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Why the Greens did what they did

The Greens have come under heavy criticism after they voted with the Coalition to gag debate on the bill to legalise same-sex marriage – something they have previously backed.

Amid that criticism – notably (and understandably) from Labor supporters – there was also disappointment from within the ranks of Greens voters themselves.

AIMN reader Jane Salmon did the only sensible thing to do and wrote to Greens senators Scott Ludlam, Richard Di Natale, Lee Rhiannon, Sarah Hanson-Young, Rachel Siewert, Janet Rice, Larissa Waters as well as Adam Bandt with a ‘please explain’ and expressing that this gag was damaging the Greens brand.

Jane has received two responses which explain the motive behind their actions (or inaction – depending on which side of the political fence you sit). Given the criticism the Greens have received (from The AIMN included), in the pursuit of balance it is only fair that we consider both sides of the argument. As such, Jane has given us permission to publish those responses.

 

From the Office of Senator Richard Di Natale

Hi Jane,

Thank you for contacting Senator Di Natale, and for your support of the Greens previous elections.

Yesterday the Senate was full of cynical game playing. It was truly politics at its worst.

The Australian Greens are proud of their record on supporting marriage equality. No party has fought harder or longer for marriage equality than the Greens. We have always supported it – every vote, every time.

The vote on Tuesday 15 March was not a vote on marriage equality. Instead, it was a procedural vote, designed to replace Senate voting reform with debating marriage equality. To be clear, the Labor Party is being deceitful when it says we voted against marriage equality. That would never happen. We voted against their trick, and their plan is to make us look bad.

The Greens are pleased to have arranged to bring marriage equality to a debate, and hopefully a vote, in the Senate during private senator’s time on Thursday 17 March. This means that the Australian Parliament can deal with both marriage equality and Senate voting reform this week. It has been really disappointing to see the issue of marriage equality being exploited as a political stunt to try and derail important democratic reform.

Every Greens MP and senator in the parliament will vote for marriage equality, as we always have in the past.

And just to be clear – no one wants to see the Liberals out of Government more than the Greens.

The Greens provided crucial votes against Abbott’s most cruel and callous budget measures, votes which ensured the majority of Abbott’s ruthless measures were not passed. We will be campaigning tirelessly across the country to ensure all of our Senators who are up for re-election are retained, so we can continue to be the voice of reason, compassion and equality in the Australian parliament – and to keep the Senate safe.

The Greens have consistently voted against the government in the Senate, more so than any other party or independent:

Party/Independent Voted with the Government
ALP 38%
GREENS 6%
DAY 75%
LEYONHJELM 65%
WANG* (PUP) 55%
MUIR 52%
MADIGAN 42%
LAZARUS (IND) 13%
LAZARUS (PUP) 32%
XENOPHON 29%
LAMBIE (IND) 18%
LAMBIE (PUP) 53%

I hope this helps explain what took place yesterday, and clears up any concerns. We will continue to fight for marriage equality – and we’ll keep fighting for equality until discrimination has been removed from our laws.

If you’d like to chat further about these issues, please let us know. We don’t want to lose your support.

Kind regards,

Neneh Darwin | Community Liaison

Office of Senator Richard Di Natale

Leader of the Australian Greens | Senator for Victoria

 

From the Office of Senator Larissa Waters

Dear Jane,

Thank you for contacting Senator Waters, who asked me to respond on her behalf.

Yesterday the crossbench tried to bring on Marriage Equality & Coal Seam Gas as tactics to slow down Senate Voting Reform. We are not going to be derailed by “tricky little political tactics” (to quote Richard on Radio National yesterday morning).

No party has fought harder or longer for marriage equality than the Greens. What we voted on yesterday was a procedural motion that sought to prevent us from debating Senate Voting Reform. We did not vote down a Marriage Equality Bill. The Greens were able to work constructively with the ALP to ensure that marriage equality will be debated during private senator’s time on Thursday. Greens and Democrats Senators were the only parliamentarians who spoke against John Howard’s laws which defined marriage as between a man and a woman in 2004. Since then, every time the issue of marriage equality has come up in parliament, every Greens MP has voted in favour.

With regard to coal seam gas Senator Lazarus tried to wedge the Greens by a complicated Senate tactic. (Effectively piggybacking a bill about CSG onto the motion to bring forward the extreme anti-worker ABCC legislation that we don’t support) So of course we couldn’t support that. As with marriage equality what we voted on was a procedural motion that sought to prevent us from debating Senate Voting Reform.

Kind regards,

Catherine Garner

Office of Senator Larissa Waters

Co-Deputy Leader Australian Greens, Australian Greens Senator for Queensland

 

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84 comments

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  1. Lee

    Thank you. If the ridiculous lies are any indication, the ALP is getting desperate. They need less time spent on lies and politicians’ clothing and more time spent on policies that will benefit us as a society.

