Politics after Bronnie and the ALP conference

The Roy Morgan poll, taken over the past two weekends, headlines:

    L-NP support slumps amid Bronwyn Bishop travel expense ‘misconduct’ and as the ALP commits to renewable energy & ‘turn back the boats’ policy.

Support for the LNP is down 3 points to give Labor a lead TPP of 54-46. The Greens support is at 15% (up 1.5%) – the highest Greens vote since September 2010.

While the reasons are just a guess, the headline is probably right. Essential Report, which has Labor ahead 53-47 TPP also asked what people thought about Bronwyn Bishop.

    Only 19% think Bronwyn Bishop should remain in the position of Speaker.

    25% think she should stand down while her expenses are being investigated, 19% think she should resign as Speaker and 24% think she should resign from Parliament.

Abbott of course can’t sack Bishop, but parliament can, so effectively Abbott can. I suspect he would need to blast her out, but I suspect he won’t – a situation that suits Labor politically.

Bernard Keane at Crikey thinks Abbott has run out of options politically. Normally the incumbent can set the political agenda. The economy is so stale that the LNP can’t play to it’s natural strength. It’s done tax reform, kind of, and has succeeded in scaring everyone about the GST. It’s remaining strength is security, and that one is overdone and wearing thin.

At The Conversation, reproduced at The Drum, experts comment on five policy areas considered at the conference:

    Asylum seekers

    Climate change and energy

    Party reform



On party reform, the Kevin Rudd’s leadership changes were endorsed, and state branches will be required to directly elect delegates. However, critical issues like changing the trade union block vote were not even debated.

Unlike the LNP, Labor is committed to continued involvement in funding health and education, but finding the funds for universities, TAFE and Gonski-style support for schools in another question.

Paula Matthewson tells us that while the right in the party actually did not have majority numbers, the progressive left conceded ground on all major points in the interests of political pragmatism, except for gender balance.

    Following a push by the left-aligned Emily’s list, the conference agreed to a minimum requirement for 40 per cent of party positions to be held by women, matching the already existing requirement for women to be pre-selected for at least 40 per cent of winnable seats. This minimum will be raised to 45 per cent in 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025.

    And most importantly, the party executive was given the power to step in when the quotas are not met, thereby meeting Plibersek’s requirement for Shorten’s 50 per cent aspiration to be enforceable.

The political reality, she says, is that Labor can’t win government by adopting policies that are disliked by swinging and undecided voters.

    as the Labor left may have learned over the weekend, being a progressive in a successful government is much easier than it is in a barely-trusted opposition.

Mungo MacCallum says Shorten’s real test lies ahead. The leader always gets his way at party conferences, but now Shorten has to craft concrete policies to take to an election, policies that will survive “the three-word slogans, the gotcha lines, the scare campaigns.”

What we are seeing in spades is that Winston Churchill was right, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

Elsewhere, in a Crikey piece apparently not paywalled, and well worth the read, Helen Razer reviews the Labor national conference – why Labor can’t manage itself.

Update: Many LNP members have been angry with Bishop, and some, including Cabinet ministers, want her to go. She has now apologised for the chopper ride and agreed to pay back her travel to weddings for Teresa Gambaro and Sophie Mirabella. Clive Palmer and Andrew Wilkie will move a no confidence motion. Tony Burke has said Labor will show their disrespect for her in some unspecified way.

It’s a fair bet she’ll stay.

45 thoughts on “Politics after Bronnie and the ALP conference”

  1. Many LNP members have been angry with Bishop, and some, including Cabinet ministers, want her to go. She has now apologised for the chopper ride and agreed to pay back her travel to weddings for Teresa Gambaro and Sophie Mirabella. Clive Palmer and Andrew Wilkie will move a no confidence motion. Tony Burke has said Labor will show their disrespect for her in some unspecified way.

    It’s a fair bet she’ll stay.

  2. Paula Mattheson needs to be read with a grain of salt – she has a very distinct frame & agenda having worked in the media on the Liberal side of politics. Occasionally insightful but conclusions usually shaped by her starting agenda

  3. My take on the Tampa election was that Beazley completely demoralized his supporters when he backflipped on asylum seekers.
    Up to then, many people supported him because he was seen as someone whose moral compass compelled him to stand up to the likes of Pauline Hansen even if this put at risk some votes.
    Demoralized supporters are less likely to stand up for the party when talking to people, do the booth manning and other volunteer work.
    Even worse for the ALP, many demoralized Labor supporters move to the Greens because the Greens are still seen as a party with a moral conscience.
    “Whatever it Takes” may be smart in the short term but in the long term not so good??

