1. NAIDOC Week 2019
It’s NAIDOC Week 2019 this week, with the theme VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH.
NITV has a timeline for the development of NAIDOC and there is more at Wikipedia. Seems that a Day of Mourning was initiated on 27 January 1937 as a protest against 150 years of callous treatment and the seizure of land through British colonisation. It was initiated by a letter written by William Cooper on behalf of the Australian Aborigines Progressive Association, an umbrella group for a number of Aboriginal justice movements. The practice developed of having a day of mourning every year on the Sunday before Australia Day.
From 1957 the date was changed from January to July and The National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) was formed. The first Sunday in July became a day of remembrance and celebration for Aboriginal people and heritage.
Then in 1991 NADOC became NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) to recognise Torres Strait Islanders and to describe a whole week of recognition, rather than one day.
Anthony Albanese offered to work with Morrison on climate and the Uluru Statement inter alia.
According to Laura Tingle, there was a spark of optimism in the first week of Parliament:
She talks about the various ceremonies on opening day of the parliament, including welcome to country, and:
- it feels like the pressure is building for something to finally happen.
The presence of Indigenous people in the senior ranks of both sides of the Parliament changes the dynamics. The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are probably the best-matched twosome in terms of pragmatic politics we have seen for some time.
The meeting of the two men on the first day of sitting to discuss possible areas of common ground on thorny issues, from Indigenous recognition to press freedom, was important.
The parliament will work better with Tony Abbott gone and Barnaby Joyce consigned to the back bench. Bipartisanship might just break out from time to time. These two might even work together:
Can’t see Angus Taylor working with anyone who doesn’t agree with him, however.
I believe ScoMo told the troops not to talk about religion, and the religious freedom/discrimination legislation in one matter he wants settled on a bipartisan basis. Good call, I think.
2. Shaking down the money tree
That was the title of the dead tree version of Andrew Tillett’s article on the great tax cut schmozzle in the AFR (no doubt pay-walled):
- Call it South Australia’s and Tasmania’s revenge. Long derided as economic laggards and political backwaters, the first week of the new Parliament demonstrated these two states are now enjoying a super-sized role in Canberra’s corridors of power and it’s one the rest of the country had better get used to.
There was no bipartisanship on this one. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation would not play, so the SA Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff together with Jacqui Lambie from Tasmania were happy to oblige – at a price.
They are complaining about lack of influence and attention, because Tasmania has only five seats in the HRH, and SA 10. For perspective, the Gold Coast has seven, and the Sunshine Coast three.
This is what the government wanted approved:
I think earners on less than $45K pa are seen as leaners, and undeserving. The more you have, the more encouragement you get.
Lambie wanted the Commonwealth to forgive Tasmania’s $157 million debt for social housing as a way to ease the state’s homelessness crisis. All the government promised was to work through the issue with the Tasmanian state government. They may settle for waiving the interest, which costs Tasmania $15 million each year.
In the process Lambie has shown that tax breaks for the well-off trump helping people sleeping on the street in Tasmania’s winter in ScoMo land.
Patrick and Griff are focussed on gas prices, because gas supplies about half SA’s electricity, and largely determines the price. They want $7 a gigajoule. What they got was a timetable for steps the government will take, such as tightening the Domestic Gas Security Mechanism.
Not everyone thinks that will turn out well. Below a certain price gas producers find other things to do, so supply may be a problem.
Everyone seems to have a different idea about what Labor should have done. What they did was try to bring forward the first tranche of real tax cuts, not due until 2022-23, which is actually after the next election, in order to stimulate the sagging economy.
And then they waived the whole thing through when it was clear the government had the numbers, to avoid being accused of standing between a voter and a tax cut. While signalling that to promise cuts so big so far ahead was grossly irresponsible.
3. Labor begins post mortem
Journalists seem to think Labor, having lost the unlosable election, is tearing itself to bits, looking to find and remake itself into something presentable.
Certainly it has initiated a review, and National Secretary Noah Carroll has resigned, as he should after running a losing campaign.
- Other members of the committee are Linda White, an official of the Australian Services Union; Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm, a former state secretary; John Graham, a member of the NSW upper house and a former state assistant general secretary, and Lenda Oshalem, formerly an official in the Western Australian branch of the party.
However, the party still has a good team, and has a National Platform which runs to 310 pages, which has a chapter on climate change, energy and the environment. Mark Butler has recently said this to members:
- Labor’s approach to climate change policy will continue to be guided by the best science available, and be underpinned by Labor values of equity and fairness. Our approach will focus on the development of policies that will not only cut pollution, but ensure we maximise the jobs and economic opportunities of modernising our economy.
In contrast, the Liberal and National parties have paid nothing more than lip service to real climate action. Their approach to climate change is best demonstrated not by their rhetoric, but by their actions, including a commitment to provide taxpayer funding support for coal fired power.
So what that means for policy remains to be seen.
Peter Lewis thinks, it’s the economy stupid, and the way back for Labor is through children’s rights.
4. Brexit and Corbyn killed the Labour Party!
The latest YouGov poll shows that, for the first time ever, Labour has fallen into fourth place with just 18% of the vote. The Conservative’s lead on 24%, with the Brexit party on 23%, the Lib Dems on 20%, Labour on 18% and the Green’s on 9%:
- In the most recent poll 57% of Labour 2017 voters now say they would vote for another party, with 28% going to the Lib Dems, 15% moving to the Greens and 10% moving to the Brexit party.
Meanwhile 47% of Conservative 2017 voters also now say they will vote for another party, with most of that (38%) going to the Brexit party and a further 6% moving to the Lib Dems.
However, this most recent poll could be the first sign of a recovery for the Conservatives. They are now on their highest share of the vote since before the European Parliament election, possibly due to their pending transition to a new leader.
If the UK had preferential voting, it’s worth noting that Brexit and the Conservatives have a combined 47%, the same as the combined next three. In our system the 6% Other could determine who wins, which is one reason why the Brits will stick with first past the post.
Only 19% now have a favourable view of Corbyn, compared to 70% who don’t. Boris Johnson takes the cake with a 34/57 split.
I have heard it said that if Johnson becomes PM, expect Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal, then an election will be called the next day to deal with the emergency.
5. Dalai Lama blooper?
You probably heard the story The Dalai Lama Still Thinks a Woman Successor Would Need to Be Hot and wondered why his holiness had taken leave of his senses.
There was a discussion about this on Mark’s Facebook with some people who seriously knew stuff about Eastern thought and Buddhism.
First up, the Dalai Lama does not speak for all Tibetan Buddhists, let alone all Buddhists.
However, sexuality is considered differently in Buddhist thought compared to modern Western ideas. Put simply, whatever their stripe, they missed out on the narrowing of Victorian attitudes to sex, and consider sexuality as permeating life in general. It would be quite normal to talk about the sexual attractiveness and characteristics of leaders of whatever gender.
So it was not a slip of the tongue.
People might like to have a listen to Esther Perel: finding the erotic in everyday life. I found it thought-provoking, to say the least.