  2. Gangey1959

    Why don’t they ALL just vote against the government on EVERYTHING up and until the election is called, including the budget, with the exception of SSM, and let turdbullshitartist et al stew in their own juices.
    Changing the Senate Voting won’t hurt the Greens. Not at this point anyway.

    PS. BIG STORY. The unemployment figures have fallen by 0.2%. (300 positions) I guess the IPA have just hired 300 more dickheads to market their filth to the gullible.

  3. Lee

    And the ALP has voted with the LNP against a vote on marriage equality.

  4. Keitha Granville

    my problem is with the Senate Voting Reform. The Greens have effectively ensured that no small party – like theirs – will EVER have a chance with the new rules. If they would remove 1 above the line as a valid vote – ie you have to choose at least 6 – then it would be better and definitely the voter’s preference choice. By leaving 1 in the party box, we are giving away our preference choice to the party.
    As far as Marriage Equality Bill – 1 day to debate it ?? You have to be kidding.

  5. Michael Taylor

    There has been a lot of ill feeling between Labor and Greens voters. I hate seeing it. I really do. Perhaps if the voters could be a bit more united it might flow up into the parties themselves. I know . . . it’s just a pipe-dream.

  6. Wally

    Richard Di Natale claims “Labor Party is being deceitful” but Larissa Waters claims the opposite “The Greens were able to work constructively with the ALP”.

    Politicians would claim to turn shit into clay if they thought the public would believe them.

  7. Terry2

    I am still deeply uncomfortable that the Greens have supported, without question, the coalition on senate voting reform : couple that with Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger in Victoria talking about a ‘loose coalition’ with the Greens.

    Make no mistake the Liberals are talking this up for their own purposes and they have no love for the Greens and would be delighted to see them lose senate seats in the coming, confected DD election.

    No matter how the Greens try to present this to the electorate they have made a mistake and the coalition will use it to hurt them once the vote is over.

  8. Kaye Lee

    I so agree Michael. No-one is blameless in this debacle in playing political tactics. For any of them, Greens included, to claim otherwise is laughable. They are arguing about the order in which they will debate bills – one grouping wants to improve their Senate representation, one grouping wants marriage equality high in the news headlines, one grouping wants the ABCC legislation brought on to avoid a DD and another so it can be a trigger for a DD and yet another wants it avoided altogether. Then we have the bonus of another grouping linking totally unrelated topics so you can’t vote yes.

    FFS you lot. get over yourselves. It is damn obvious what the lot of you are doing. What’s so hard? This has been a strategy led by the Coalition and everyone else has allowed themselves to be stooged into fighting and division. Exactly what Kroger set out to achieve. get out of the press and f*cking well talk to each other if you want this government gone!

  9. Lee

    “The Greens have effectively ensured that no small party – like theirs – will EVER have a chance with the new rules.”

    The Greens will still have representatives. What they want to stop – and quite rightly so – are the obscure minorities.

    Yesterday in NSW, the Shooters & Fishers and Fred Nile’s mob voted with the LNP to stop protesting against mines. Now protesters face up to 7 years imprisonment, while the penalty for illegal mining has been reduced from $1.1 million to $5000. The Shooters got gun silencers in return for their vote. I’ve yet to find out what the Christian Democrats got. If anyone knows, please share. Ironically, the outspoken pro-lifer Fred Nile led a protest rally earlier in the day, where he claimed to be supporting farmers’ democratic right to protest, then he voted against them later, and voted to put gun silencers in the hands of illegal hunters. How long before a farmer or a bushwalker dies because they can’t hear guns being used nearby? These minorities are willing to screw over large numbers of people in order to get their own desired non-essential benefits for only a small number of people. It is not a democratic process when someone can be elected on a mere handful of primary votes.

    Scott Ludlam has a good speech on Senate voting reform here. http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/speeches-parliament/reforming-senate-voting

  10. Hugh Jurgen

    I’m sick of party politics – how about having a senate made up entirely of independents chosen by a ballot similar to selecting a jury. That way we might have a decent chance of some adult behaviour and good governance.

  11. Matters Not

    I’m with Michael Taylor. Part of he problem is that both parties are chasing an overlapping demographic. And then there’s ‘Party’ considerations. Not a lot of ‘leadership’ but plenty of ‘point scoring’.

    The again maybe Di Natale was ‘sold a pup’. Would love to see the figures and reasoning behind the ALP claims. Plenty of words but a lack of ‘evidence’. Was Gary Gray ‘sold a pup’ as well?

    Too much heat and not enough light. Where’s Antony Green? (Forgot; he doesn’t do politics).

  12. Vote Labor

    Hugh,

    Are you kidding? That would simply magnify the problem.

  13. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Good to see that the offices of Richard Di Natale and Larissa Waters responded to Jane’s concerns so quickly and with respectful explanation of why the Greens acted as they did on the marriage equality debate.

