It’s a new head of power. And what’s extraordinary is that it’s been generated nationally by the voices of people conventionally thought powerless, or near enough to powerless for the difference not to mean much. A young political staffer, close to the bottom of the heap. Schoolgirls. The voice of a woman from her grave, telling a contested story from long ago. Women who’ve been spat out from the system in Parliament House. Tens of thousands of nobodies gathering in the streets.A new power has risen in Australian politics — and it’s not coming quietly – ABC News
So let’s give anger its just due. Those of us who write political pieces do so because we are angry. Angry at the unfair deal life inflicts on so many, angry at the indifference to their plight that society and so many politicians exhibit, angry at their reluctance to address these needs, angry at their self-centred preoccupation with their own political needs and wants ahead of the needs of those who interests they are elected to represent.Anger – » The Australian Independent Media Network
It took a pandemic to finally slow the hitherto remorseless rise of the big four consulting firms to the dominant position in Australian public affairs. Having grown in recent years to become one of the biggest sources of political donations while siphoning off billions in government contracts, Ernst & Young (EY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG and Deloitte all pulled their political funding back in 2019-20, but still made major contributions.Hand that gives also receives: government-dependent sectors keep giving
When the Australian Electoral Commission drops its political donations data tomorrow, it will almost certainly show that corporate donations are rising at an alarming clip and that Australia is tracking the US. Stephanie Tran and Michael West report on the extraordinary rise of money in politics.Whither Democracy? Political donations triple as AEC prepares 2021 data drop – Michael West
Australia is good at lying to itself. It’s done it for years over racism and misogyny. Are we going to kid ourselves that we are a fair, progressive, intelligent nation while allowing the manipulation of truth, as identified by George Orwell, to run rampant? How far are we willing to go? Perhaps fostering hate to the point that people feel that it is OK to kill? Allowing the entitled to destroy our democracy, as nearly happened in America over recent weeks? How far Australia, how far?How many lies are too many lies? – » The Australian Independent Media Network
we present our alphabet of 2020, pulling in everything you’ll remember about this year we’d rather forget (and probably a few things you’d managed to put out of your mind already). Whet your whistle with the first half.Australian politics 2020: A to M of the biggest moments across the nation
Investigation: how political donations protect a cosy loophole for Australia’s plutocrats – Michael West
“Political donations buy access to parliamentarians, they buy policy outcomes, and they buy a post-parliament career with the revolving door between politics and business”. Stephanie Tran and Michael West investigate the dark money which flows from Australia’s family business empires to the major political parties and identify a raft of failures in the donations system.Investigation: how political donations protect a cosy loophole for Australia’s plutocrats – Michael West
When the Coalition quietly changed the regulations to enable access to millions of unlisted mobile phone numbers for ‘political research’, the Liberal Party’s pollster Crosby Textor was quick out of the blocks with an application to access the database, writes Jommy Tee. Now, the lobby group closest to Scott Morrison has access to 27 million phone numbers heading into the next Federal election.
A salient point for other political parties wishing to access the database is don’t leave it too late because it may take several months to satisfy the approval conditions.
The long-suffering public may beg to differ on whether access should be granted.A Pushy Number: Libs’ pollster Crosby Textor granted access to 27 million unlisted mobiles – Michael West
Is adversarial politics damaging our democracy?
Those who despise adversarial politics find it to be contemptible, a damaging affliction on our political system. They resent the stifling impediments it places on governing, on governments carrying out what they promised the electorate they would do. They see it as focused on ‘winning’, on gaining a political advantage, rather than telling or establishing the truth, or contributing usefully to the discourse. It sets the teeth of the electorate on edge, which ‘turns off’ in despair. Voters would prefer politicians to be open and upfront, more focussed on the good of the nation, less willing to corrupt the usually-worthy principles that brought them into politics in the first place. At least our PM and Opposition leader are now cooperating well during the COVID-19 crisis.
What can we ordinary citizens do?
We might be able to bring about change if we, who pay our politicians’ wages via taxes, raise our voices against the use of exaggerated, depreciatory, derogatory and dishonest language by politicians, commentators and columnists. While the media might miss the theatre and the ‘newsworthy’ copy adversarial politics provides, the public would applaud a more measured approach, free from adversarial behaviour – so wasteful, so unproductive, so distasteful. We could write to our parliamentarians individually. Responders to this piece may have other suggestions. Sadly though, if history tells us anything, any change for the better is probably a vain hope.
