Qld election wrap: a sea change in politics


The Electoral Commission says it may take 10 days to finalise the Queensland election count. Remembering that 45 is the prize, the latest count has 42 seats to Labor, 38 for the LNP, 3 ‘other’ and 6 now undecided, up from 3 the day before.

It looks as though Pauline Hanson is in with a show in Lockyer, though Poll Bludger thinks she might come up short.

Without any confidence, I think the likeliest result will have the ALP on 44. In that case they would govern with the assistance of Peter Wellington. He could be offered Speaker, which he would refuse, preferring to actively represent his electorate. This result would avoid having to do a formal deal with KAP, but KAP would be consulted on any legislation brought forward. I think this would be ideal for democracy.

Second likeliest, I think, would be Labor on 43, necessitating a deal with KAP, who would insist on certain items like a 10% methanol in fuel mandate. It would be better if Labor could freely consider the merits of KAP policies.

Third likeliest is Labor on 45 or 42.

Meanwhile it is important to realise that Newman is still premier and leader of the LNP. Seeney announced a party meeting to resolve the leadership, for reasons best known to him, but was countermanded by Newman.

The best analytical piece so far is by Mark at The Guardian Queensland rejected hubris and unrestrained power when it rejected Campbell Newman. In effect it is a fleshing out of his statement I identified here that “the Labor victory in Queensland is a defining moment of change in Australian politics, which will never be the same.”

Some excerpts:

If the voice of Queenslanders said anything on Saturday, it thundered a rejection of the culture of power unrestrained and politicians’ hubris and arrogance. No more bills passed in the night, stripping citizens and workers of fundamental rights. No more dodgy donations. No more jobs for the boys and girls. No more “don’t you worry about that”. Queenslanders voted in massive numbers for a return to accountability and the basics of good government and democratic practice, conventions trampled underfoot by the RM Williams boots of the LNP’s ministers over the past term.

Any Queensland government must now understand there can be no going back to the dark days of the past, that there is no electoral reward to be had from “strong plans” that don’t factor in the human cost of unrestrained crony capitalism. There will from now on be no electoral reward from “strength”, if that means treating citizens with disdain and contempt.

Let all the misgovernment and malfeasance come to an end, and let it be unmourned. There was a sly charm in the old Queensland, a seductive whisper that the state’s distinctiveness was expressed through its baroque tropical politics, a humour beneath the cattleman’s hats. But Russ Hinze is dead, he’s not sleeping. He was never a king or an emperor, even if Sir Joh was a Knight, and after this result, he should never be coming back. Lawrence Springborg and the LNP – take note.

To understand fully the Russ Hinze reference, you have to read the whole piece, which I recommend.

One of the ways Labor reconnected with the community was through the choice of an “astonishingly diverse array of candidates”, including:

Leanne Enoch, the state’s first Indigenous woman MP, as well as electricians, defence lawyers, medical specialists and tradies.

In a sense, then, one sleeping giant has been awakened through this election – the sense that so many have of Queensland as a project. A work in progress, sure, but progress to a more humane, more inclusive, more transparent, fairer and more accountable polity and society. That project, the legacy not just of figures such as Tony Fitzgerald and the late Wayne Goss but also of a multitude of activists and citizens over the decades, has shown its strength when tested against the flim flam of “strong plans” offered by a rattled party in a state of advanced decay.

Political nostrums that have endured for ages should now be tossed out, along with the many, many LNP MPs who have lost their seats. The LNP must understand that Russ Hinze’s ghost no longer slumbers under the hills of Coomera. And Labor, though it will tread softly, has learned the key lessons of its defeat in 2012 – that privatisation is poison, that Queenslanders want a government that respects not hectors them, and that there’s life still in social democratic politics, provided it connects with citizens. This result is truly an astonishing one, and its implications are manifold. The political rulebook has been smashed to smithereens along with the LNP’s majority, and every political party must now take stock.

There will be fewer cranes, diggers and bulldozers than there would have been if people had voted for the ‘Strong Choices’ on offer, but as Mark says, Queensland is a project and we look forward to a softer, more congenial, more humane polity and society. Palaszczuk has promised a consultative, consensual style, of bringing Queenslanders together. She was never overtly ambitious, but has grown in the role of leader. We must hope that she can make the transition into the real job, where Newman manifestly failed.

Elsewhere Jason Wilson has a fine piece The world is turning against austerity. Now it’s Queensland’s turn, Mark outlines the sequence of the Newman/LNP maladministration in Why you should not go to war with the public #qldvotes, Jason Wilson again in Why Queensland will never Joh again, and Mr Denmore at Failed Estate has a piece Graffiti Crimes where he looks at the coverage, the disgraceful front page propaganda we got from the Courier Mail and the role of social media.

In a piece published before the election Brian Costar, inter alia, points out the difficulty encountered by polling companies in finding representative samples over the holiday period, and how optional preferential voting renders the concept of ‘two party preferred’ meaningless.

Climate clippings 124

1. Totten Glacier melting from below

Scientists have found that waters around Totten Glacier are warmer than expected and that it is melting from below. Amazingly the glacier, in East Antarctica, has never been studied before.

