Who, what….why?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a politics groupie. Philosophically, I’m left of centre, but in this blog, where politics is concerned, I try to be a devil’s advocate and not too biased. You may think otherwise! [Note for my possibly confused American and UK friends: Liberal here = Republicans (USA) and Conservatives(UK), Labor here = Democrats (USA) and Labour (UK). The current marginal party here is The Greens.]

We have an election coming up (we did know the date, but since the Labor Party dumped Prime Minister Gillard for recycled PM Rudd – as you have seen in my previous recent posts), and the new date is unknown. I should be all fired up and enthusiastic to hear what the parties are offering. But I’m not. I am totally disillusioned by the major parties. Both of them. Neither of them now stand for what I believe in or offer a vision of an Australian society of which I really want to be part.

The election is going to be fought in the marginal seats. The people in those seats will be polled within an inch of their lives, and advertising and promises will be directed at them. I’m predicting the media blitz by both parties will be short on facts and real policies, and long on slogans and meaningless phrases. To really discover what the parties stand for, it will be necessary to trawl through their websites. And there may be some big surprises hidden away, I suspect…So, in the interests of clarity, I’ve decided that over the next 6 weeks or so, I’ll be taking a look at what they are really planning, and passing on what I find.

If you have a particular area you would like me to explore, just put in a comment, and I’ll see what I can find out. I will add in some odds and ends and hopefully, some lighter moments and humour too. If I seem to be telling you what you already know, I apologise: just breeze straight over that.

So, for a start, may I just clarify that we the people DO NOT vote for the Prime Minister, although many Aussie think we do. We vote for a candidate in the seat in which we live. The PARTIES vote for their leader (as we’ve just seen), and the party with the most seats forms the government, and their leader becomes the PM.

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July 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

Be Careful What You Wish For, Labor!

It’s done and dusted: Kevin 013 has been sworn in, he’s the Big Banana again. But I can’t help wondering if the Labor Party (particularly the Caucus) is really prepared for what they have done. This is the man that everyone said was impossible to work with, who was rude and autocratic. The only thing he has going for him (as far as his Labor colleagues really believe, I suspect), is that people who do not actually know him, like him and believe in his messianic ways.

Whilst he believes he is back in his true role, he probably should remember that he has been reinstated reluctantly, only because he can deliver votes, and make the defeat less bad, or, miracle of miracles, somehow snatch victory from the jaws of defeat! I am quite sure that Tony Abbott and the Liberal/Nationals fear taking on Rudd far more than Gillard, and the election will be much closer.

Why was Gillard so disliked? Why couldn’t she cut through, when she has actually brought to fruition a number of important policies, such as the Disability Scheme and the Gonski reforms in Education. She is known to be a good negotiator, and to be very warm and personable in informal situations. My straw-polling suggests that the very manner of her taking of the Prime Minister role was the first and unforgiven mistake. It was knife-in-the-back and unpleasant, and many, even die-hard Labor voters were – and remain – deeply uncomfortable about it. In the intervening years, Rudd has consistently undermined and destabilised Gillard – and he has done so very effectively. Then there were the changes of policy – Juliar became her nickname with good cause. However the vitriol against her has been deeply cruel and personal. Is it that Australian men are still (when you scratch off the surface skin) deeply anti-women in power?

I hope that time will treat Julia Gillard kindly. Her time in power was almost always tempestuous and challenging, and she remained tough and outwardly strong to the end. Her resignation speech last night was given by a woman in control of her feelings and dignified. She actually achieved a lot, and I hope those things will be remembered. I wonder what she will do, post politics.

What now? Firstly, we need to wait and see whether Tony Abbott will attempt a No Confidence motion, or just let the last day of this Parliament go by. Will Rudd bring the election on sooner, to take advantage of a voter ‘bounce’? Will we see shifts in Labor policy?

Will Labor – and the citizens of Australia – regret yesterday? What do you think? Will this change your vote?

June 27, 2013 at 11:55 am 1 comment

Rudd Back Where He Always Believed He Should Be

7.40pm: Well, although no official announcement yet, but the word is Rudd has won. What will this mean for the Australian people? What do you predict? It will be interesting to see who voted which way, who deserted the sinking ship?

