Election over: down to work

David Rowe, irrepressible cartoonist for the AFR, saw the election this way:

So out with the old and in with the new:

There is a lot of diversity and talent in those 23 bright shining faces. When new PM Anthony Albanese addressed the new caucus, the mood was a bit like a revivalist meeting, but outlining a large agenda of work to do.

One thing I noticed – for months and months the general media, the ABC, expert commentary and just about everyone has been telling us about Labor’s small target, lack of vision and lack of policy differentiation from the Coalition. If you listen to ABC RN’s PM reporting on the above speech, about 3:15 into the segment David Lipson refers to Labor’s “raft of big election promises”.

Strange he saw things completely differently before the election.

So here is the ministry from the AFR:

The official media release is here.

I understand the Cabinet is listed in order of seniority.

The ministry is picked by the factions, but has to be spread across the states, and aspires to gender equality, with the portfolios allocated by the leader, except the deputy pretty much has choice of portfolio. I believe 14 of the 23 in Cabinet have had ministerial experience in the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years.

On gender, a record 10 of 23 in Cabinet are women, in the Outer Ministry it’s three from seven, plus six from 12 assistant ministers. That makes 19 from 42, or 45%.

So all up a little over 40% of the 103 Labor parliamentarians are in the ministry.

Here are three commentaries by women:

Some highlights:

  • Linda Burney has been freed up to work solely on Indigenous Australians, with help from Assistant Minister Malarndirri McCarthy. Pat Dodson has been made Special Envoy for Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement.
  • Tanya Plibersek has been switched from Education to Environment and Water. Some see this as a demotion. With Amelia Young at The Guardian, I’d see it as a promotion of the environment.

    Looking at the list, the first seven are regulation in terms of seniority, given that Marles as deputy has chosen Defence. Plibersek as third of the rest is arguably about right, I think. The Coalition treated the environment badly. Scrapping recovery plans for 176 threatened species and habitats on the way out was par for the course. On water, it is probably better for someone not involved to look at the Murray Darling, which has, it must be said, received a major boost in funding, presumably at the behest of the former government.

  • Chris Bowen with Climate Change and Energy will be busy. Albanese has said that he hopes his abiding legacy will be through the remaking of Australia through our efforts on climate. Bowen will be formally assisted by Jenny McAllister. Wikipedia gives the real story.

    McAllister was born and raised in Murwillumbah, attended the University of Queensland from 1992–1995, majoring in Politics and Government, and the University of Sydney, from which she graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours, majoring in Political Economy, Politics and Government.

    In 2003 she she co-founded the Labor Environment Activist Network with Kristina Keneally.

      Between 2006 and 2010, she served as the Director of Climate Change, Air and Noise Policy within the New South Wales Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water. She subsequently joined AECOM Australia Pty Ltd as Strategic Advisor Water and Climate (2010–2013), progressing to Technical Director – Infrastructure Advisory (2013–2014) and was Managing Director, Water and Urban Development (2014–2015) and a member of AECOM’s ANZ executive when she resigned to join the Senate.

    As senator she replaced John Faulkner. Along the way she served as National President of the ALP from 2011 to 2015.

    Apart from that Pat Conroy, who continues to carry the International Development and the Pacific outer ministry always sounds sensible and informed on climate, plus Penny Wong and Mark Butler who have done work on climate in the past.

    Without going into great detail about how climate policy will develop with the Teal members and the Greens, climate will be central to politics from now on, along with pressing matters like housing and cost of living.

    Labor plans, headlined as Powering Australia include:

      Re-establish leadership by restoring the role of the Climate Change Authority, while keeping decision-making and accountability with Government and introducing new annual Parliamentary reporting by the Minister.

    Countries are expected to ramp up their ambition in providing targets for 2035 to take to COP27 in Egypt at the end of this year. That should provide an opportunity to pivot in order to satisfy the ambition of the Teals if not the Greens.

