1. Eden-Monaro by-election
The ABC election page has Eden-Monaro too close to call with Labor’s Kristy McBain leading the Liberal Fiona Kotvojs by 50.9 to 49.1 after preferences.
Paddy Manning at The Monthly set up the scene in Southern discomfort: Tomorrow’s result in Eden-Monaro is on a knife edge.
The base-line is that Eden-Monaro has long been a ‘bellweather’ seat, which means that it lines up with the existing government. However, Mike Kelly broke this trend in the last three elections, with a personal following reckoned at about 3%.
So Labor was justified in claiming underdog status, while the Libs point to governments not taking a seat off the opposition in by-elections over the last 100 years.
Phillip Coorey reckons that there would be grumbles within the ALP with a narrow loss, but serious leadership destabilisation with a big loss.
A big issue was help to the region devastated by bushfires, and COVID-19. PM Scott Morrison said voting for Kotvojs would ensure funding. Anthony Albanese said a vote for McBain would remind the Government that they neglect regions like Eden-Monaro at their peril.
ABC funding cuts were an issue, Morrison said, What cuts? giving the lie direct. Albo said Labor would restore the $84 million cuts.
Kotvojs has faced persistent questioning about her past opposition to marriage equality and her reputed climate scepticism, according to Manning. This SBS article shows her equivocating on climate, which is what you do when you are a climate denier and don’t want to wear the tag. Her position allows the the Coalition to adopt pretend policies on climate change.
The Qld Sunday Mail this morning says the result is a “hammer blow to Albo”.
They wish. In two party terms it’s no change. You could say that the loss of Kelly’s personal vote has offset the usual by-election protest vote.
There are two things to see here. First, Albanese is not unelectable, that is, he is electable.
Secondly, Morrison’s applauded performance on COVID has not translated into votes in any unequivocal way.
2. Cormann to retire
Matthias Cormann has announced that he will retire from Parliament from the end of this year.
Cormann’s Wikipedia bio tells us Cormann grew up in a German-speaking district in Belgium. English is his fourth language, after German, French and Flemish.
He’s only 49, having been born in 1970. He came to Autralia, pursuing a love interest with and Australian in 1994. He ended up loving Australia rather than her, and was prepared to work as a gardner when he migrated here in 1996 because his law qualifications were not recognised.
Cormann cold-called Liberal Senator Chris Ellison,
- the chairman of the parliamentary committee on treaties, and asked to work in his office as a volunteer. After two weeks he secured a paid position as a staffer.
After diverse positions he entered the Senate in 2007, and is now the only Coalition minister to have retained the same portfolio from 2013.
On political views:
Cormann is a free market economic and fiscal conservative. As a Senator, in Opposition and in Government, he has been a consistent advocate for lower taxes, smaller government, open markets and free trade.   Within the Liberal Party he is associated with the economic dries.
While Cormann personally opposed same-sex marriage and in 2017 argued “for a postal vote plebiscite to be held before a parliamentary vote on the issue”, after that survey went ahead and found most Australians support same-sex marriage, Cormann chose to vote in favour of the bill legalising same-sex marriage.
Cormann is a constitutional monarchist.
I blame him for a lot that has been wrong about the Coalition’s economic policies.
It is said that he will be followed by Simon Birmingham, who will be followed by Peter Dutton, to see what damage he can wreak there. Morrison could use the opportunity to move Angus Taylor from energy, but it seems Morrison’s head is in the same place. After all it was Morrison who brought the lump of coal into parliament.
That’s according to The Guardian. Here’s the media release from ANU – Three in four people hold negative view of Indigenous people
This is a bit tricky.
- The researchers analysed the “implicit bias” of over 11,000 Australian participants over a 10-year period, and how this can lead to racist attitudes or behaviour.
However, the implicit bias is measured at the perceptual level. It doesn’t mean the 75% of us are racist.
From lead author Australian National University researcher Siddharth Shirodkar:
- “It’s the conscious part, that’s what can cause the discriminatory actions,” he said. “But the reality is if your unconscious bias remains unconscious and unchallenged and you don’t identify it, if you are not even aware of it, then it is potentially weighing on all of your decisions and how you behave.”