June 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm Leave a comment

Back on the Merry-Go-Round

As I write, the Australian Labor Party is tearing itself apart again. How many times do the people of Australia have to go through this ridiculous process of a leadership ‘spill’ in the Australian Labor Party? Only 3 months after Julia Gillard last said ‘this is it, this is an end to it’, and Kevin Rudd said he would never seek the leadership again, they’re back at it. Once more, she’s saying it has to be resolved once and for all, and he has ‘listened’ to his colleagues and ‘you, the people of Australia’ and changed his mind, in order to save us from Tony Abbott. The Labor caucus is just making it’s way into the Party room now (7.05pm AEST) The smart money is on a Rudd victory, and the public defection from Gillard of Bill Shorten is probably the last straw for her.

To me, though, even more interesting are a couple of other aspects to consider.

For example, is it just co-incidence that Tony Windsor and Rob Oakshott, (two of the Independents which formed an agreement with Labor which allowed Labor to form government), have both announced today that they will not seek re-election at the next election. Regardless of what you think of them, their politics and that agreement, it has largely provided a stable period of governance which actually (quietly) achieved a lot. So, did they know or suspect what was to transpire today? Or has their decisions to depart been the last catalyst for change? As I understand things, Windsor will not support Rudd or Abbott, and Oakshott probably is much the same, which then will make the last day of the Parliament tomorrow a very interesting prospect.

If Rudd wins, who amongst the Independents can he rely on for support? (He needs them to remains in government.) The Greens will not support the Liberals, Andrew Wilkie is undecided. Rudd may be able to rely on Peter Slipper, but what of Bob Katter?

Will Tony Abbott bring on a Vote of No Confidence in the government tomorrow in Parliament, which could theoretically lead to Abbott becoming caretaker Prime Minister. If Rudd does win, will he bring the election on earlier (the suggestion is for early August)?

So much is up for speculation, so many possibilities. What do you think: who will win tonight? What will happen tomorrow? Tell me and other readers what you think, and let’s share thoughts.

June 26, 2013 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

Alan Jones: you do not speak for me.

Finally I’ve been stirred enough to begin posting again!!
I am apalled by Alan Jones. I am equally apalled that he commands such a large audience, and wields the influence which he appears to do.
I sincerely believe he is a person of strongly right wing views who hates strong women who have power.
I think his most recent comments about Julia Gillard’s father were in the most disgustingly bad taste.
However, earlier remarks by him that Julia Gillard should be hanged, and that she should be put in a chaff bag, taken out to sea and thrown over to drown, were far worse and were totally unacceptable.
I am not going to sink to his levels by describing him in the way that I would like. But why does he (and others like him, such as Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray), seem to be given carte blanche to be abusive and unpleasant and continue to get away with it. He makes unfounded and untrue allegations and remarks about his chosen victims, and they are often left with no means to wipe away the mud he intends will stick.
Unfortunately, many of the cases of defamation etc which are commenced against him are concluded through confidential settlements, so that we can not know about them.
Why can men like him (and it does seem to be almost exclusively men who indulge in this behaviour), continue to exercise this unpleasant power? Do his words tap into something deep inside some of us? I don’t know or understand, but I know he will never speak to or for me.
Disagree with other’s views or politics by all means, and debate those views wholeheartedly, but do so with grace, politeness and a focus on the issue not the person.

Alan Jones, a truly civil society has no need of people like you.

October 7, 2012 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

If only…

I have been meaning to comment for a couple of days on Q and A (ABC, Monday 9 June).
A really interesting panel, brilliantly hosted by the impressive Virgina Trioli. The standout memory for me, however, was the oh-so-welcome contributions of Malcolm Turnball and Chris Bowen.
Throughout the program they gave thoughtful and sensible views and presented them calmly and totally without vitriol. There was no negative, party politicing or aggression. What a wonderful exception to the bottom-of-the-barrel norm.
Thank you so much, Malcolm and Chris for that welcome glimpse of statemanship, and the reminder of what political debate is meant to be like.
Did anyone else see it and do you agree? Also, do you share my disgust at the general state of politics in this country at the moment?

July 11, 2012 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

Change of plans….

Life is what happens when you are making other plans – so said John Lennon.

I have become very slack about researching and writing posts. It is not that I sit around and do nothing, but somehow….life gets in the way. And now, I have some other projects which will take a lot of my time in the next year or so. And frankly, the state of Australian politics and some elements of public opinion has brought me to despair. A pox on both their houses, said Shakespeare in something…. and I agree.

So I have come to a decision. I am not abandoning this blog by any means, but it is going to take a different format. My new aim is to make short, pithy comments, and I really want you to engage with me and each other with your views.

So, on to part 2 of this sojourn…join me on the journey, please….

June 22, 2012 at 7:31 am Leave a comment

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