Bouyed by the success of Bernie Sanders on an International level the Greens have an opportunity to influence the very direction of Australian politics (ODT)
It’s flagship policy is a Green New Deal, articulated along similar lines to those in the United States and the UK, which aims to address the crises of work, inequality, and the climate at the same time.
In theory, conditions seem favorable to turn this around. Even before the pandemic, continent-spanning bushfires transparently linked to climate change devoured 20 percent of our forests and killed at least thirty-four people. Prior to the worst recession since the 1930s, the Liberal–National Coalition government presided over stagnant wages and 3.2 million people living in poverty. Racism and xenophobia were already on the rise — in the last month anti-Chinese and Asian racism has spiked.
While Australia has so far escaped runaway coronavirus infections, the crisis has pushed millions more into poverty and housing insecurity. Excluded from the JobKeeper scheme, millions of casual and migrant workers are particularly vulnerable.
Given the extent of money flowing into Labor’s associated entities, questions remain to be answered by the AEC as to the destination of the payments made by these entities.
What is also clear is that the money flows in a circular fashion between the various Labor branches and associated entities. One can’t help drawing a comparison with the way laundered and dirty money is put through a casino ‘washing machine’ to be legitimised. One thing is clear, the lack of transparency in our political donations system is disturbing. One can only imagine what the most recent AEC disclosures prior to the last election will reveal, or not reveal.
But what has all this union money achieved? One only has to look at Labor’s support for the gas sector and mining in Qld and NSW (come on down Joel FitzGibbon) and draw your own conclusions.
Until the political donations process in this country, particularly through ‘associated entities’ is made publicly accountable, we can only guess as to the extent our politics is being influenced by vested interests.
Lendlease walked away from its contract to rebuild the Sydney Football Stadium in July, leaving a giant hole in the ground and a state government scrambling to fill the construction void. The contract was worth $729 million but, in a retirement villages tax rort, the company has claimed far more than $729 million. Michael West reports on how Lendlease plays fast and loose with taxpayers.
Next week, Australia will host its first Australian Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. The organiser says the event will “not be a one-off” and that its US backers, the American Conservative Union (ACU), had committed to holding the event long-term.
You also get to hear from ACU’s executive director Dan Schneider and their chairman, Trump fundraiser Matt Schlapp, whose wife Mercedes is Trump’s Director of Strategic Communications. In his role as vice president of federal affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, Schlapp directed the major federal public policy strategies on anti-environmental and energy policies, financial markets, legal reform, and international and domestic tax issues.
For your entertainment, you can also listen to Nigel Farage – the man who so desperately wanted Brexit and then had no idea what to do with it when he got it.
Home grown contributions will come from luminaries like Craig Kelly, Mark Latham, Tony Abbott and Amanda Stoker as well as Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and sundry kids from the IPA.
The ACU have been involved with some shady fundraising practices in the past. Asked whether they saw an Australian conference as a financial opportunity, Cooper disagreed. “My perception of the ACU is that they are looking to spread their message,” he said. “If anything they are going to be investing in us for a long, long time.”
Considering how the government is going in the US and the UK, I fail to see what advice we could get from this bunch of tossers.
Unless it’s on how to put a fool in power.
Shut your collective trap, and go and do your jobs.
He makes a fair point. Politicians in Canberra, including many of Morrison’s colleagues, have been obsessed for years by internal ideological divisions and personality clashes rather than their actual job of serving the Australian people.
Rewind to 2012 and it was Julia Gillard saying the same thing: “What do people want government to do? Talk about themselves, or deliver results? Well I want government to deliver results and that’s what I’m doing as prime minister,” she said (before the talking to themselves crescendoed and blood was spilled.)
This morning, the Financial Review had a piece titled ‘Tax cuts are no handout to the rich’. Well, of course, they would say that, as their whole purpose as a media publication is to write pieces that are of interest to those with money or interested in money.
What really grated, though, was this tweet which the Liberals also flogged:
Unless the full tax cut package is passed, high income earners risk losing out to the “silent thief” of tax bracket creep, according to new analysis.
We are constantly told we need a surplus and we can’t afford to “waste” money. The Government has no money to help the homeless, raise Newstart, raise the pension or support community legal services — in fact, they are always looking for “savings” in these areas. Savings being the euphemism for cuts.
But the Government does have money to spend on tax cuts for those on high wages and big business.
Now, if everyone in Australia is supposedly equal, how can a Government justify giving wealthier people more money when we have people who are homeless, starving and living in abject poverty?
Worse. When this issue is raised, it is called “politics of envy”.
Get real we are Australians not Chinese first (ODT)
Chinese-Australians have had enough of the political tokenism displayed by all sides of politics.