  • Other interesting moves include the elevation of Murray Watt as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, plus Minister for Emergency Management, the election of Dr Anne Aly as Minister for Early Childhood, and Youth, plus early planning for Australia to cope with the prospect of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, becoming Queen Consort. So Republic has been given as a duty to Assistant Minister Matt Thistlethwaite.

    Watt does not have a rural background, but few Labor members do. Apparently he has relatives in provincial Queensland, and has been most assiduous in visiting all parts of Queensland as a senator.

    According to Wikipedia, Aly was born Azza Mahmoud Fawzi Hosseini Ali el Serougi in Egypt, has lived in three australian states, lived and studied in Egypt:

      Aly was a professor, lecturer and academic specialising in counter-terrorism, and she is considered a global authority on understanding how and why young people are drawn into violent extremism. Aly founded People Against Violent Extremism (PaVE) to address extremism in Australia.
  • Finally, for an incoming government, the economic team is clearly the best-credentialled we have ever had. I’ll gives the Wikipedia links for Dr Jim Chalmers, Senator Katy Gallagher, and Dr Andrew Leigh.

    Prior to the election, I think it was Bernard Keane who said that Chalmers had had more experience putting budgets together than any other Federal parliamentarian, including Josh Frydenberg, having worked for Wayne Swan. Leigh was a principal advisor in Treasury when the GFC hit. Gallagher has an impressive record in ACT politics, having been chief minister.

    Now they have been joined by Dr Andrew Charlton, Rhodes Scholar and Oxford PhD, who co-authored a book with Jo Stiglitz, and was chief economics advisor to Kevin Rudd during the GFC.

  • The task before them is genuinely daunting, with Peter Martin suggesting Australia’s biggest economic threat isn’t home-grown. It’s a recession, originating in the United States, Alan Kohler saying Jim Chalmers needs an inquiry into tax and David Leitch says Australia’s electricity markets are on crack: It’s time to do something.

    Chalmers has shown interest in measuring progress by well-being rather than GDP, has thought about ‘univeral basic income’ and has indicated he is up for a conversation as to how we should collectively pay for the conditions and services necessary for a dignified life.

    Economist Steve Hamilton tells us Why Labor should leave bold reform for term two

      Albanese doesn’t have the political capital to burn that Howard did in 1998. A good, solid first-term agenda for Labor would be to deliver on its commitments, fix the budget and sort out climate change.

    A shame it is pay-walled. He says:

      The risk for Labor on taking government is never doing too little, but rather doing too much.

      And the cautious and pragmatic leadership Albo showed both as leader of the house and as opposition leader may, in an unexpected way, be exactly the approach the country needs coming out of a once-in-a-century pandemic buffeted by global economic and geostrategic headwinds. A steady hand on the tiller.

      With that in mind, the new government’s focus should first and foremost be on restoring good government – to rebuild state capacity, to deliver on political integrity, to keep faith with the Australian people by delivering on the agenda it promised them.

    Economist John Quiggin asks Will a Labor majority stunt climate action? If the government wants a second term, more climate ambition is essential.

    Quiggin fails to see the opportunity presented by the Climate Change Authority, which is strange given that he was a member of the initial panel.

    For me the most apposite was Richard Dennis in The Monthly piece A defeat for the true deceivers

      Labor may only have a slim majority of members of parliament, but it has a policy agenda that is supported by an overwhelming majority of that parliament. Albanese is right to insist he will focus on the changes he has already promised, and the Greens and independents are right to insist that they are in parliament to push for even more. The whole point of parliament is to thrash out such conflicts in public. If done well, it’s likely that voters will get a lot more good policies than they are used to, while the Liberals – or what remains of them – fight over the fruits of failure.

      By focusing on issues with overwhelming public and parliamentary support, a Labor government has the opportunity not just to deliver big reforms but also to reset the public’s faith in the role of government as a force for good. It may even restore faith in democracy itself.