Totten glacier_251552E400000578-2926354-image-a-31_1422281876786_600

A team of scientists on the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis has recently taken a look. They don’t have comparative historical data to go by, but the concern is large. Totten is the biggest of the big and holds enough water to raise the sea level 6 metres. That’s somewhere between West Antarctica and Greenland!

2. State of the Climate 2014

The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released their State of the Climate 2014 report. There is a summary at the ABC.

One thing that was new was a prediction of more extreme El Niño and La Niña events. They are talking here of extreme La Niña’s appearing once in 13 years rather than once in 23 years. So it’s not the garden variety events, rather the exceptional events.

For the rest of the report, it seems on a quick look to be much as expected – less rainfall in southern Australia, more extreme hot days, less snow, continued ocean acidification, more worries about sea level rise and so on. I’ll take a closer look if I get time.

Graham Readfearn points out that in 1995 at Amberley near Brisbane the mercury climbed above 35C on 12 days per year on average. That could become 55 days per year.

3. Australian sport needs to lift game on climate issues, Olympians and sport bosses say

It has been a year since extreme heat wreaked havoc at the Australian Open, with players forced to endure temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius on the courts.

Some athletes said the conditions were akin to “tap-dancing on a fry pan”.

Unfortunately Tennis Australia are not on their lonesome in forcing athletes to perform in dangerous conditions. There are concerns also for spectators and venues, for example subject to flooding. The Climate Institute has produced a report analysing the vulnerability amongst sports like AFL, tennis, cricket and cycling as well as winter snow sports.

Part of The Climate Institute’s ongoing research into climate risk and resilience, this report will form the basis of ongoing discussions in the sporting world, including with the newly formed Sports Environment Alliance, chaired by former International Cricket Council CEO Malcolm Speed.

4. Keystone showdown and American climate opinion

The Senate has passed legislation approving the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline on a 62-36 vote.

asked Thursday about the vote, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that Obama would veto.

The Senate requires 67 votes to overturn a presidential veto.

Meanwhile Carbon Brief takes a look at the gap in opinion between scientists, the public, and politicians on climate change from Pew Center research. This is how it pans out:

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 11.04.43

A case of the blind leading the partially sighted.

Across the ditch Hot Topic posts about a book that meticulously goes through the development of climate science from the time of Arrhenius. Seriously, there isn’t an argument any more about the basic science.

5. Economists begin to take climate change, and poverty, seriously

I find this surprising:

current economic models… generally conclude that the economically optimal pathway results in a global surface warming around 3–3.5°C.

Current economic models mainly treat economic growth as an external factor. In these models, global warming and its impacts via climate change don’t significantly affect the rate at which the economy grows.

A new study finds:

while the economies of rich countries continue to grow well in a warmer world, the economic growth of poor countries is significantly impaired.

That’s not so surprising.

The authors find that:

the best path for society would limit temperatures to between 1.6 and 2.8°C warming in 2100, with a best estimate of around 1.7°C warming.

Meanwhile the rulers of the world at the Davos World Economic Forum conference were given a straight message:

In particular, the nexus between climate protection and development is a striking conclusion of the World Bank analysis: without climate stabilization at still manageable levels, development advances, especially in the poorest countries, are set to be reversed. Indeed, development work of past decades (involving significant financial resources) is at risk and with it the well-being of the most vulnerable citizens on Earth.

The “World Bank analysis” is Turn down the heat : confronting the new climate normal, a report prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.

Palaszczuk premier, yay?!

Well, it’s still too close to call, but it’s looking that way.

Antony Green couldn’t believe what was coming out of his computer. Swings of 20% and more to the ALP. It kept coming, so he had to believe it.

There are 89 seats in parliament, so the magic number is 45. By 7.15 the computer was giving 42 to Labor and 3 ‘other’. They are Rob Katter and Shane Knuth of KAP and the long-standing, principled independent, Peter Wellington. All three are against asset sales and were, I understand, putting the LNP last.

At the end of the night the ABC computer gave 43 seats to Labor, 40 to the LNP, 3 other and 3 undecided. Antony Green reckons Labor will probably get 45, possibly 46. Wayne Swan reckons the LNP can’t get past 42.


Annastacia Palaszczuk says it’s too close to call, but she thinks Labor will form government. During the campaign she said she wouldn’t do deals with the cross bench. If she has more members than the LNP the Governor will be obliged to ask whether she can form government. At that point she doesn’t need to do a formal deal. She will just have to consult the cross bench before she brings any legislation to the parliament.

Mark on Facebook said:

Tonight’s Labor victory in Queensland is a defining moment of change in Australian politics, which will never be the same.

I hope he expands on that, but I am inclined to agree. I think the Newman/LNP style galvanised the ALP base. Kate Jones in Ashgrove (Newman is history; we never need to listen to his voice again!) said she had 500 volunteers working for her.

Tim Nicholls and Jane Prentice (federal member for Ryan) on the ABC panel both couldn’t grasp that their messages were wrong, not their messaging. Both said, we need to “explain better and take the people with us”. They couldn’t grasp that they were heading in the wrong direction!

By the way, Prentice signalled that Tony Abbott had just two days to turn things around. She was openly calling for a change in direction, or something, and said that his forthcoming address to the press gallery would be “pivotal”.

I’d love to know the numbers, but I was pleased with the number of women who won seats for Labor. Jackie Trad for deputy!