
    The fires in KI are terrible, michael. My family has two bitumin roads out but these people have one and it may well be a dirt road.

  30. corvus boreus

    Mr Moir,
    A general state of stuck on a rock with no way off does seem to be a prominent feature of the new normal.
    Your family have my sincere best wishes for their safety and health.

  31. Vivien Kells

    Don’t think this is a time for politics. We have had the situation in Australia over many years with key bodies being state responsibilities. No one wants to give up the top job and therefore there are many fragmented policies and arrangements. I was raised on a small crop farm and experienced a bush fire which threatened our tiny school. My father burned off regularly in winter or just as rain started just to reduce dry undergrowth in order to protect the tall timber on our farm and to protect the residence and machinery sheds. Many of us put off fire proofing and over the past decade – many have been refused permission to do small scale burn offs. A stitch in time saves nine.
    Never again will the overeducated environmentalists ignore the warnings of the indigenous population and fail to burn off systematically. It is time those who raved and prevented grazing through the high country and along roadways to be silent and learn something from this tragedy.

  32. corvus boreus

    Firstly, thanks for dismissing the idea that, in terms of fire-fighting resources, it would have been better pre-prepared than scrambling to reactively procure.
    Secondly, thanks for giving us your opinions on land management based memories from your childhood, and presenting the idea that indigenous semi-nomadic fire-stick techniques can be simply and easily re-applied around situations of dense sedentary populations with deliniated property boundaries and permanent dwellings.
    Fun facts; did you know that for the last few years over 75% of all the overall area where hazard reduction burning was conducted, it was done on and by National Parks, and that the most common reasons for rejection/delays in hazard reduction permits is either unsuitable weather conditions (you know, that hot, dry wind thing) and lack of available safety-monitoring resources (eg firetrucks and attendant crews.)
    And yes, buildup of fuel load is an undeniable contributing factor to increased fire severity, as is the scientific fact that rapid increases in levels of atmospheric CO2 (+) is fast-cooking the climate of our planet.

    Ps, I suspect the real sub-textual theme of your post might have been grazing access.

  33. wam

    thanks, crow. these fires are horrific but they may make god admit man made emissions are affecting his creation and adani will be stopped or at least it will be the last.
    With luck the adelaide rain may get down to KI but we can only hope.
    ps just got a post from ‘take back australia asking ladies to put a ribbon around the letter box and to pass it on wonder what women who are not ladies are worth?

  34. Kaye Lee

    Where is everyone getting the idea that hazard reduction has been reduced? The time frame to do it is shorter but they haven’t stopped….

    The NPWS had a hazard reduction target to treat 680,000ha of parks and reserves in the five years from 2011, which the spokesperson said it had exceeded.

    Prof Ross Bradstock, the director of the centre for environmental risk management of bushfires at the University of Wollongong, who has been researching bushfires for 40 years, said “In New South Wales, hazard reduction work is governed by policies that are set by coordinating committee chaired by the Rural Fire Service. They bring together all players – with representatives from farmers, environment groups and governments.

    “Hazard reduction work has increased because of increased funding to the RFS and to national parks. There has been more carried out in recent years than in previous decades.”

  35. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    It is a factoid furphy being actively peddled by the Murdoch tabloids, the pundits on Sky, shock-jocks, and nat-rump pollies, you know, the usual line-up of presstitutes and bullshitters for hire.
    ‘I saw Barnaby say it to Bolt on SKY pub-news, then I heard it again off Jonesy on the way home, so it must be phuqqen true!’

  36. Matters Not

    It’s a Donald Trump solution to fire control. Make America Rake Again.

    Who said State Dinners aren’t educational.

  37. Kaye Lee

    That moron Andrew Laming tweeted on December 18…..

    “Love how the inner city elite wet themselves when they see some smoke blows between them and the next high rise apartment block. Perhaps next time vote for an MP that doesn’t blacklist backburning and fire prevention measures.”

    How on earth do these people keep getting elected?

  38. corvus boreus

    My sense of the ridiculous often gets ticked by the fact that some people choose to pejoratively sneer an ‘excess’ of academic learning (‘overeducated’) rather than a deficiency in practice of application (under-experienced’).
    Personally, I reckon a large mixed dose of both education and experience never hurt anyone (a deficiency in either less so).

  39. Matters Not

    Re explanation of being ‘over educated’ and the apparent consequences. Dr Lamming is/was a medico.

    What you have to ‘believe’ (or at least) ‘espouse’ to get re-elected. One wonders where he does the least harm.