We are not political cannon fodder and we no longer want to serve as cash cows and walking ATMs at fundraising dinners. We’re tired of having candidates in non-winnable seats. We want to be recognised for our commitment to Australian democracy.
My advice to Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison to take a step away from WeChat and show some genuine interest in our community’s concerns.
Remember Abbott No cuts to Health Education and the ABC he simply looked at the cmera and didn’t blink because he knew we’d buy it. Wake up Australia!! (ODT)
Barnaby Joyce expressed the strategy well, in a since deleted tweet this week:
‘There is no umpire in the political debate. There’s no rule book. What you get away with wins.’
Bullying, lying, cheating, smearing — and that’s just what Barnaby did before the last New England by-election, as you would have read here on IA. What an example for the nation — and his children.
As the late Bob Ellis, one of this country’s most lauded journalists, speechwriters, writers, playwrights and auteurs wrote in these pages, just a few years ago, the Right love to win by cheating. And so they do. And usually win.
And with a compliant rightwing mainstream media behind them – more so now Fairfax has been swallowed by Nine – the Right have a chance of deluding the populace into voting against their own interests again. Such is our lot.
So, as “The Financial Review” warns Bill Shorten about class warfare and the politics of envy, I have to laugh. Yes, its readers will all tut-tut and tell themselves that it’s big business that creates wealth and taxation is theft so shouldn’t we get a refund on the tax we don’t pay, the people struggling with their bills have already decided that something needs to change. Labor aren’t starting a class war; they’re simply describing it and suggesting that maybe we need to start looking after some of the wounded who’ve been ignored till now.
When we thought we’d removed the idiots from the field we still find we have the greatest of them all left. (ODT)
As a wrecking ball, the Liberal Party has no further to look than Dutton. A man who manages to sail under the media radar by rarely making himself available to media scrutiny unless it happens to be a weekly love-in with Ray Hadley on 2GB or a scripted interview on Sky-After-Dark.
Even as the dust was settling over the leadership debacle Dutton declared that he had no regrets about bringing on a week of drama that had split the Liberal Party and halted Parliament. He continued to describe himself as a “better person” and a “person of greater strength and integrity to lead the Liberal Party” than Malcolm Turnbull.
You be the judge !
All the old political players are still in power. Donald Trump is President of the United States. And in Australia, we have our own wannabe Trumps and populists of the Right — people like Pauline Hanson, and Liberals like Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton and even Scott Morrison.
The big story in Australia last year was the Liberal Party dumping Malcolm Turnbull as its leader and Scott Morrison becoming Prime Minister. Morrison is now the PM because he is not Dutton. That is hardly a recipe for success.
Under Australia’s two party preferred political system we see alternate parties denigrated by the left and right to keep them suppressed. Two party preferred, not three party preferred is the war cry. We see alternate political parties denigrating the left and right to try to carve their way into a position of political power. From where I stand, political parties are not working for democracy, they are working for themselves and once again, the financial elite. So, it’s time to change the system.
What choices do we have? Where do we turn to establish a democracy for the people by the people? If it’s not political parties, what is it? I think now is the time for a monumental social experiment. We are definitely in the mood and we are well on the way so, let’s keep pushing and flood the parliament with independents. Give independents the balance of power in both houses of parliament and we are in with a chance of knocking off elitist rule and establishing our democratic birth right.
There are many reasons why the Coalition has been politically inept. John Lord examines 25 of the key areas in which they failed.
Ask Peter “the skull” Dutton, our minister for gnome affairs, whose failed messianic bid on 24 August to supplant Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s Prime Minister is mostly responsible for the Vesuvian-strength political disruption against the Liberals in Saturday’s state election in Victoria and political rockstar Julia Banks moving to the crossbench as an Independent, severing from the Liberal Party entirely.
So, before the media starts talking about how terribly the Labor Party performed and tries to start leadership speculation about Shorten, let’s see this for what it is: a massive wake-up call for Scott Morrison. Unfortunately for him, his speech last night suggested he intended to just keep hitting the snooze button.
The Wentworth byelection is the testing ground of one of the main tenets of the federal Liberal party’s thought leadership – and one that Malcolm Turnbull pushed back on during his term – that we need to attract the disenchanted rightwing vote.
The view held by some in the party is that the emergence of independent conservative parties have stolen our vote and we need to court them back. The internal counter-argument is – well, yes, but you will lose the rest of the country.
Australia is just not America, as much as some wish it was.
The Australian Conservatives have not gone off like fireworks and One Nation polls on a national average that is consistently below the Greens. Does that mean we have more environmentalists than conservatives?