    Unfortunately however, the Greens’ position on Senate Reform has allowed doubts about their political agenda to seep in even though I agree Labor has been guilty of voting with the degenerate LNPees far more often.

    I think the Greens would save a lot of face if they raised their voices and were seen to be backing the Senate Reforms to be applied to choosing between the below-the-line options of all boxes ticked or 12 best preferences ticked. This way the Greens would not be seen to be backing the LNPees while attempting to shut micro parties out.

    Again Terry2 has hit the nail on the head @12.49.

  14. Backyard Bob

    Great post. I’d like to thank Jane Salmon for her efforts and commend AIMN for this piece. This is journalism. I agree that the political bickering has been unfortunate but I suppose we must consider the significance of the politics in play, and the tensions that go with it. For many these Senate reforms are a life and death scenario. I’m not surprised there’s so much “politicking” going on. I’m also mindful of the fact that many of those in this Senate are still relatively inexperienced and this current set of dynamics must be quite a challenge for them.

    Let’s face it, most of us are having trouble getting our heads around it all. For example, when Terry2 says, “I am still deeply uncomfortable that the Greens have supported, without question, the coalition on senate voting reform[..]” – I’m quite at a loss as to how much truth there actually is in such a statement.

  15. Mick

    Divide and conquer, the LNP have been doing it for years. The only 2 parties that can oppose the government are instead scratching each others eyes out, shame on all of you. Kroger has got a cigar in each hand!

  16. billshaw2013

    I see it as a problem with both the ALP and the Greens in not being honest and upfront with each other. It would have been nice to see them collaborate on the voting reforms and come to a sensible conclusion to suit both.

  17. jim

    Are the LNP still working on their own policies that will maybe be of use to us all ?, don’t hold your breath.Alp does have Policies right Now http://www.alp.org.au/positive_policies/ A report on New Scientist has stated that Right Wing (Liberal party ) governments DO increase the Suicide rate by as much as 40% https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2817-right-wing-governments-increase-suicide-rates/ Right-wing governments may sap some people’s will to live and result in more suicides, conclude studies in Britain and Australia.

    The researchers speculate that losers are more likely to kill themselves in the individualistic, “winner-takes-all” societies favoured by right wing governments, because they are left to fend for themselves. Wide disparities in wealth also sharpen any sense of hopelessness, the researchers argue. Cheers.

  18. diannaart

    Hopefully the Greens have learnt that a deal with the LNP is never one of parity, I understand what they were trying to do…. and now look what’s happened; policies nested within policies giving no choice of a fair vote by the House of Representatives.

    I thought the responses to Jane’s letters most edifying – I have yet to receive a letter from either the LNP or Labor that wasn’t a waste of space devoted to party rhetoric.

    …and oh my golly gosh, what could be further evidence than Jane’s letters being constructed by independent thought, instead of by robots, than the (apparent) contradictory:

    Richard Di Natale claims “Labor Party is being deceitful” but Larissa Waters claims the opposite “The Greens were able to work constructively with the ALP”

    I do believe they are both right – the Labor Party was being deceitful by piggybacking issues – leaving only Hobson’s choice. Larissa was right because there have been enlightened times where the Greens and Labor worked together.

  19. Lee

    “Let’s face it, most of us are having trouble getting our heads around it all. For example, when Terry2 says, “I am still deeply uncomfortable that the Greens have supported, without question, the coalition on senate voting reform[..]” – I’m quite at a loss as to how much truth there actually is in such a statement.”

    Instead of believing all the crap in the MSM, Terry2 could actually go to the Greens website and see for himself that the Greens have been wanting voting reform for over 10 years. As Scott Ludlam said yesterday, “I want to acknowledge, 12 years ago, Senator Brown moved, on behalf of the Australian Greens in this place, the first bill for a reform similar to that that we are debating today.”. Instead Terry2 has chosen to believe Greens opponents, seemingly without question!

  20. astra5

    What this unseemly debate illustrates is that self interest always trumps the common good. Political parties, even the Greens, are susceptible. It is a sad indictment of our political system. Sadly, we cannot expect it to improve. Self interest reigns supreme. Idealism languishes.

  21. Lee

    @ astra5

    The Greens have admitted that senate voting reform will result in them having less Senators elected, so they can hardly be accused of serving self interest.

    Here’s a novel idea. Instead of crying that voting reforms will give the Liberals greater control, how about the other politicians and parties focus more on being worthy of our votes, instead of blaming the Greens for their own inadequacies?

  22. Gangey1959

    How on earth can a minor party having fewer seats in the Senate be in Australia’s best interests?
    In the words of the great K Kristoffersson re holding hands with the Devil
    “You’d better count your fingers when She turns loose from your hand, cos your just a game she’s playin’ any way that she can win………”
    DiNatale et al has just managed to screw himself, and us, where the Ballarat bishops like to play.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Why doesn’t the AEC concentrate on a voter education campaign showing all voters how ensure their vote is valid and how to control their own preferences

  24. JohnB

  25. nurses1968

    I think this conveniently skips the point .
    The dirty deed they intend to do, as all the Unions and others have asked is for them to delay their vote by one day so as not to pander to Malcolm
    “The government and the Greens on Tuesday will use their combined majority to defeat a push by Senator Ricky Muir to have the Senate immediately debate and vote on the ABCC bill.

    ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said on Monday that a post double-dissolution joint sitting of federal Parliament would give a re-elected Turnbull government the opportunity to pass the ABCC bill and other laws that “radically attack workers’ rights”.
    Mr Oliver said unions were “deeply concerned” about the timing of the Liberal-Green proposals to change how senators are elected and “their potential to open the door to a raft of anti-worker legislation.”

    “Malcolm Turnbull is using this deal to try and railroad crossbench senators into supporting anti-worker legislation – such as the return of the ABCC – by directly threatening their seats in parliament.”‘ he said.

    “Not to mention the damage that could be inflicted by a post double-dissolution joint sitting giving the Liberals the opportunity to radically attack workers’ rights.
    “The Greens need to think long and hard about their action and decide whether the lure of picking up a couple extra seats in parliament is worth the price millions of working Australians may be left paying,” he said.”

  26. Sir ScotchMistery

    @ Hugh Jurgen,

    A song I have been singing for yonks, but no one listens. The usual “reason” not to do it, is noting gets done, but the response has to be to point out that the hung Gillard house passed well over 500 pieces of legislation during her term. Under Abbott, there were someting like 20 pieces passed, mostly because the minors held out on matters of importance.

    Some day we need to grow the hell up, and realise that 2 parties is just us being screwed both ways.

  27. Kaye Lee

    nurses1968,

    What a very strange thing for Dave Oliver to say. He seems to feel that if an election was held in July the Coalition would get an outright majority in both houses. That sounds horribly defeatist to me.

  28. Lee

    “Why doesn’t the AEC concentrate on a voter education campaign showing all voters how ensure their vote is valid and how to control their own preferences”

    The information on ensuring a vote is valid is available in the lead up to every election and is explained to voters at every polling booth. If people cannot manage to lodge a valid vote with the information that is available then they’re too damned stupid to have the right of voting.

    The information on how voting for the Senate works is readily available on the AEC website and I’ve found they quickly respond to questions too.

    The AEC also advertises in the media and sends letters to voters informing them that sample ballot papers are available on the AEC website, so that people can be prepared to vote before they arrive at a polling booth.

    Personally, I don’t see the point of how to vote cards. Apparently, a large percentage of people (I cannot remember the exact figure) don’t make up their mind who they are going to vote for before they get to the polling booth. Everyone I know who admits to voting above the line says they do it because they can’t be bothered taking the time to number all the boxes. So they would rather elect a numpty for 6 years who can do all sorts of damage rather than spend 5 minutes and count to approximately 100. With such widespread disinterest in their own futures, why waste money on a voter education campaign?

  29. Kaye Lee

    I agree Lee but these proposed changes will make a difference which people should understand. Also this last Senate has drawn more attention than most. People might decide to have more say this time (she says hopefully). All schools and tertiary institutions should be actively encouraging any eligible young people to enrol.

  30. nurses1968

    Kaye
    It isn’t just Dave Oliver speaking out, Sally Mcmanus, Ged Kearney from the ACTU, the CFMEU plus other Unions have opposed the Greens actions and asked for a delay of ONE DAY with the vote, to protect workers.
    Greens won’t play ball, they owe Malcolm
    ally McManus ‏@sallymcmanus Mar 13
    ACTU Vice-President and Campaign Director

    I’m feeling like the @Greens are still in denial about all the problems they have caused @unionsaustralia. #ABCC #auspo

    Ged Kearney
    ‏@GedKACTU
    Australian Unions ‏@unionsaustralia Mar 15

    The @Greens might think we’re playing politics, but stopping the #ABCC is personal. Very personal.

    CFMEU Retweeted
    ODDemocracy AU ‏@OddemocracyA Mar 2

    Greens supporters have also been deluging elected representatives with warnings against doing a deal with the… http://fb.me/4rW80GuCv

  31. Jaquix

    I would like to see the Senate have more Independents, wishful thinking I know but why couldnt they have, say, a 10% quota. I also hate seeing the Greens and Labor sniping at each other, when basically they are on the same side. They should be collaborating more, to present a more united front.

  32. Backyard Bob

    Like my Grandma used to say, “It’s all fun and games till someone loses a preference.”

  33. Kaye Lee

    I know all the union leaders and Labor have been saying that and I don’t understand why. To get the ABCC through the Senate, the Coalition would have to have a majority in their own right because Labor and the Greens oppose it. I know it might depend on other cross benchers as in the current Senate but from what I gather, most of them oppose it too. As things stand, Labor and the Greens have 35 Senate seats, the Coalition 33, and eight minors/independents. The Coalition would not only have to win the HoR but would have to pick up 5-6 Senate seats to have any green light on legislation. I don’t see that happening and I don’t understand why they are saying it will.