      The next three years will not be easy, and they will not be without scandal or conflict or partisan politics. But whatever the problems that come Labor and Australia’s way, they will be addressed by a parliament with a super-majority of support for solving some of the biggest problems we face. If Anthony Albanese focuses on solving big issues, he has the opportunity to permanently change the identity not just of swinging voters, but of Australia.

    In sum, return civility to government, get parliament working again as a collaborative, deliberative body to face issues at hand to build a sustainable future, rather than a political contest for power.

    23 thoughts on “Election over: down to work”

    1. bilb, she is not a banana bender, rather the bit that gets left off the map at times!

      Here’s her official site, but Wikipedia is more interesting.

      She has worked mainly within politics and government, and has worked for a lot of politicians. Of interest, though, she started life in public housing, and has served for Rudd and Gillard as a minister, indeed on one occasion in Cabinet. She has already been Minister for Housing and Homelessness in the second Gillard ministry.

      Likely knows her way around.

    2. Its a bit hard from Wikipedia to tell what Jullie Collins Job title is.
      She is listed as minister for Housing and Homelessness, then at the bottom the position is abolished. Maybe the page needs updating.

      I’ve started improving my “Ozarini” house model to fully populate the garden spaces to better convey the potential of this housing concept. I have to “buy” some plants, 3D model plants, and a household of cyber furniture.

    3. Bilb, from the media release, Collins is Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness, Minister for Small Business.

      I guess she might run those together on her letterhead.

      She’s in Cabinet, next after Jason Clare, so would rate as ‘senior’.

    4. Three items worth following up.

      First, Paul Erickson in Labor campaign chief’s eight reasons Coalition lost election – from attacking states to ignoring women.

      This was reporting on his National Press Club speech today (Wednesday). Can’t find the video, but should be on Iview. In answer to a question he gave a succinct character reference of Adam Bandt as a politician.

      Second, Peter Lewis says Albanese has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore civility to Australian politics. According to Essential Poll he’s made a decent start.

      Much will depend, however, on how others in parliament respond. I can easily see him having civilised interaction with the independents. For the way the Liberals Nats and Greens have started, the political carping will be to the fore.

      This is a point Fred Chaney makes when Phillip Adams interviewed him along with Judith Brett and Troy Bramston in What happened to the Liberal Party of Menzies?

      Chaney says parliament has become too much about politics rather than governance. He puts a lot of blame on John Howard.

      It’s well worth a listen – the best of the three.

    5. Last night I got diverted by two big items:

      Climate Analytics report – Fossil gas: a bridge to nowhere

      OECD countries need to phase out the use of coal by 2030 and gas by 2035 if we are to meet the Paris goals. Gas needs to be gone everywhere by 2045.

      Secondly, compelling watching – ABC Q&A

      The panellists were Chris Bowen, Minister for Energy and Climate Change; Zoe Daniel, Independent member for Goldstein; Saul Griffith, Inventor, author, and scientist; Sarah McNamara, Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Council; and Tony Wood, Energy and Climate Change Program Director, Grattan Institute.

      Watching this will almost certainly shift how you see the path forward. It was also notable in that the program was ‘truth seeking’ rather the aiming for ‘political balance.

      So missing were the Greens and the Coalition. As it happened while all this was going on Adam Bandt had been telling us via a presser that we had to nationalise the whole energy system, which had been set up to maximise corporate profits.

      Earlier he had been saying we should just stop propping up old coal-fired power and simply install more renewables.

      So he is in favour of blackouts for the next couple of years while we do all that. Saul Griffith, the engineer, said you could do stuff quickly, but it takes probably 10 years to fix the system.

      Dutton had been telling all that the present crisis had nothing to do with what the Libs had done or more particularly not done for nine years. The whole discussion would have been degraded with the inclusion of either or both.

