1. Finished with sex, it’s time for reason
The Australian Sex Party is being closed down to make way for the new Reason Party, in good time for the next federal election.
- Sex Party leader and Victorian MP Fiona Patten says the new party will draw inspiration from recently elected French president and centrist Emmanuel Macron to seek to capitalise on disaffected voters through a broader sweep of policies.
Ms Patten is a former sex worker and lobbyist who founded the Sex Party in 2009, and was elected to the Victorian upper house in 2014.
- Reason, which Ms Patten describes as “relatively centrist” and civil libertarian, will continue to advocate for key Sex Party policies, such as legalisation of illicit drugs, assisted dying laws and same-sex marriage.
But it will also expand into housing affordability, small business, mitigating climate change and an economic policy that privileges the private sector and minimising tax.
Sounds like a good idea, but not one whose time has come. ‘Reason’ just doesn’t sound sexy enough to get anywhere.
Australia may be sliding towards worsening income and wealth inequality, but it has maintained its status as one of the world’s leading opportunity societies, according to a study by Miles Corak, an economics professor at the University of Ottawa. He looked at how much a son’s income depended on how he chose his father. In the graph below, if a son’s income depends entirely on his father’s then the relationship is “1”. The lower the score the more open the economy to opportunity, or intergenerational earnings elasticity, if you like:
So the theory goes.
- the report provides strong evidence that parental wealth matters less in Australia for the future income of children than in most other countries, with the exception of only Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada and South Korea.
Once again, on the things that matter, the Scandinavian countries do well, and the US and UK not so well.
Canada would obviously be a good place to live if it were not for the weather!
3. The funny farm of politics continues
Last week Australian politics descended to the absurd and bizarre. Newspoll delivered Turnbull’s 18th consecutive TPP poll loss, if my counting is correct.The gap widened to 54-46 in favour of Labor, up from 53-47. The headline in the Oz was Voters deliver a brutal verdict on the Coalition.
Not sure why they would get so excited when it was all within the margin of error. If anyone cared to look Essential Report the next day went the other way, from 54-46 to 53-47.
Across both polls The Greens are tracking at about 9, struggling to get back to 10, and One Nation are 9, maybe 8, having peaked at 11 back in June.
So Lee Rhiannon and Pauline Hanson’s antics with the burqa are not making a big difference.
4. Same sex marriage
Newspoll has support for same-sex marriage at 62-32, and Essential at 57-32, so why we need to spend $122 million on an ABS survey that is not scientific is not clear. It’s not to find out what the people think, we already know that.
Newspoll also asked:
- Do you think parliament should provide guarantees in law for freedom of conscience, belief and religion if it legislates for same sex marriage?
Having been asked, 62% said “yes”, and only 18% said “no”.
David Marr says, you’ve got to be kidding, churches don’t need any further protection, and Paul Kelly in particular has got to be kidding:
- “This is the core point,” thundered Paul Kelly in the Australian this weekend. “Will [Malcolm] Turnbull before the next election face the prospect of believers in traditional marriage being penalised or intimidated because his government refused to provide legal protections?”
Well it’s not the core point. Some are trying to change the argument. If anything, we need a human rights bill, but Christopher Pyne, Minister for the defence industry, said:
- any questions about protections for religious freedom would be dealt with by legislation if a majority of Australians voted in support of marriage equality.
Not sure how that un-muddies the waters.
I think the LNP now want this one out of the way before the next election. However, if the High Court challenge against the validity of the postal survey is successful, there could be a damaging internal brawl within the Coalition. Also, as Charis Chang says, the issue may make young people politically active come the next election, which could rebound on the LNP.
Meanwhile Malcolm Turnbull calls for respect:
- “You cannot ask for respect from the No case if you’re not prepared to give respect to the No case,” he said.
And, he says:
“99.9999%” of Australians will conduct public debate on same-sex marriage respectfully despite acknowledging that some campaign material already published has been “hurtful”.
Sorry, Malcolm, it only takes a few nutters to spoil the whole thing, you knew that before you unleashed this monster, and bile is bile. No-one should be asked to respect it.
5. Dual citizenship furore
Somewhere on my desk I have a cutting from the Courier Mail by one of their reliable people, like Dennis Atkins or Paul Syvret, which says that Labor gave Matt Canavan a pair in the senate while he sorted his citizenship eligibility thing out. Presumably on that basis they would have done the same for Barnaby Joyce, and subsequently for Fiona Nash, if they had stood aside.
Abbott set a standard on “pairing” when initially he would not grant the Gillard government pairs, except in exceptional circumstances. So Labor was inclined to play hardball with Turnbull when he claimed a “working” majority after the 2016 election.
Shorten has called for cautious government during this period, offering to consult on any urgent legislation that needed to be passed.
Of course, Turnbull thinks that would give Shorten undeserved credibility, so they pursued their default “kill Bill” default position, by accusing Bill of treason with New Zealand.
That went well!
However, Shorten does have a point, and is clearly mindful of the Section 64 issue where decisions made by officers who turn out to be bogus at the time are rendered invalid.
Any decisions made that upset environmentalists, for example a loan to help Adani build a rail line, could end up in the high court. No doubt there are other potentially litigious areas.
Anne Twomey thinks the High Court’s task is far from easy and is likely to take time. The court could actually be assisted if Tony Windsor puts the case against Joyce.
If Joyce goes down, they can expect no favours from Labor. Peter Hartcher got ahead of himself about the numbers in the lower house. I think only Katter has withdrawn the assurety of supply and confidence.
Phillip Coorey, however, says that war-gaming is happening within Labor. Without Joyce and electing a speaker, the numbers are 74 each on the floor of the house. Labor is said to be looking at forcing a banking royal commission, rescinding weekend penalty rates and other legislation where at least one LNP member is known to be likely to cross the floor.
But this is probably a beat up. To introduce legislation Labor need an absolute majority, that is 76 votes, which is unlikely to happen. On the other hand the government might also struggle to introduce legislation without the help of a couple on the crossbench.
Meanwhile Joyce has received the second most nominations as New Zealander of the Year, and the top nominee has withdrawn after admitting to welfare fraud. The committee will decide!
Seems Canavan has changed his story to one of ‘citizenship by descent’ because of an Italian law change when he was two, leaving his mum out of it. Roberts may be in bigger trouble, as it appears he did not take action to renounce his citizenship until after the election, having lied about it earlier.
6. Abbott blind drunk on the job
Presumably all the LNP members will stay sober, after Abbott was too drunk to show up for a vote back when Turnbull was leader of the opposition. Then he lied about it, so Wayne Swan had to withdraw the allegation in parliament. Now he’s fessed up to Annabel Crabb. What a dope!
One of the votes he missed was Swan’s big GFC stimulus package.