  34. Robert

    Kiss and make up guys and girls… don’t play the coalition game

  35. Miriam English

    JohnB, Conroy comes off as a completely insincere doofus in that video. It reminds me of how well informed and on the ball he was when he made his “portal” blunder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gl7X6peh-w) which set tech-heads howling with laughter. He obviously didn’t know what he was talking about then, but was just trying to look good. The same appears true now. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but is trying to look good spouting fake outrage.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Conroy is heavily involved in factional stuff. I think his passion often outweighs his argument. If they don’t address the ABCC legislation this week then it will have to be debated in the May sitting. If they want a DD they have to bring the budget forward to May 3. If supply isn’t passed until May 12 (2 days after the budget is supposed to be announced) they can’t do it. Why all the fuss? Just do that. Scott Morrison said in parliament that the budget will be delivered on May 10. The budget announcement is supposed to be Monday night, they only have to last through Tuesday, then pass supply on Wednesday morning – no DD possible.

  37. Keith

    It is my understanding that the proposal for voting reform means that voters can vote beneath the line without numbering each candidate. I believe that should the Bill get through; then, voters will only need to vote for 12 candidates below the line. Usually only 6 Senators per State get elected, so candidates other than from the major Parties still get a chance.

    Ricky Muir kept on being picked on, but what had been lost was that Michaela Cash received less votes than Ricky Muir at the last election.
    Once Ricky Muir settled in, he made more sense than Cash.

    That the LNP had so much trouble with the current Senate is more about their inept negotiation skills.

  38. Kaye Lee

    As for recalling parliament early, I would imagine they should employ the practice they impose on business. If change is to occur to an employee’s regular roster or ordinary hours of work, employers are to genuinely consult with the affected employee prior to that change being implemented allowing sufficient time for the affected employee to consider the proposed changes and raise any concerns. That could make May 3 problematic.

  39. Kaye Lee

    If they don’t call a DD then they can debate all these Bills in a “methodical, careful manner considering all the consequences” like any good government would….right? Hell, they might even have time to come up with some policies.

  40. Korstraw

    The number of times one votes with the government means nothing. It only takes one wrong vote to do the ‘damage’. To me the issue is not whether we need voting ‘reforms’, but the process by which this situation has come about. There should be no changes to voting rules in an election year. No political party should tell me how the rules should work (and I don’t care which flavour the party is) without my express involvement. This hasn’t happened. Proposals should be put to the electorate to consider, at least one electoral cycle (if not two) in advance of any implemented changes (a binding referendum perhaps, no plebiscites thanks). I also wonder where the AEC sits with this, surely they should have a role to play? In theory their job is to look after us, not the bloody politicians interests. This is too important (and divisive) to be left to political parties to decide between themselves how my/our voting ‘rules’ should work.
    http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/AEC_Services/

  41. Brad

    The first act of any decent politician in Australia, regardless of persuasion, should be to rid the joint of the influence of the extremists in the IPA led LNP so that THE PRESSING ISSUE of Climate Change can be dealt with! Every other issue is a side one until we’ve got the joint on track to a safer future for the kids and the planet. What’s marriage equality when the next generations may not be able to enjoy it?
    While Rome burns the the greens and the labor party engage in petty power play. FF SAKE! GET TOGETHER TO SORT OUT how to get bi partisanship in the country so that we can work out WHAT THE F..K WE ARE GOING TO DO ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING!

  42. JohnB

    @Miriam English March 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm
    Conroy is not my favourite politician either, as Kaye says he is a heavy in the factions – but lets not ‘play the man’.

    I can find no factual fault with what was said.
    You say “…He doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but is trying to look good spouting fake outrage…”

    Which part/issue of his ‘argument’ presented do you contest?

  43. Backyard Bob

    Korstraw,

    I also wonder where the AEC sits with this, surely they should have a role to play? In theory their job is to look after us, not the bloody politicians interests.

    Did you read your own link to the AEC? They are not a lobby group. They are not a political body. They have no role to play in the determination or development of voting rules. They implement them and may advise Government on logistical issues regarding the implementation of proposed voting systems, but that’s about it. Voting rules are a matter of legislation and therefore a matter for the Parliament.

    People have a tendency to think the AEC is something it is not, as evidenced by the folk who hounded them over Abbott’s supposed citizenship issues.

  44. Backyard Bob

    What’s marriage equality when the next generations may not be able to enjoy it?

    Just about everyone is playing politics with this issue. Nothing will be done about it until it ceases to be a useful political tool. But I think it’s pretty meaningless to raise it as if it were a distraction from CC action. You could make that fallacious claim about every single piece of proposed legislation on any issue you can think of. CC action can only come with a change of Government. End of story.