  4. Doug

    Paula Mattheson needs to be read with a grain of salt – she has a very distinct frame & agenda having worked in the media on the Liberal side of politics. Occasionally insightful but conclusions usually shaped by her starting agenda

    Same goes for journalists that have worked for, or indeed married to, ALP and union members, right ?

  5. I noticed that Paula Matthewson (note spelling) had worked for John Howard, but thought her point fair enough, although left/right divisions in the ALP are not what they used to be. Albanese was with the right, for example, on same sex marriage.

  6. Jumpy agreed – I look for reflexiveness in journalists awareness of what they bring with them to the analysis. After reading some of Mathewson’s analysis somewhat disappointed on that score

  7. I look for balance in political news.
    A) What, where, when, who.( no inference nor gilding )
    B ) Why ( from the who, from the shadow who, rebuttal from the who )
    C ) The decency to let the reader/listener form a conclusion.

    Journalists opinions are not the news.

  8. JD:

    Greens are still seen as a party with a moral conscience

    The Greens have enough of a moral conscience to develop policies of the conspicuous compassion variety but not enough compassion to acknowledge the suffering these policies would cause if implemented.

  9. I look forward to the government pursuing Mrs Bishop as vigorously as it pursued Mr Slipper.

  10. Karen: You are right. Some Greens are just as sure of their stance as you are of yours from time to time. Both can be a worry when trying to do good in a complex world where compromiuses have to be made and understanding what the bottom line really is really can be a life and death matter in some cases.
    Richard Di Natale seems to understand the complexity and the importance recognizing that policies are made for the people, not people for the policies. His background is helping people in complex situations which is an encouraging start.

  11. JD:

    Dr Richard Di Natale appears to be higher up the food chain than Christine Milne, who was a complete idiot with a strong anti-science outlook in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, as Brian demonstrates here, anti-science atavism is strong on the left.

  12. Karen: Christine was sometimes inclined to hold out for perfection when more could have been achieved by accepting compromise. However, my observation was that she has a very good mind and was well worth listening to.

  13. Karen, there is nothing humble about your opinions.

      atavism n. 1 a resemblance to remote ancestors rather than to parents in plants and animals. 2 reversion to an earlier type

    What is exactly is atavistic about what I do here?

    To be honest the insults are wearing a bit thin. If I respected what you say I’d go off and join that singing group my wife has recommended to me.

  14. I thought I was being polite and measured, Brian. Don’t be so thin skinned.

    You’re the one who raised the tired old trope of autism in relation to chemicals, who sources anti-science memes from the boof-headed Indian Brahmin, Vandana Shiva and if I remember correctly you’ve even had a go at nanotechnology and pondered about the wisdom of nature’s big brain experiment.

    You are entitled to your anti-science woo and you should wear it proudly. Cop criticism on the chin, man up and continue marching to the beat of your own drum.

  15. After a distinguished career in the diplomatic corps, Karen has graciously deigned to join us at Real Climate.

  16. Join us ?

    Being an ” us ” shouldn’t dissolve individual thought.

    That said, what’s the timeline on Tony Burkes ( taxpayer funded) jaunts to Italy and France with his ” to be ” missus and the ( taxpayer funded ) Ayers Rock family splurge with the wife and kids ?

  17. Karen, all those matters are peripheral. However, lets look at some of them.

    I can’t remember dissing nanotechnology. Why on earth would I?

    On Shiva, you don’t know what I currently think about her, because I haven’t said anything since reading that guy you linked to who did a pretty fair hatchet job on her. I haven’t read any Shiva for about 10 years and would now need to have another look to have an abiding opinion about her. It’s not on my priority list.

    On an interim basis, from what I recall, I think she looks back to Indian farming as it was before the arrival of the Brits for her ideal. Certainly something has been lost, and there may be some value in her ideas but in general the world has moved on. Clearly she’s unreliable on scientific matters. Let’s leave it at that.

    As to “nature’s big brain experiment”, it’s a metaphor, and like many metaphors, is not a perfect fit. It implies will and purpose in nature, where in fact I can find none. If I’d thought that through at the time I wouldn’t have used that metaphor, which wasn’t original.

    If I’m wrong on all three, I’m just wrong, I’m not anti-science. Yet you cast a general slur and think lightly of doing so.

  18. Being an ” us ” shouldn’t dissolve individual thought.

    It doesn’t. I don’t know why you think it might. Just look at ‘us’ Australians.

  19. zoot
    You may have to be clearer if I’m to understand your last, me being thick of course.

    But ay, how’s Burkes form with the entitlements thing ( to stay on topic anall ) ??

  20. Has Burke promised to pay back the money this time ?
    He said he had for all the other… erm… oopsies with taxpayer money.

  21. As a mater of fact, if your ABC is to be consistent, there should be scrutiny of his daughters just like Abbotts, right ?