      Both are dealing themselves out of sensible discussion which recognise that we are where we are and have to start from there. We also have to do things that are doable.

      The real killer here, is that 1.5C is a dud aim, because it means really bad weather, no coral reefs outside a few refugia and the sea will keep rising. All that together with the notion that most scientists talked to by New Scientist in a recent article I haven’t linked to yet said that limiting temperatures to 1.5c was not in fact doable.

      Anyway, have a read and a listen, be very afraid, and then think what we do now as well as longer term.

      I think it means that if we don’t treat climate like a world war emergency soon the planet is going to be seriously depopulated during the next century or two.

    6. Brian: “Adam Bandt had been telling us via a presser that we had to nationalise the whole energy system, which had been set up to maximise corporate profits.”
      Adam is old enough to remember when Kennet? privatized the Vic power system on the grounds that this would reduce power costs. Funny thing prices went up despite what right wing beliefs say.
      Part of the current crisis is caused by the crazy spot price marketing system that is supposed to keep our power systems running properly. Our new government had to step in to stop power companies gaming the system.
      Me I like the ACT system that has used contracts for the supply of clean electricity to get very high levels of renewable power.

    7. John, personally I think the electricity production/distribution system is a natural monopoly which works best when it stays that way, and reason is applied to the processes.

      The introduction of privatisation and competition moving to a national system had it’s genesis in COAG back in 1996. It was one of the Keating era’s last and worst gifts.

      It took until 2009 to set the thing up under the aegis of the COAG Energy Council, which was destroyed when Morrison introduced National Cabinet instead.

      So ESB, AEMO, AEC and AER used to answer to the COAG Energy Council, and are now motherless, but I think exist under NEM Law, which is drafted in SA and then replicated in the jurisdictions of the other participating political entities – I mean the states involved (plus ACT), not sure whether the Feds role is legally defined, but someone should sort all this out.

      Presently Chris Bowen has called it an Energy Ministers Meeting, and has included NZ for some reason, and the CEO’s of the NEM tribe (AEMO et al) were in the room.

      The problem now is that a lot of stuff is owned by corporates, including internationals, so you have to start from where you are.

      I’ll explain some other time that no-one was gaming the system. They were trying to stay alive commercially and limit how much money they were losing, although it was basically a cash flow problem. It’s a problem when when it costs over $700 per MWh and you get $300 then the rest after you make application and wait up to 6 months under a system you’ve never used before.

      Under command they got $400 straight up, and I gather the recompensation route was smoother and more assured.

      The ACT system I suspect works because it is small. There is no storage in the NEM system.

      Sorry, Giles Parkinson can’t see properly beyond the Tweed when he looks north.

    8. John, you may have seen this from The Conversation – 5 policy decisions from recent history that led to today’s energy crisis.

      You may recall there was a wide-ranging move to privatisation involving Commonwealth bank, TAA, Qantas, Telstra etc. Kennett was indeed an enthusiastic proponent, but not on his own.

      The article links to this interesting Australia Institute study – Electricity and privatisation: What happened to those promises?

      Scroll down a bit to reveal an astonishing graph. Electricity prices rose by 50% in the decade from 1999, then really took off!

    9. There has been a kerfuffle about HESTA super fund members (930,000 members, $68 billion assets) mainly health workers, divesting because the fund still invests in fossil fuel companies.

      Market Forces has run the campaign. 130 investors are pulling the plug by switching to another fund. See Hesta members pledge to ditch super fund over fossil fuel investments and in the AFR Option to divest is not always best, HESTA tells activists.

      HESTA claim that selling is easy, they would rather use their shareholding power to change company behaviour, and claim they have been leading the way. Both views were put on this ABC audio segment (4m 8 sec).

      I can see it both ways, but the main concern is about Santos and Woodside. Both claim virtue in that there Scope 1 and 2 emissions are said to be offset.

      However, it looks like both are going full bore to make as much out of gas as they can. Looks like greenwashing to me ending with climate grief and stranded assets.