  45. Lee

    “All schools and tertiary institutions should be actively encouraging any eligible young people to enrol.”

    Some high schools certainly are doing this, but I’m unsure how widespread the practice is. I know of some teenagers who have completed the enrolment form in class. People aged 16 and 17 are allowed to enrol, so that they are ready to vote when they turn 18. I think it’s an excellent idea and I wish it happened when I went to high school. Politics impacts every area of our lives. The level of indifference and ignorance that I see in people of my generation is quite shameful.

  46. Backyard Bob

    JohnB,

    Which part/issue of his ‘argument’ presented do you contest

    This, for me, is a good question. Whatever the passion levels I found Conroy’s speech, if not compelling, then certainly provocative. But I confess the he said/she said/they said/who said/it said nature of this debate is making my head explode. Luckily my parents were cousins so I have a spare.

  47. Backyard Bob

    Miriam,

    Some high schools certainly are doing this, but I’m unsure how widespread the practice is.

    I think most high schools in Queensland provide enrollment forms for their senior students.

  48. Lee

    @ Kaye

    “I know all the union leaders and Labor have been saying that and I don’t understand why. To get the ABCC through the Senate, the Coalition would have to have a majority in their own right because Labor and the Greens oppose it. ”

    I think the greatest concern is a DD election – but that opportunity already exists and Turnbull isn’t using it. The unions consider that if we have a DD election, the Liberals will win and control the Senate, then the ABCC bill and a whole lot of other attacks on workers will pass through quickly and easily. Rather than have the cojones to admit their party can’t cut the mustard, they are choosing to blame the Greens instead.

  49. Lee

    “The first act of any decent politician in Australia, regardless of persuasion, should be to rid the joint of the influence of the extremists in the IPA led LNP so that THE PRESSING ISSUE of Climate Change can be dealt with! ”

    They should also be removing the influence of big party donors.

  50. Terry2

    Lee

    I think you may be confusing electoral reform, which includes electronic voting, donations to parties , four year parliamentary terms etc and the Senate voting reform now before the Senate : my understanding – and I’m hearing it in the Senate debate currently being broadcast on radio – is that this particular matter has only been live for about two weeks.

  51. RosemaryJ36

    Our biggest problem is not the politicians but the ignorance of the electorate.

  52. RosemaryJ36

    If people were to request a postal vote they could have all the time they need to complete the lengthy voting papers in the Eastern States.

  53. Lee

    “I think you may be confusing electoral reform, which includes electronic voting, donations to parties , four year parliamentary terms etc and the Senate voting reform now before the Senate”.

    No Terry2, I’m not. Read my quote from Scott Ludlam again. The Greens have wanted this voting reform for several years.

  54. Lee

    Well there were a few angry people in my workplace today, including some gays, when they learned that the ALP voted against a vote on marriage equality. All of them said they voted for the ALP at the last election because of the marriage equality issue and they won’t be voting Labor again. The gay colleagues were disgusted with Penny Wong’s antics this week. It will be interesting to see how harmful this will be for Labor.

  55. Lee

    @RosemaryJ36, people can also print a copy of the ballot paper off the AEC website, number the boxes and use it as a guide on polling day.

    “Our biggest problem is not the politicians but the ignorance of the electorate.”

    Ignorance and apathy of the electorate.

  56. Korstraw

    Backyard Bob

    Funnily enough I did read the link. Number one on their ‘list’:

    Agency Directions

    1. deliver a changed model for elections and referenda

    and

    4. re-establish the reputation of the AEC

    We are aware of what happened with missing votes, etc last election and the mess in WA in particular but there are other reasons for their tarnished reputation. My comments re that below.

    But this is the important bit to me:

    In addition to the agency directions, the AEC will continue to focus on its legislative deliverables. These are:

    6. public awareness.

    I’m well aware as all here are that they are not a lobby group, etc.

    But, as I said, (you seemed to have missed my main issues) there should be no changes in an election year, etc. The main reason I mentioned the AEC is that I think it should take proposals put forward, run a public awareness campaign and then let the people decide what they want to do. I never suggested they make up their own voting rules.

    As for Abbott I’m not sure why you brought him in to this. But as you did he should have been prosecuted by the AEC over the ‘Australians For Honest Politicians’ scandal. If you’ve not read it already it’s chapter 16 of Margot Kingston’s excellent expose of the grub Howard, Abbott et al – Still Not Happy, John – in which Margot says: ‘…the lame performance of our primary democratic watchdog, the Australian Electoral Commission, to greatly unwanted scrutiny…..’. And much more of course about the internal politicking at the AEC.

    But it seems to me that most have gone off issue, the proposed senate voting changes.

  57. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Congratulations to the LNP wankers!

    They continue to play the Greens and Labor against each other and even better still, it’s becoming even more entertaining for the Degenerates as both Labor and the Greens blame each other for their positions on Senate Reform and Marriage Equality, amongst other important political grounds eg detention, asylum seekers, welfare, data retention, etc, etc, etc ad nauseum.