When Right or Wrong don’t matter nor what’s best for the country. Only the game and their jobs is what matters. (ODT)
Queensland Liberals have warned colleagues considering voting to refer Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to the High Court that they could send the government to the gallows early by setting up a devastating byelection in his seat of Dickson.
Ian Macdonald, the longest-serving person in Parliament, said a byelection in that seat “wouldn’t be easy to win” and the prospect of the Morrison government losing its majority should weigh firmly on MPs’ minds ahead of a likely referral vote next week
The Coalition has taken a battering in the polls since ousting Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, and it’s not just their popularity that’s suffered.
Buried truth leaves a party throwing dead moggies on the table, Immigration, Climate Change, Gender etc.(ODT)
But maybe not. Back then, 5.3% ranked equal sixth lowest out of the 35 wealthy member countries of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). In November 2012, Germany and Australia both had 5.3% of their workforce unemployed. Only South Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Japan and Mexico had lower jobless rates.
Today, four years into the strongest global boom in trade, jobs and profits in decades, 5.3% ranks 18th. That is in the bottom half of the table. Thirteen countries now have their jobless rate below 4.0%.
If Australia still ranked sixth in the OECD, its rate would be 3.5% and another 243,000 Australians would be off welfare and earning a salary
The Coalition faces the prospect of fighting a snap election with a severely depleted bank account and a raft of seats still without a Liberal candidate, compared to a cashed-up and energised Australian Labor Party.
A besieged Malcolm Turnbull said Australian voters “will be crying out for an election” following tumult over the prime ministership.
Dutton is a reliable buffoon always guaranteed to trip up (ODT)
Network 10 on Monday night reported Mr Dutton could be in breach of the constitution, which rules ineligible anyone who “has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth”.
Mr Dutton’s register of financial interests shows he is a beneficiary of the RHT Family Trust, alongside his wife. The trust owns his wife’s company, RHT Investments, which runs two childcare centres in Brisbane: Bald Hills and Camelia Avenue.
Since July 2, the centres have been receiving direct financial subsidies from the Commonwealth government, according to the Network 10 report. The trust of which Mr Dutton is a beneficiary profits from the childcare centres, giving rise to a potential breach of section 44.
He had got his National Energy Guarantee (NEG) past his colleagues by a healthy margin; for all intents and purposes, his approach on energy policy had been endorsed.
But if war teaches you anything, it is that numbers do not count in an insurgency.
Mr Turnbull is now the target of full-blown guerrilla warfare.
The insurgents may have varying endgames, but their first ambition is clear: to kill off Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.
Obviously Andrew Bolt hasn’t the inside rail when it comes to what’s going on in politics. While he flounders with “unnamed conservatives” and “rumours” the Fairfax papers don’t and aren’t afraid to name those men Bolt prefers to keep hidden (ODT)
Abbott still suffers from the wounds inflicted on him when Malcolm Turnbull toppled him as prime minister in September 2015, which means the pain from the past shapes the Liberal Party’s looming decision over its future.
If Turnbull moves further Right they will definitely lose the next election this was a vote for the ALP Right because there was no other alternative. Had the ALP been further Left than they are now the margin would have been even greater. So bring back Abbott for the left’s sake. (ODT)
The result in Longman (and Braddon, and Perth, and Fremantle and Mayo) is a repudiation of Turnbull and the Liberal party who have thrown everything at Shorten over recent weeks and vastly outspent the Labor party. As prime minister, having put his leadership squarely on the line, his position as leader is now untenable and if he places his future in the hands of his colleagues we can expect him to be dumped and that will give us Peter Dutton and the Abbott rabble followed closely and inevitably by the demise of the Liberal party.
Australians said an Emphatic “No” to the LNP’s Drift Back to Abbott’s Right-Wing White Pacific Dream. This was a “No” to Right-Wing Drift of Turnbull’s LNP Policies, Media Influence and intrusion, IPA Lobbying and benefiting of the few who only believe in the “me” and not the collective “we”who make up this multicultural country called AUSTRALIA that was also a proud global team player. (ODT)
Labor has secured a major victory over the Turnbull government in a marathon political contest across five byelections, gaining ground in key seats in a show of strength ahead of the next general election.
Labor held its four electorates while the Coalition failed to regain one of its old strongholds, in an outcome that dashed government hopes of turning the tables on its rivals.