      Bloomberg Green has noted a company claiming credit for Scope 4 emissions reduction.

      That’s new, and, no it isn’t official. The company is claiming credit for encouraging customers to save emissions, no doubt while creating emissions using their products and services.

      Sounds a con. More greenwashing?!

    10. I’ve just checked the investment metrics for Woodside and Santos. In both cases the current share price is about where it was in 2005. In both cases earnings and dividends have been roughly flat for the last 10 years.

      So as investments, both are duds. HESTA would do better by putting members’ money elsewhere.

    11. Philip Sutton, inspiring Australian activist who sounded climate emergency alarm has died suddenly at the age of 71.

      Sutton with David Spratt wrote a piece The Big Melt in late 2007, when the Arctic ice cover took a deep dive in September that year. Before James Hansen in December 2007 proclaimed 350ppm of CO2 as what we should aim for, Spratt and Sutton suggested 320ppm.

      The Big Melt became Part 1 of the book Climate Code Red: the Case for Emergency Action which prompted the site Climate Code Red, where David Spratt, Ian Dunlop and others have been warning us ever since.

      They were suggesting a world war scale effort back then, which was characterised as urgent and feasible, not just to ‘avoid the worst’ of climate effects, but to achieve a safe climate.

      Philip Sutton did his best. We would best honour him by taking his work seriously.

    12. This is a summary of an article from the Australian by Roy Morgan:

        The Australian – Page 5 : 24 June 2022
        Original article by Greg Brown
        Roy Morgan Summary

        Research shows that just 26.2 per cent of people with a university degree voted for the Coalition at the 2022 federal election. In contrast, 36.5 per cent of university graduates voted for Labor and 24.6 per cent voted for the Greens.

        The Australian National University survey has also found that 27.6 per cent of people who did not complete high school voted for Labor, while 47.1 per cent of this cohort voted for the Coalition.

        Meanwhile, former prime minister Scott Morrison scored an average voter rating of just 3.6 out of 10, while former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce had a rating of three out of 10.

      This means that 12.7% of degreed people voted Other, as did 25.3% of people without degrees.

      Aversion to Morrison and Joyce seems a significant factor.

    13. Interesting figures:
      For the degreed, Labor ahead of the coalition and the Greens almost ahead of the coalition.
      For the not completed high school the coalition well ahead of both the Greens and Labor. Looks like the poorly educated might have been attracted to the coalitions racism and other vilification.
      I suspect that educated, affluent people may find the Greens even more attractive and/or struggle to bring themselves to vote Labor. (That is my Ryan take. The unpleasant lib candidate would not have helped the coalition in Ryan.

    14. John, I agree with “…and/or struggle to bring themselves to vote Labor.”

      The suburbs here are gentrifying with upper middle class people. I see them everywhere, every day. They are not natural Labor voters.

      The unions are a big negative for many.

      In Ryan the ALP vote actually fell, although it increased in Qld overall.

      There are many reasons, but demographics play a part. The dispossessed in the regions in Qld tend to protest by voting Katter and One Nation, which also penetrates the city.

      Labor is becoming more educated middle class.

      Also, the Greens put a big effort in Ryan. At the one polling place I counted, they outnumbered us 4 to 1.

      Now Albo has hit the minor parties and indies where it hurts:

      Must admit, that surprises me.

    15. Brian: In addition of the cuts to independents, “The Greens also claimed they have been given an effective staff cut, allocated the same number of staff as the last parliament despite their representatives growing from 10 to 16.”
      The amount of money saved is negligible. What was Albo trying to achieve given that he has just given a kick in the guts to the people he needs to get stuff through the senate and combined support for the major parties is in decline? How does the support he is giving the LNP compare with the support Labor got when the LNP was in power?