  40. Michael Taylor

    Sometimes I think I’m over-educated. Two degrees (one with honours) and a diploma … and I run a blog site. 😀

  41. corvus boreus

    Matters Not,
    I admit to finding Mr Lamming something of a paradox.
    His educational pedigree is more than impressive and, in a politician, also seems to have spent some actual time on the ground in both professional and voluntary capacities (even scouring for landmines) before going into politics.
    I remember him both as the backbencher who spoke up against Tony Abbott amalgamating the science portfolio, decrying ‘We have a minister for sports but not one for science!’ (admittedly, this was possibly a protest against a thwarted portfolio ambition) .
    I also remember him as the dickhead who fronted the cameras and popped a Coca-Cola ((C)TM [*disclaimer; contains neither]), seemingly somehow thinking that he was opening a serious can of ‘whup-ass’ over the scientific notion that carbon-dioxide could ever be harmful to health
    A lesson in the dangers of dubious associations?

  42. corvus boreus

    Me am only got trade tickets but is happy to keep learn ( 😉 ).

  43. Kaye Lee

    I remember Laming, when he was the coalition’s Indigenous health spokesperson, tweeting

    “Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?”

    When he realised that may have been inappropriate after getting hammered, he tweeted: “To clarify: Working together to resolve these riots the priority. Training and a chance for jobs are key.”

    He also poured shipping oil on himself in parliament

    He turned up to an Australia Day party, uninvited, with a tray of lamingtons and proceeded to chug-a-lug a beer while doing a handstand.

    He also sent out a brochure with a pic of partiers….except one was exposing himself. He “recalled” them aplogising that no-one had noticed.

    Bowman MP Andrew Laming apologises for lewd picture mistakenly included on brochure from australia

    Plus he was having facebook wars with me during question time once. I said shouldn’t you be paying attention. He replied immediately that there was nothing in the standing orders against use of electronic devices or social media during question time.

    Imagine if we took away their toys and didn’t hand out questions. Imagine if they had to think of something to ask and then pay attention with nothing to do but listen.

    With a test at the end on which their pay will be based.

  44. corvus boreus

    As I said, possible consequences of highly dubious associations.
    Apart from the standard temptations to ethical/factual corruption that accompanies career politics, anecdotal recount from a friend who used to scrub the troughs at Capital Hill is that lunchtime beers and chasers with the boys at the bar is often followed up with shots of baking-soda in the bathroom.
    Indulging in those sort of things will tend to skew both mental faculties and moral compass rather quickly.
    There are sound underlying reasons why I repeatedly express a desire for our elected representatives to be mandatorily tested for a range of intoxicants before they speak or vote on our behalf,

  45. Matters Not


    nothing to do but listen

    Why listen? For the vast bulk of the time, backbenchers are there to vote when and as instructed. (Ministers too.) It’s all predetermined long before the speeches on the floor of Parliament are made. If there’s any serious voting to be done, then that takes place in the party room. Even then, it’s the factional leaders who decide what ‘gets up’ and what doesn’t. The notion that they speak on our behalf is so yesterday. Just a traditional hangover that sustains an illusion.

    If a genuine effective/efficiency Review was undertaken re Parliament and how it operates, suggested improvements etc then the outcome/recommendations would be devastation. But it’s not going to happen. Ever!

    Far too many people actually believe that we have : government of the people, by the people, for the people – and we even teach it in schools. Often with a straight face. Hilarious.

  46. corvus boreus

    William Moir,
    Corvus try speak simple truthy.
    Corvus not Green but corvus ‘greenie’.
    Corvus have have big interest applied ecology, less so stoopid hooman branded poly-ticking.
    Adani not much big corvus focus coz corvus be bit territorial parochial and not Queensland breed.
    Thus corvus much more angry attack Whitehaven before Carmichael.
    Corvus be happy last year people Gloucester get court judge say ‘PHUQ YOU’ to big new grey hole in Manning valley.
    This not be coz corvus hate people have jobs but coz corvus know people dig-burn much more coal then climate sure go kaput
    If climate go kaput make biosphere unravel, then droves/all people sure die.
    Corvus out.

  47. Wok On

    I always chuckle when I come across a sky news article, and that’s before I even read it. Usually only 1 paragraph at most in length. Could this be so as not to confuse their avid readers?