A Victorian ReachTEL poll for The Age, conducted July 5 from a sample of 1,500, gave Labor a 51-49 lead. Primary votes were 39.4% Coalition, 35.4% Labor, 10.5% Greens, 3.6% One Nation, 2.8% Shooters and 3.5% undecided. The Victorian election will be held on November 24.
“Mark Latham has fallen out with everyone he’s ever worked with and Pauline Hanson has fallen out with everyone she’s ever worked with.”
And now, of course, Latham, once a man the Labor Party thought should be prime minister, and Hanson, who the Liberal Party once preselected as its candidate for federal parliament, are working together.
Why don’t they and their parties get the message to provide a public service and not just service the public? (ODT)
But no matter how we finely slice these data, they all point to one overarching trend: citizens in democracies are expecting more from their political systems and political leaders, and they are increasingly underwhelmed by what they see.
Australians were justifiably shocked, appalled and embarrassed by the ball tampering our test cricketers attempted last month in South Africa. Somehow, better was expected of them. After all, they were playing the gentlemen’s game – cricket – where any cheating was simply ‘not cricket’.
Why then are we not even more disgusted by the truth tampering our politicians perpetrate day after day? We ought to be! But we seem to accept it as the norm. We allow them to lie to us with scarcely a murmur of protest.
The motive behind their tampering is the same: an insatiable desire to win, win, win at any cost; to utterly defeat the enemy. 2353NM expanded on this theme in his insightful piece: A Winning Culture.
One Liberal moderate bluntly characterises the “Monash Forum”, which burst into the energy debate this week, as “the deplorables trying to give themselves a credible front”.
Whatever else it might be, the so-called forum is Tony Abbott’s latest weapon in baiting the Turnbull bear.
The Liberal Party has no compelling alternative to Turnbull. If it did, he’d be long gone. But it has three aspiring alternatives. The most obvious is the least plausible, Tony Abbott, who, in the Easter spirit of resurrection, this week offered as a political rule that “you’re always better the second time around”. The voters don’t intend to give him the chance and neither do his colleagues.
The most plausible is Julie Bishop. Of the Liberal leadership contenders, she is the only one who could credibly improve the Coalition’s vote and win an election. She is the champion of Liberal moderates and demonstrates her star power every time she visits a colleague’s electorate to campaign for them, which she does tirelessly.
Turnbull had his chance to be a moral force when he first took the prime ministership. But when he abandoned every big cause he’d ever championed during his three decades in the public eye – the republic, climate change and gay marriage – and accepted the Abbott policy settings as a condition of taking the job, he lost every skerrick of moral authority with the people.
Labor has a unifying sense of purpose around the “fairness” theme that has been Shorten’s rallying cry ever since his budget reply speech in 2014. The constant disagreement in the Labor ranks over asylum seeker policy, likely to trigger another argument at the national conference in Adelaide in July, is one of the few flashpoints in a caucus that is remarkably solid when it makes big calls on economic or budget policies. This is not a verdict on those policies; it is an assessment of Labor’s cohesion and political strength.
And New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ahern said she would go beyond GDP and other purely economic measurements to look at how New Zealand society is progressing.
Relying on purely economic measurements allows governments to almost ignore their main purpose – improving people’s lives. If something is not measured it can be ignored.
As it happens, early this decade the Australian Bureau of Statistics began what Ahern wants to do. It set out to measure Australia’s progress. It did a wide consultation on what mattered to Australians. Economics was just one of four main areas of concern. The others were society, environment and governance.
Since then, we may have progressed economically, but regress has been the mark of the other areas.
Pertinently, regress in governance included the Coalition Government squeezing the ABS so much financially (and probably otherwise) that it was forced to abandon the Measuring Australia’s Progress program altogether.
It should not come as a surprise that the conservative forces in society hold conservative views about women. These views express the oppression of women under capitalism, and their role as the unpaid bearers and carers of the next generation of workers.
Only a mass movement of women, the women’s liberation movement, challenged this and won, admittedly, partial victories. However, until the role of women as the brood mares for capitalism is fundamentally challenged, women will continue to be oppressed.
Third is that Turnbull has created a determined new enemy in the Coalition’s ranks. Joyce is furious that Turnbull condemned him so publicly, and is convinced that Turnbull’s office went on to leak against him. Joyce will now join Tony Abbott on the backbench and on a mission to destroy Turnbull.
Turnbull had his 10 minutes of virtue-signalling and his 15 minutes of publicity. Now he will have a lifetime enemy inside his own Coalition. Another one.
Malcolm Turnbull says Barnaby Joyce has made “the right decision” to quit his job as the Deputy Prime Minister because he faces difficult personal issues and a new complaint against him.