That’s what Paddy Manning says:
- It makes no sense whatsoever for the prime minister to appoint Ken Wyatt as the first Indigenous minister for Indigenous Australians, give him his head on a bipartisan approach to a referendum in a major speech at the National Press Club, then, within 48 hours, veto the one position about which those who devised the Uluru Statement from the Heart feel most strongly about – namely, a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice to parliament.
He says it is yet “another example of the same diabolical policy-wrecking dynamic we’ve seen over the last five years from the Coalition, in which the conservative wing maintains the upper hand because it is most willing to have a hissy fit and, if it comes to it, threaten the government’s narrow majority.”
Scott Morrison could do a deal with Labor, the Greens and the rest of the crossbench, but he won’t. If he doesn’t at some stage, he’ll do no better than Malcolm Turnbull who effectively turned himself into a climate denier so he could keep the party together.
Professor Anne Twomey, constitutional lawyer, said the Uluru Statement never intended a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice to Parliament that would ‘dictate or instruct or insist’. Under the constitution it simply can’t be a third chamber of parliament, and to say it could is nonsense. Why anyone listens to Craig Kelly is a mystery.
I think the Labor states will have to make moves that people become comfortable with. As John D has linked, the Queensland Government has announced a ‘conversation’ to formalise an Indigenous treaty.
Victoria is creating an elected body “230 years in the making”:
- First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria will be a not-for-profit company with 33 elected representatives from five voting areas – four in regional Victoria and the fifth in metropolitan Melbourne – whose role will be to negotiate a framework for a treaty.
Linda Burney says the voice to parliament has to be enshrined in the Constitution so that it cannot be as easily abolished as ATSIC was by John Howard in 2005. Then she reminded everybody why the voice is necessary:
- “On every single social rung – it doesn’t matter whether it’s health outcomes, education outcomes, overcrowding, domestic violence, life expectancy – Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are on the bottom rung. And that is because there has not been Aboriginal people at the table helping design the legislation and advise on legislation and programs. And that’s what this voice is actually about.”
2. ‘Last chance’ tourism at Uluru
As the Uluru climb closure looms tourists are in a scramble to climb the rock, swamping the infrastructure and making a frightful mess.
Here’s the rock in all its splendour:
We were there in 2014. My wife and I did the base walk, about 10 km around the rock, and saw sites like this:
To climb the rock you have to walk right past a large sign asking you not to.
Bad karma, I think.
3. Are we all millionaires?
Well, no. According to an ABS survey reported in the AFR (pay-walled) mean household wealth is now over a million:
Median wealth per household at $558,900 is around half the average, and on average there are 2.6 people in every household.
- The wealthiest 20 per cent of households still hold more than 60 per cent of household wealth, now averaging $3.2 million per household in that quintile.
The AFR actually doesn’t tell us how the bottom dwellers are getting on, but inequality of wealth is only up a bit, probably due to house prices, which is where much of the wealth resides:
House prices peaked in 2017, but surged as much as 70 per cent in the preceding five years.
Income inequality is not growing, according to the survey.
The Gini coefficient came in at 0.328 for equivalised disposable household income figures, down from 0.336 about 10 years ago. However, income has been flat for about 10 years:
Our lifestyle is nevertheless expanding, as households with debt levels of at least three times income increased to 28.4 per cent from 23.4 per cent.
The percentage of households with debt remained about the same – it rose slightly over the decade to 72.8 per cent from 72.2 per cent.
So having voted in a government supposedly with a plan to make us all better off, if we’ll have a go, we sail on into the future.
3. Quiggin sees a three party system after the election
Quiggin has it sorted, it seems. For some time he’s been writing about:
the global emergence of a three party system, consisting of (a) the Trumpist right, (b) a green-socialist-social democratic left and (c) the remains of the former consensus between hard and soft versions of neoliberalism.
He thinks Scott Morrison has shown his true colours in how he has treated Ken Wyatt. He’s anchored in the Trumpist right.
Labor has “collapsed completely” and Albanese has taken Labor to the right, leaving the Greens as “the only party supporting a recognisably left, or even social-democratic position” so they will inherit that space if they can stop fighting each other.
The problem for me is that I don’t know what all these words mean. My son Mark questions whether neoliberalism is a thing at all.
Respectfully, I can’t see how Labor has collapsed. Having lost a policy-rich election, Labor would do well to review its policies. It still has a platform, which will be reconsidered at the next national conference, due in 2021.
Finally, I can’t see how Albo is more to the right than Shorten. I had it figured the other way around. To me he seems more viscerally committed to the well-being of the marginalised and dispossessed, but thankfully has abandoned class warfare rhetoric. Also Albo and Shorten are not the only people in the Labor sandpit.
Charles Richardson in Two views on realignment looks at Quiggin’s analysis, and uses other analysts to chop and stir the stew. On Quiggin, he says mainstream conservatives are losing ground electorally, and are moving towards Trumpism:
- This suggests that the current three-party system might rapidly resolve itself into a new two-party system: Trumpists against everyone else, with the remnants of the old neoliberal duopoly being forced to take sides.
Robertson says the realignment:
- started 30 years ago, when the collapse of the Soviet empire rendered traditional socialism obsolete and kicked away some of the main props of the left-right spectrum.
Since then, parties of both left and right have been looking for new causes. The former have found them, somewhat hesitantly, in liberalism and cosmopolitanism; the latter have found them, rather more enthusiastically, in reactionary nationalism.
- But old attitudes die hard. Many on the left still cling to something like socialism, and some will even make their peace with xenophobia in exchange. Many on the right still see themselves as warriors for freedom, refighting the Cold War, and believe they can square the circle by marrying market liberalism with Trumpism.
There’s no limit to the strange ideological combinations that people can bring themselves to believe. But the dynamics of political competition tend to drive systems towards bipolarity: realignment may still have some way yet to run.
Food for thought. Globalisation, I think, peaked economically, around the turn of the century, but persists in ‘free’ trade negotiations and the corporate power of giant multinationals. However, the movement of peoples, which will increase dramatically as climate change bites, has revived the nation state and nationalism.