  48. Lambchop Simnel

    A bit like Corvus, I am.
    A bit greenie and not amused when some in Labor find ecology worthy only of dismissal. Labor is light years in front of the tories on these things, but expediency can overrule scientific fact when certain factors come into play involving donations etc.
    Hence, I like many folk will vote strategically, for either Greens or Labor depending on how I read circumstances.
    Me honest Injun, too.
    “Reservations for Indians”, I have discovered the binary involving economics and ecology is a false dichotomy. I have no doubt I will vote on fact and reason, not outdated loyalties or froth and bubble publicity gimmicks replacing fact based policy.

  49. Matters Not

    A good article on the health of our democracy (or otherwise).

    The biggest single problem facing Australia today is the fact that two major political parties have taken a stranglehold on our system of representative democracy .
    In the process they have turned politics into a career, making it no longer representative of the community at large, nor responsive to its needs and wishes. Our biggest challenge is to work out how to break that stranglehold. …
    One chance to vote, on one major policy, every three years. How antiquated is that in this age of sophisticated communication technology?

    RAY BRICKNELL. Australia’s Broken System of No-Longer-Representative Democracy

    Yep one chance to vote for a new Dictatorship every three years. It’s a miracle that we accept there’s no need for structural change.

  50. Kaye Lee

    “Political parties as they have developed over the last century seem like two mafia families seeking control of the public purse for distribution to themselves, supporters, the special interests who fund them and for buying votes at the next election. Political parties are not mentioned in the Constitution. They are effectively unregulated private organisations but they now control government treasuries.
    When they unite with common interests, for example funding themselves, the public are mostly powerless except on the rare occasions when public outrage is too great.” – Ted Mack, Henry Parkes Oration 2013

  51. Vivien Kells

    I agree that the 2 party policy is a little akin to the two debating teams at a Private School. Politics can make very strange bedfellows and alliances. It would seem that nothing changes too much from election to election. When we do have those with good intentions they are harassed out of office if they don’t dance to the tune of the “party”. More independents may help, but have seen some cave in their ideals to gain one item on their wannado list.
    A few changes with the electoral commission and rules of engagement would change the status quo.
    1. Full disclosure of employment history 2. Full disclosure of finances 3. Quarterly publication within their electorate of all expenses incurred. 4. No pension if employed when leaving parliament. 5. Pension rules apply to all citizens equally.

  52. Vivien Kells

    a little more appropriate than my previous comment….

  53. Kaye Lee

    Further from the same address….

    “Over the last 30 years politicians’ staff has increased dramatically. At federal level there are now some 17 hundred personal staff to ministers and members. The states probably account for over two thousand more. Add to this the direct political infiltration of federal-state public services and quangos with hundreds more jobs for the boys and girls, there is now a well-established political class.

    This has provided the political parties with a career path for members. In many cases it often produces skilled, partisan, “whatever it takes” warriors with a richly rewarded life through local state and federal governments to a well-funded retirement. Unfortunately while this career path, as Tony Fitzgerald states, does include principled well-motivated people … it also attracts professional politicians with little or no general life experience and unscrupulous opportunists, unburdened by ethics, who obsessively pursue power, money or both.

    As things stand Australian democracy consists of voting in a rigged system every few years to elect others to make decisions for us. The voters mostly know little or nothing about most candidates after the “faceless men” and “branch stackers” have had their way. We are rarely permitted to have any say on policies. Cabinet ministers, premiers and prime ministers come and go without reference to us. We go to war and sign treaties without even our parliament having a say let alone the public. When the major parties agree, as they do when funding themselves, and their mutual friends, we have no say whatsoever. It is a pretty minimalist democracy and a long way from Abraham Lincoln’s Government of the people, BY the people, for the people. We seem to have achieved “Government of the people by the powerbrokers, for the mates”.”

    That is what a good man, a thinker who also happened to be a decent politician, sounds like.

  54. Matters Not

    Yes calls for an arousal from slumber are not new. But we just sleep on. Of course there’s the odd protest or two but there’s no demand for a structural mechanism to effect change in our so-called representative democracy – even when we have the technology to move more towards a participatory democracy.

    And we know that the wider community is usually far ahead of parliament. Marriage Equality for example.

  55. Matters Not

    Re Mack’s citation of Tony Fitzgerald:

    unscrupulous opportunists, unburdened by ethics

    Yet any attempt to delve into different types of ‘ethical systems’ causes much perturbation (as I know from recent experience on this site.) Everyone knows there’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and for some there’s also the complication of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ but any conflicts within as manifest in ‘intention’ versus ‘outcome’ seems like a bridge too far.

    But I suppose we get the politicians we deserve.

  56. Pingback: PM, thy name is hypocrisy. | getupsolomon

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