    I vote for a bunch of people from any Left or Centre-Left direction to form an Alliance that will work together to defeat, in NO uncertain terms, the cancer of the LNP on our beautiful country and democracy.

  58. margcal

    Lee:
    > The information on ensuring a vote is valid is available in the lead up to every election and is explained to voters at every polling booth.

    The people working at the polling booths say something to the voters. But …. while queueing to be marked off at the last election, I listened to quite a few of these “explanations”. Different workers said different things. And to one I pointed out that what was said was in fact not the whole information but downright wrong.

  59. Lee

    Margcal, I meant the written instructions. They’re very clear. I’m amazed that people feel the need to ask the staff how to complete a ballot paper. Then again, considering the idiots that get elected, maybe I’m not.

  60. margcal

    Korstraw: re this …
    > In addition to the agency directions, the AEC will continue to focus on its legislative deliverables. These are:
    6. public awareness.

    Some time ago I sent a suggestion to the AEC that their website in the section that lists candidates and their party and contact details, there should also be a section (with a word limit) where each candidate can give us their manifesto or ‘vote for me’ blurb – with provision for linking out to full web sites.

    I did get a reply. Telling me that the AEC doesn’t promote candidates. She didn’t have a clue what I was on about.
    I really think a one-stop-shop for basic info about “all” candidates is a good idea.
    If no information is forthcoming by a set date, then the person’s name doesn’t appear on the ballot paper. If candidates had to pay a bit extra to cover the additional bandwith then so be it.

    And Kaye re education … Yes. Why not, would be my question rather than saying information is available. Because people are stupid, as Lee says, all the more, rather than less, reason to hammer away with information.

  61. Pamela

    Voting reform has been a policy since Bob Brown’s day and the LNP did the deal with the Greens, not the Greens with the LNP 😛 … and then when you take a look at the ALP’s submission for optional preferential voting above and below the line, it is similar to the Greens proposal, except that the ALP wanted to make registration of micro-parties harder, so the ALP are being hypocritical… and I rather think they see it as an opportunity to try to win back voters… which isn’t happening in fact I think the Greens are actually gaining even more support.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=fa246296-d884-4e5a-932d-03d898c5a78e&subId=251860

    It hasn’t been rushed through, as many try to say, there was a public inquiry for over a year and a half, that had 21 consultation around the country, and a consensus recommendation that Labor was a part of came out of that support senate reform.

    Bob Brown from 2013
    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/how-to-reform-senate-voting-in-one-easy-step-20130910-2ti5a.html

    Furthermore the majority of voters, want voting reform… 52% of ALP voters want senate reform…

    Senate reform

  62. silkworm

    Informal voting should be encouraged. Ten per cent of the voting population is incorrigibly stupid, and will screw up their voting papers. We should not be giving these people the power to lodge a formal vote, because the more stupid a person is, the more likely they are to vote conservative. The more stupid voters are excluded, the more likely that progressive politicians will be voted in. We should be encouraging people to vote progressive rather than educating them on how to vote.

  63. silkworm

    One of the important issues in the politics, but not mentioned in the article, is that of asylum seekers and the camps on Nauru and Manus. Labor’s stance on this issue in particular is bleeding votes to the Greens, and prominent Labor identities like Albanese are threatened with losing their seats to the Greens. Hence Labor’s smear campaign against the Greens.

  64. silkworm

    Lazarus coming out in support of the ABCC has exposed him as a treacherous, dangerous man, despite him voting against the Libs on most issues. Then again, Lazarus betrayed us when he voted to close down the carbon trading scheme, which to my mind is the critical issue affecting us all. I hope Lazarus loses his seat when the reforms take effect.

  65. Terry2

    Lee

    I’ve done as you suggested and been to the Greens’ website and I’ve watched the the Scott Ludlum explanation.

    My concern remains that this is all about a two pronged attack on the senate and the electoral changes are phase one and the coming Double Dissolution is phase two : the objective is clearly to establish the groundwork for an LNP dominated senate – I may be wrong but while the government will not rule out a DD and seem hell bent on their timetable to achieve this end I remain highly suspicious of the government’s motives.

    As we all know, this senate electoral Bill will pass with Greens support so, I would have thought that the Greens, in agreeing to pass this legislation could have obtained a government commitment to rule out a DD.

  66. Lee

    Terry2, I suggest you also read the link that Pamela provided to Antony Green’s article about the likelihood of the Liberals gaining control of both houses.

    As Pamela also said, the Libs have actually supported the Greens. Plus Turnbull already has the ability to call a DD election, which he has ignored.

  67. nurses1968

    It’s OK. Richard Di Natale is confident that Malcolm Turnbull, as leader of the new Liberal-National Party-Green Coalition government, will deliver Green policies as soon as he has delivered all of Tony Abbott’s policies.