    16. Brian: I have spent hours on polling booths being ignored by by obviously upper class LNP voters rushing to smile in their swarmy way at the LNP poll workers.
      (I have had interesting, friendly conversations with LNP candidates but found the man who just lost what used to be the LNP’s safest seat obnoxious and sneaky.)

    17. Brian: “Also, the Greens put a big effort in Ryan. At the one polling place I counted, they outnumbered us 4 to 1.”
      When I started with the Greens I generally worked at the chapel at chapel hill booth. I was almost always on my own just like Labor who had an old Labor bloke who was there every year. We used to hand out each others how to votes when one of needed a break. Then people like me got better at encouraging people to help on polling booths and other tasks. Sounds like the Greens have really lifted their effort. Micheal Berkman’s win in Maiwa really inspired people. (He put an enormous effort in door knocking for over a year before the election.

    18. John, I have no idea what Albo was trying to achieve.

      How does the support he is giving the LNP compare with the support Labor got when the LNP was in power?

      I heard someone say on NewsRadio that under Morrison the independents had more staff than shadow ministers.

      I believe they still have four staff in their electorate office, plus one in Canberra.

      My speculation is that Albo believes one is enough to represent their electorate, and he doesn’t want them to become mini-parties. They should all join up and form a new liberal party.

      In my best of all achievable worlds (we’ve been down this road multiple times) I’d have multi-party electorates, like Canberra and Tasmania, or failing that NZ or Germany. I don’t think independents exist in those systems.

      Bottom line is that he’s made them all cranky, and if he wanted civilised discourse, he’s less likely to get it.

    19. Brian: Comment on insiders today that was there are usually all sorts of deals made for staffing of members. Perhaps a bit of standardization would help?

    20. John, thanks, I didn’t see Insiders. We had a party branch meeting, with vigorous discussion on climate change!

      I heard somewhere along the way that Morrison gave them what he’d promised them, not expecting to win the election. An investigative journalist could give a better picture, but they are scarce these days.

    21. John, I saw Insiders tonight on iview, plus there was stuff on the 7.30 Report.

      I respect Rex Patrick’s view that an independent in the HoR needs two advisers and a senator needs three. However, Albo is right in stressing the services of the Parliamentary Library, which he intends to enhance. The previous mob probably cut it back.

      The biggest user of its services is said to be Bob Katter.

      If you take Katter on in a debate, and think he is uninformed and/or stupid, you’ll be in for a rude shock. He’s one of the best informed around. It’s just that his policy proposals are a bit weird.

      Back around 40 years ago I paid them a visit. I remember well walking across a large expanse of lawn, only to find remotely controlled sprinklers come on under me! From memory, late winter/early spring, and not what you needed right then!

      They had two kinds of unusual services. The first was to do summaries of news articles every day, probably 100 to 150 words per article, and have these on the desks of politicians by around midday.

      Secondly, they had a range of subject specialists available to do research on relevant topics. Their reports were quite impressive. Probably still do.

      The feeling seems to be that Albo will relent a bit when he gets back to Australia.

      However, Adam Bandt seems to be spoiling for the fight, so my money is that climate targets will not be legislated. The LNP may break ranks, but it’s hard to see a dozen of them doing so.

      John Menadue lambasts the Greens in Will the Greens be smarter this time. The Greens should think about the results of opposing what Labor plans to do. It would help to change the whole game, and have positive effects internationally if the targets became law.

      On the other hand Labor should consider Nigel Howard’s Are Labor just coalition lite on climate?

      The proposition that Labor is “Coalition Lite on the climate emergency – promising much but acting minimally” is offensive and wrong. The LNP policy is a fairy story. He has gone lite on what Labor proposes to do, but even what he mentions will be difficult to achieve in the next three years.

      Also Labor has never said it will limit its efforts to what it took to the election. Otherwise why revamp the Climate Change Authority?

      Certainly what he says is wrong, if true, and it probably is, should be condemned. But get behind and build on the good would be more constructive.

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