The researchers use the Implicit Association Test (IAT):
- Participants are given two sets of images and two lists of words: one with positive associations (“happy”, “love”); the other with negative (“tragedy”, “agony”). The images and words are set to flash up at random on a computer screen, and participants make their selections when the words flash up at the same time as one of the sets of images. Their response times are recorded. The images will be either of black or white people, male or female, young or old, depending on which bias researchers are testing.
The theory is that, depending on our prejudices, we will subconsciously make the link between “male” and “clever”, or “young” and “beautiful”.
When we are asked to make the link between a pair that goes against our implicit associations (for example “old” and “happy”) it will take us fractionally longer to overcome our bias. The longer the time it takes to accept a pairing, the greater our bias.
So it is not the association we make, rather whether we hesitate for a fraction of a second in making it.
Does it apply to me? I wouldn’t know but it wouldn’t surprise me. There were no Aborigines around where I grew up. They had been cleaned out after the Hornet Bank Massacre in 1857.
4. What should we do with statutes of bad white dudes?
The Monthly has an Open letter: Relocate the Captain Cook statue to the City of Sydney, City Arts Program:
- We, the undersigned, are writing to request the relocation of the statue Captain Cook (1879) by Thomas Woolner (1825-1892), currently sited in Sydney’s Hyde Park, to a public museum.
… What Cook represents, his continuing legacy in First Nations peoples’ dispossession and social injustice, perpetuates suffering. Public spaces such as Hyde Park should be welcoming to all. For this reason, and those further outlined below, the statue of Cook should no longer be displayed in the park, but conserved in a public museum.
Then you have from CNN – The 28 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech. Here’s a sample:
4. “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.”
- 9. “In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.”
11. “The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets and cities that are run by liberal Democrats in every case is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions.”
- 12. “Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains.”
Mother Jones has The Five Most Outrageous Things Trump Said at Mt. Rushmore:
- On Friday night, the eve of July 4th, President Trump used another one of his incendiary campaign rallies to stoke the flames of a culture war. In his remarks at the foot of Mount Rushmore, Trump bashed a so-called “left-wing cultural revolution” and “new far-left fascism” while delivering lines that would have been virtually indistinguishable from a script for Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show.
Here’s are some the most absurd, explosive, and outrageous things he said during the speech:
- There is a “new far-left fascism” in “corporate boardrooms.”
Trump claimed, “In our schools, newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language performed rituals recite its mantras and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished.”
Corporate America, of course, has relentlessly pursued tax cuts and backed Republicans to get them.
Trump wants 10-year prison minimums for anyone who defaces statues.
Then he praised “The great Andrew Jackson”:
- Numerous presidents have led ruthless and abhorrent travesties of justice against oppressed groups: extrajudicial drone strike killings, the institution of slavery, Jim Crow. But Andrew Jackson is one of the only ones to have carried out an explicit campaign of ethnic cleansing. He literally signed a bill into law called the Indian Removal Act. Jackson was the linchpin in the Trail of Tears, in which 60,000 Native Americans were forced out of their homes.
And so on.
Trump is becoming increasingly ludicrous, and as such very dangerous. Will he allow a fair election? Will he accept the result if it’s close and involves a large number of postal votes?
The electoral college formal vote could be the crucial point. I don’t think the armed forces will go against what happens there.
Meanwhile Verity Platt in the Scientific American looks at Why People Are Toppling Monuments to Racism:
I encourage my students to think of them as ideological powerhouses: physical objects that compress whole systems of authority into bodies of bronze or marble. Elevated on bases and columns, accompanied by inscriptions and framed by grand, civic architecture, they enshrine the deeds of the men (and it is usually men) that they represent. It is no accident that monuments commemorating the defenders and beneficiaries of slavery draw directly on traditions inherited directly from other slave societies—those of Ancient Greece and Rome. Nor that classical marble statuary is synonymous with the celebration of whiteness.
Elsewhere the words of Cato in Only Bad Dudes Want Statues in the First Place.