    In the meantime Richard is confident that as members of Malcolm’s new agile and innovative LNPG Coalition his Senators will not have to share the cross Senate benches with micro-parties and independents whose Senators rely on preference votes.

    Malcolm lacks Richard’s confidence particularly when he considers Tony Windsor’s challenge for Barnaby Joyce’s New England seat. But that’s OK too as Richard is backing in new unfair competition laws in an attempt to spike the Windsor guns.

  68. Peter Stanton

    Since their inception I have placed the greens first or second on my preference list at every election. Having watched their behaviour since Di Natale took the leadership I will be placing them much further down the list in future.

  69. Lee

    @BYB – The restaurant dialogue is spot on!

  70. silkworm

    Yes, the hypocrisy of Penny Wong is astounding.

  71. Anomander

    I fail to see why so much venom is being hurled around (well… OK, apart from the usual party politics).

    Voters can still vote for whichever party or independent they like, be it above the line or below. You can even ensure your preferences flow to people to whom you want your votes to go, rather than the convoluted mess we have now where your vote could be going to some numbnuts you normally wouldn’t piss on.

    For strange people like me, who deliberately vote below the line and are happy to number every box, it actually makes our task a little easier. I actually lost count during the last election and had to ask for a new ballot paper.

    The far bigger issue to me is the corrupting influence of money in the election cycle. Our elections have become like the US, where campaigns are waged with bigger and bigger budgets to fund elaborate media campaigns. Millions are spent on TV and newspaper ads, corflutes, flyers, door-knocking, robocalls – all these strategies are effectively out of the reach of a small independent trying to win votes. The only parties able to run these enormously expensive campaigns are the LibLab duopoly, thanks to their generous corporate backers, who of course, expect favours in return for their investment.

    If we want true reform, we need to find a way to take the money, influence and obvious corruption out of the system.

  72. diannaart

    Thank you for explanation Terry2

    Makes sense – which could mean; should I be worried? The Libs have managed something which looks reasonable.

    As a bonus, I get to vote for Vladimir Lenin – the team at Conversation clearly had some fun.

  73. Lee

    Malcolm Mackerras might be the only person opposed to the Senate voting reforms who realises that the Greens didn’t team up with the LNP.

    “Now, what this thing does is to introduce a party list system. What I cannot stomach is the idea of the Liberal Party suddenly deciding to abandon the democratic values of the Australian constitution and suddenly deciding to embrace Greens principles, purely because it will help them to engineer the double dissolution they want and to get rid of the crossbench senators whom they dislike.”

  74. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Sorry Lee,

    you are being too cryptic and so are the Greens. I don’t remember who Malcolm Mackerras is and I’m not sure of the direction of your point.

    If the Greens were trying to be tricky with the LNP Degenerates and in so doing make political structural change, please tell them that they achieved only 2/3 of the optimum output, which is the following:

    1) trick the degenerate LNP into thinking anybody with brains would back them; and

    2) convince blended Opposition parties to believe that the Greens initiative implemented at the same time as the LNP assault was a good thing worth doing.

    BUT unfortunately, the tricky wheeler dealing to achieve those reforms when implemented at the time that suite LNP re-structure, makes the Greens look like opportunistic stooges.

  75. Lee

    @Jennifer

    Malcolm Mackerras is a visiting fellow at the Australian Catholic University’s Canberra campus and he’s supportive of Bob Day’s dummy spit to the high court.

    BYB posted these links on another thread yesterday. I don’t think you have commented on that thread, so may not have read it.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-14/senate-election-reforms-quietly-shelved-by-government/5594436

    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/how-to-reform-senate-voting-in-one-easy-step-20130910-2ti5a.html

    This next link is to a letter stored on the Aust Parliamentary website, written by the ALP National Secretary. It may cause a pdf file to be downloaded to your computer but it’s safe.

    http://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=fa246296-d884-4e5a-932d-03d898c5a78e.

    .The Greens haven’t been trying to trick anyone. As you can see, after the last election all the major parties were unhappy about the secret preference deals. Nick Xenophon accurately predicted what the Liberals would do. The Greens took the opportunity to cross off an item that had been on their bucket list for the last 12 years, as to be expected. All parties take opportunities to get what they want. Why is it a crime when the Greens do it?

  76. nurses1968

    “Bob Day’s dummy spit to the high court.”
    Hardly, as he is testing whether it is unconstitutional and I believe he has every right to do so.
    His argument to the Senate Hearing sounded like their could be some ground to do so
    Unless you are a Constitutional Lawyer, wouldn’t you like to assert it is legal?
    He did raise this very question at JSCEM on 29.2.16
    FYI

  77. Lee

    Bob Day can do what he likes. My preferences won’t be helping FF regardless of the outcome.

  78. nurses1968

    Did anyone deny you that right?

  79. Lee

    No. Did the LNP and Greens deny you the right to decide where your preferences go?

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