One election coming up

Laura Tingle virtually announced on the 7.30 Report that Scott Morrison would be heading to Yarralumla tomorrow to kick off the election campaign. All the signs around Parliament House were pointing in that direction.

It’s almost bound to be 18 May. In any case it will be called by the end of the coming weekend, so I thought I’d do a short post so that we can compare notes here.

Back before the 2010 election Laura Tingle famously said:

    There are two possible explanations for how an opposition presenting itself as an alternative government could end up with an $11 billion hole in the cost of its election commitments.

    One is that they are liars, the other is that they are clunkheads. Actually there is a third explanation: they are liars and clunkheads.

    But whatever the combination, they are not fit to govern. (Emphasis added)

That was Joe Hockey, Andrew Robb and Tony Abbott. I revisited Tingle’s call in 2013, and again in 2015.

I was reminded of Tingle’s frank comment after Kristina Keneally’s take-down of the ScoMo’s comments on Labor’s electric vehicle policy. However, it would be flattering to call this lot liars and clunkheads. They open their mouths and ridiculous rubbish comes out. That rubbish is picked up and seriously repeated as news by ABC radio.

It is impossible under these circumstances to have any debate on policy. If you listen to Chris Bowen talking to Patricia Karvelas or read his Press Club speech, there are two clear alternatives for voters to contemplate. I guess if you put an advertising man in the PMs chair you can probably expect to get what we are getting.

Kevin Bonham has the consolidated opinion polls at 51.9 to Labor TPP. I think it means we have a contest, to be won or lost.

Finally, if you have a spare 54 minutes, I’d recommend listening to Paul Barclay’s interview with Judith Brett – How Australia got its unique system of voting and elections. She has written a book, From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage.

She says the first elections were not particularly secret. Voting was often done in a pub. Only substantial male property owners could vote, and candidates bribing the actual voters was normal. A voter would then make his vote in public, loudly proclaiming who he was voting for.

At first all names were on the ballot paper and the voter crossed off the ones he did not want to choose. A public servant in SA invented the square next to the name, which then facilitated preferential voting.

Queensland, we are told, first introduced elections on Saturday, still not the case in many parts of the world.

Brett thinks compulsory voting, also rare around the world, is here to stay. She reminds us that John Howard was not in favour of universal health services as in Medicare. She thinks that if we did not have compulsory voting Medicare would never have survived. Under universal suffrage and compulsory voting, the needs of poor, the dispossessed and the old cannot be ignored completely.

She thinks that the USA cannot be called a democracy while they have the states in charge of the voting system.

We gave votes to women second after NZ, but there was a time before WW1 when the “Australian system” was a model for the world.

So we have much to be thankful for, if we could only find some more grownups to stand for parliament.

9 thoughts on “One election coming up”

  1. Do we deserve better?
    It’s a hard question to consider.

    But not too much shoulder-shrugging on this blog; reassuring, and only a start in a better direction.

  2. So we have much to be thankful for, if we could only find some more grownups to stand for parliament.

    Not going to happen in my opinion, I can only see grownupism declining in future.

    Perhaps not giving these non- grownups ever increasing power, control and intrusion rights into our lives would help.

    At least consider it for a moment.

  3. At least consider it for a moment.

    Ah yes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
    I have considered it for some considerable time and I can’t for the life of me think of anything I want to do that is restricted in any way by government of any level.
    Perhaps you could share your particular yoke of oppression with us.

  4. The U.S. cannot be called a democracy but not because the circus is run by the states – that in itself shouldn’t disqualify the U.S., inefficient though their system is – but because hard cold ,cash buys the right candidates, because thousands and thousands of worthy but potentially troublesome citizens are disenfranchised at every election, either at so-called registration or at the ballot box itself and because once elected, the legislators’ loyalty is always to their party and its manipulators, not to the citizenry – and if the citizenry do get a little of what they want or need then it is because the legislators have been ordered to give it to them. As for the U.S. being a republic, what a joke. The poor bloody Yanks haven’t had an outstanding president since Eisenhower – though Kennedy wasn’t bad – and they haven’t had a president since Carter. What they’ve had for the past four decades is a series of elected kings (or emperors). The Doges of the old Venetian Empire would blush with shame and disbelief if they knew what shenanegans the Yankee Emperors and their courtiers get up to these days.

    That said, there is very little we can be proud of. Yes, we do have Universal Suffrage, Permanent Electoral Rolls and Compulsory Voting; excellent concepts – but such a pity they are not enforced with any vigour, and, so long as the sun rises in the east and rain falls downwards (most of the time, anyway) the political will to enforce them with real vigour won’t ever exist. If these three fundamental aspects of our electoral system were ever to become more than a token effort, polling places would be swamped by inconvenient, unpredictable and undesirable voters – and who knows what that would lead to?

    I shan’t mention political leadership – we haven’t got much at all. Maybe we could ask the Botswanan or the Slovenian or the Costa Rican governments if they wouldn’t mind lending us some of their political leaders – if they’re not to busy. Please ….

    A worrying thing around here is the circulating urban myth that if we all vote informal, the Electoral Commission with have to hold a fresh election with a whole new batch of candidates. Yeah, right – and the Easter Bunny will give them lots of lollies too.

    I shall vote – but not according to any HTV card nor in response to any promises and scares on TV.

  5. Perhaps think more.
    If possible.

    Pretty cheap cop out from the person who demands others provide E…Vid…Ence. But I’ll take it as confirmation there is no level of government exerting control over you.

  6. I was horrified at the withdrawal of Melissa Parke’s candidacy for election.

    She expressed strong views on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Her opinion was based on her own personal and professional experience of the Middle East – and not, I believe, on any anti-Semitism nor on any ignorance nor on any bigotry. Australia is in desperate need of parliamentarians who have the courage to call a spade, a spade. so as to counter-balance all the grovelers and cash-for-comment yes-men who now infest our parliaments.

    I happen to disagree with parts of her opinions – but she is entitled to her opinions – and my fellow citizens and I are entitled to ours, whether or not our opinions are in accord with those of Melissa Parke. This is what should happen in a robust democracy – and strong and contentious opinions are given free rein Israel’s Knesset so why not here in Australia too?.

    As for the triumphal crowing of that Jewish spokesman at the news: what an idiot! His timing was terrible, coming as it has so soon after the ABC 4 Corners and Fairfax exposure of blatant foreign influence in Australian politics. I hope he was not in his cups when he committed that folly – and good luck to the whole Jewish Board Of Deputies in their attempts to dismantle the impression, false though it may be, that Jerusalem now orders the A.L.P. around.

  7. Posted midnight yesterday morning at the SMH is an article by Nicole Hasham headlined Experts find ‘integrity issues’ with Coalition’s direct action policy. It begins with:

    A panel of government-appointed experts has uncovered “integrity issues” with the Coalition’s flagship climate change policy, triggering a warning that some of the emission reductions claimed by Australia may not be genuine.

    The findings relate to the Abbott-era Emissions Reduction Fund, established in 2014 to replace Labor’s so-called “carbon tax”. The Morrison government extended the fund in February with a $2 billion injection of taxpayer funds, and renamed it the Climate Solutions Fund.

    Should we be surprised?

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