  22. I look forward to Insiders, Q and A and every ABC news bulletin spilling the guts on Burke as they did Bronnie.

    Unless they’re biased and then we’ll get nothing, what’s the odds on equal condemnation V a tiny mention ?

  23. We’ve actually had quite a bit on Burke that I’ve seen and heard. The pollies have declared a truce and it’s all sounding like yesterday’s news.

  24. Burke was clearly pay-back for Bronnie. Pyne is payback for Burke. The Libs have obviously decided that’s enough. If it keeps on going the next target, if all the memes on Facebook and Twitter about Abbott’s expense accounts are anywhere near accurate, would be Abbott himself.
    We wouldn’t want that, would we?
    Well, I would, but I’m strange.

  25. And the Guardian has a page where you can go through the pollies’ expense accounts for the past 2 years and work out who ripped off what for yourself. Its too complicated for me, spreadsheets and various other bits of computer arcaneness I learned long ago but have forgotten. So I’ll leave it to others.

  26. Let’s face it, the giant leaching parasite that is Government has been exposed. The kitchen light of transparency has been flicked on and all the MP/Sen cockroaches scurry together under the fridge.

    The ” us and them ” isn’t ALP v LNP, rather entitled political masters v subservient, blissfully ignorant taxpayers.

    And transparency is available if we want it.

  27. Brian:

    ” Certainly something has been lost, and there may be some value in her ideas … ”

    I see this type of thinking as another example of how the Left has gone off into loopy loopy la la land. Shiva is from the elite caste, Brahmin. This makes her a little like a European aristocrat.

    If an English aristocrat belted on nostalgically about medieval feudalism, the Left would put him in his box. Shiva’s nostalgia for the illiterate, superstitious, powerless and precarious life of low-caste Indian peasants is similarly risible.

    I really don’t care what you think as an individual, but I am repulsed by the brand of poisonous irrationality that causes many educated white Leftists to ally with charismatic black and tan faced reactionaries. I put this down to identity politics, which is itself ultimately reactionary.

  28. Jumpy:

    I am a lot more concerned about the executives of big companies who pay themselves 10 million dollars or more in salary and bonuses for mates, since the cost of this largesse gets added to my shopping bill. It must cost me at least 1,000 times more than pollie rorts. Not that this excuses pollie rorts.

    Funny how this little bit of context rarely gets mentioned by the right wing press.

  29. Karen
    Nice try at fudging the two, BUT, no dice.
    With Companies you are free to direct how much and in what direction your hard earned goes ( and even your not earned in many instances ). With Government you have no choice at all , in fact you face jail for not paying for their lobster thermidor.

    The size of Government and bureaucracy should be decimated year on year to around 20% of what it is now.

  30. Come to think of it, what is the Monsanto CEO remunerated for wonderful life saving GM work he oversees ?
    Worth every penny I say.

  31. Jumpy,

    nonsense, you can elect any different pollies but you can’t avoid large companies without a monumental effort. Most of the time these days the big companies have so many smaller spin off companies and brands that it would take hundreds of hours of research to figure it all out.

    I have no problem with Monsatan but the shiney assed execs produce nothing. I’d thank the scientists and the workers.

    You appear to live in an Anal Rand comic book fantasy world. Sad little thing.

  32. Karen, that’s a phantasmagorical pile of words.

    I’m just not ready to talk about Vandana Shiva, so I won’t. But to me you put two and two together and get something like 35. My two is not the same as yours, which is where I’d have to start, and I’m amazed at the giant leap to a conclusion.

    So I’ll just leave it at that.

  33. Karen
    Can you name for me 3 Companies you are obligated by law to give money to ?
    I can name 3 levels of Government I must pay or be punished.

    Sad little thing.

    Well, yes.
    Sad – at our current lack of choice.
    Little – in a global political sense.
    Thing – not a made up persona, a real thing.

  34. Jumpy

    Are you obligated by law to live in Australia? Why don’t you go homesteading in Galt’s Gulch? Or Pluto? I’ll help you pack your bags.

  35. Karen

    Are you obligated by law to live in Australia?

    A criminal record, for say tax evasion, would see me unable to immigrate to many countries.

    ( however, I’m a clean skin, so no. )

    When do you plan to hand over all of your possession and become a voluntary ward of the State ?
    Can you please show me your Centrally Planed ” How to Live ” handbook on everything ( Venezuela Edition ) ?

  36. Comments policy:

    The aim is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

    Karen, I’m not providing this space as a facility you can use to have fun paying out on other people. Please accept that or go somewhere else.

    I’ll be out for a for the rest of the day, so reluctantly I’ve put the thread into moderation for the period.

  37. John

    That and the fact the Monsanto shiny arse CEO is a scientist.

    Karen has a lay down misere hand so far.

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